UK feverishly waits for newest addition to royal family
Updated: 2013-07-12 07:26
By Zhang Chunyan (China Daily)
After Andy Murray's historic men's singles championship at Wimbledon this month, it will take a royal baby to make the British more excited.
The first baby of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge is due soon, and many photographers have camped outside St. Mary's Hospital in London, the same place where Prince William was born in June 1982.
With the popularity of the royal family high among Chinese people, especially those in the UK, some Chinese media such as Chinese Weekly sent photographers there and put photos on Chinese social-media site Sina Weibo.
Christine Yan, deputy editor of another Chinese newspaper, Nouvelles d'Europe British edition, told me that the publication will use two pages to cover royal-baby-related news this week.
"We will report the couple's romantic path, all kinds of souvenirs, the hot speculation of the baby's gender, possible names, and even hair color," Yan said.
According to local media reports, online betting site William Hill favors the baby being a girl at 4-7 odds, with the most likely names being Alexandra, Charlotte, Elizabeth, Diana and Victoria. The site is taking odds of 5-4 for a boy, with George and James favored as the name.
"And we will put some Chinese people's wishes for the royal baby on our Sina Weibo micro blog," Yan added.
Lin Chen, who has worked in Britain for five years, said, "I watched the royal wedding on TV two years ago. The couple left me with quite a good impression. Now I hope their baby can arrive smoothly."
For the duration of the royal baby coverage, the Foreign Press Association sent a thoughtful letter, saying "all press are invited to take advantage of" the members' clubroom.
Food, drink, coffee, shelter and the Internet are all available, and the club is directly opposite the gates of St. Mary's Hospital, the letter said.
Meanwhile, souvenir makers and retailers are eagerly awaiting the royal baby, ready for some big business.
In central London, retailers have stocked up on commemorative key rings, mugs and plates and have put a royal spin on items as diverse as biscuits, toys and books.
Notably, many souvenirs are designed in the UK but made in China. One owner of a shop near Piccadilly Circus said, "These royal souvenirs are absolutely made in China, although I don't know from which province."
Like the Diamond Jubilee last year that celebrated Queen Elizabeth II's 60-year reign and the royal wedding in 2011, the birth of the royal baby offers an opportunity for the ailing British economy to get a boost amid the economic downturn.
The Centre for Retail Research estimates that 199 million pounds ($300 million) was spent in Britain on souvenirs and merchandise for the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey.
The CRR predicts another 80 million pounds will be spent this year on royal-baby toys and products, and 76 million on books, DVDs and other media related to the royal family. The palace shops are also selling sleep suits modeled on a guardsman's uniform.
Besides these, the good news is that the Royal Mint announced on Tuesday that it has minted 2,013 silver coins bearing a shield of the Royal Arms, to be given to newborns who share their birthday with the new third-in-line to the British throne, due any day now.
Crossing the palm of a newborn baby with silver or offering a silver penny is traditionally seen as a wish for good fortune and health.
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(China Daily 07/12/2013 page12)