The headlines of papers all over the world announced the first birthday of Prince George on July 22. Although George’s birthday was billed as a “low key” tea party, the presence of the Queen made it clear this was a special occasion. She spent almost an hour with her great-grandson. The Middleton family also celebrated George’s birthday – Kate’s parents Carole and Michael Middleton, along with Kate’s siblings James and Pippa.
In order to understand the obsessive curiosity about the little Prince’s birthday, we need to look at the reasons for this international interest.
His popularity does not exist in a vacuum. It began with the interest in his mother, Kate. We were fascinated with the romance of a commoner becoming a princess – every little girl’s dream.
William has also had a following. He is charismatic, attractive, and participates in activities that are masculine and build his image as a modern day hero.
The relationship of Kate and William, both 32, appeals to the romance in all of us.
In addition, let’s face it; Prince George is darling.
Of course, Britain is the center of this interest. The Queen’s stability has not always been reflected in the rest of the royals and William, Kate, and baby George provide a welcome breath of fresh air that is rejuvenating interest in the royal family. Prince George is third in line to inherit the crown. Preceded by his grandfather and father, he might reign as King George VII one day.
Prince George has had an extremely busy first year. The Duke and Duchess took him along on a tour of Australia and New Zealand, as well as local outings. His most recent outing was for his birthday. William and Kate took him to the “Sensational Butterfly” exhibit at London’s Natural History Museum. Pictures released to the media of a happy George pleased his ardent fans, as there are few such occasions. Will and Kate work hard to keep George’s life private and media-free.
Of course, this lack of information only makes us more curious about him. We do know that he has playdates at friends’ homes. We also know that private schools are already competing for his attendance. And, we know that he charms crowds wherever he goes.
Photo sessions like the one at the butterfly exhibit are rare. The clothes he wears – old-fashioned, classic and expensive, British, baby clothes like rompers and dungarees – have influenced baby fashion, not only in London, but in America, as well. When the photo was released of Prince George toddling around in Petit Bateau overalls, they sold out almost immediately.
William and Kate released a statement along with the images to “take this opportunity on George’s first birthday to thank everyone over the last year.” This inclusive statement is characteristic of the attitude that makes us all love this royal, yet surprisingly normal, family. Whether we think hype about George’s first birthday is acceptable or not, it is bound to continue.