LONDON – It’s Day One of parenting for Prince William and Kate. After the excitement and fatigue and joy of childbirth — emotions shared with a nation — the young couple is expected to bring the prince home Tuesday.
It is a daunting moment for any young couple, even one with as much support as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
The infant’s name — and what he looks like — remain a royal mystery. And as he begins a long journey expected to see him someday become a king, Britons — and supporters from around the world — have been joining the Royal Family in celebration.
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After an impromptu party outside Buckingham Palace on Monday night, more celebrations are expected Tuesday, including gun salutes by royal artillery companies to honour the birth and the ringing of bells at London’s Westminster Abbey.
The baby isn’t even a day old — and may not be named for days or even weeks — but he already has a building dedicated to him.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said an enclosure at Sydney’s Taronga Park Zoo would be named after the prince as part of a gift from the country. The government would donate 10,000 Australian dollars on the young prince’s behalf toward a research project at the zoo to save the endangered bilby, a rabbit-like marsupial whose numbers are dwindling in the wild. The prince’s name — when known — would be added to the bilby enclosure.
“I don’t know if the Royal Family would need this, but we’ll probably give them a free pass to Taronga Park Zoo as well,” Rudd said.
In Canada, the news of the birth was greeted with a flurry of congratulations.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper hailed the arrival of “a future sovereign of Canada,” and said he’s looking forward to seeing the son born to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Cian Horrobin, a spokesman for the Monarchist League, said the birth marked the beginning of a lifelong relationship for Canadians with “this boy who will one day be our king.”
Even those opposed to the monarchy welcomed the prince’s arrival.
Tom Freda, director of the organization Citizens for a Canadian Republic, said any news involving the Royal Family renews the debate over the relevance of a monarchist system, “and debate is good.”
In New Zealand, royalist group Monarchy New Zealand said it had organized a national light show, with 40 buildings across the islands lit up in blue to commemorate the royal birth, including Sky Tower in Auckland, the airport in Christchurch, and Larnach Castle in the South Island city of Dunedin.
A similar lighting ceremony took place in Canada. Several landmarks, including the CN Tower, Niagara Falls and Parliament’s centre block were bathed in blue Monday night in honour of the baby.
British media joined in the celebration.
“It’s a Boy!” was splashed across many U.K. front pages, while the Sun newspaper temporarily changed its name to “The Son” in honour of the tiny monarch-in-waiting.
“Regal has Landed,” the paper cried.
The Mirror, in an allusion to the fact that news of the baby’s birth first broke online, spoke of: “The Twitter of Tiny Feet.”
So far, it’s the palace which has largely set the pace of the wall-to-wall media coverage, using social media to keep followers abreast of the news.
New additions to the Royal Family typically set off a tug-of-war between the royal household and the press. The feverish media excitement ahead of Kate’s engagement to William led to a warning from Britain’s press watchdog, and the hunger for news about the third-in-line to the British throne is likely to be similarly intense.
William, whose mother Diana died in a Paris car crash while being hounded by paparazzi, was likely to insist on a measure of privacy, former royal press secretary Charles Anson told the BBC.
“I think Prince William and the Duchess will be very keen to protect their young child from too much attention,” he said.
On the other hand, he said that “people want more news about this royal baby.”
He said the palace would have to find some way to handle that, predicting “a bit of negotiation, a bit of arrangement with the media to get it right.”
Palace officials have not provided details about the couple’s planned timing for leaving the private Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital.
— With files from The Canadian Press.