Cheers rang out as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appeared from the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital, London, with their newborn son in the mid-afternoon of Tuesday 23rd July. It was a moment of royal history thirty-one years in the making. The proud father was gently but firmly in control of the proceedings responding to questions from the waiting media and cheering crowd: “He’s got a good pair of lungs on him that’s for sure. He’s a big boy, he’s quite heavy, but we’re still working on a name, so we’ll have that as soon as we can. It’s the first time we’ve seen him really so having a proper chance to catch up.” William joked about baby’s “tardiness” in arriving a few days later than the due date and how the media “could all go back to normal now.” It was a nice touch and showed how he has come to terms with the media presence in his life. And a touch of self deprecating British humour was on show as well: “He’s got her [Kate’s] looks thankfully.” A prescient question then followed: had they chosen the name yet and was it as speculated George? “Wait and see means wait and see,” William laughed. Kate kept back a little and let William do most of the talking. The brief interview ended with confirmation that William had changed his first nappy which Kate said he “was very good at” and, lastly, a joke about baby’s hair from William: “He’s got way more than me, thank God!”
It was a little after 7pm when the couple reappeared, this time with their Range Rover on hand for the trip back home. William, clearly warming to his new role as a dad, put baby on the back in the secured seat and then stepped into the driver’s seat for the trip back to Kensington Palace. William recalls this as a significant moment personally: “There are times where you can’t do it yourself and the system takes over, or it’s appropriate to do things differently. But I think driving your son and your wife away from hospital was really important to me.” These scenes were the culmination of months of anticipation building to a particularly intense period in July. The birth of the Cambridge’s first child was an enormous global media event, but in a few brief seconds from the door of the Lindo Wing to the Range Rover it was over. William and Kate had dealt with it all expertly. Whilst responding to the public interest, they had managed to maintain some of the privacy that such an intensely personal event warrants. Perhaps wanting to quell the speculation it only took until the next day for baby’s name to be announced: Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge. All of which neatly, at least for a while, drew a line between the public and the private. It was now time for the parents and baby to have some time alone away from the media glare. In the meanwhile the celebrations spread. The birth of the latest addition to the House of Windsor was of course also that of the future British monarch and Head of the Commonwealth and it was marked across the sixteen Commonwealth realms and member nations. The news was first conveyed in a press release from Palace officials. Gun salutes signalled the birth in London, Bermuda, New Zealand and Canada; the bells of Westminster Abbey and many other churches were rung; and iconic landmarks throughout the Commonwealth realms were illuminated, often in blue to signify the birth of a boy.