Royal baby fatigue sets in amid Britain's celebrations
Weeks of speculation, hordes of reporters and no end in sight are driving some to distraction
LONDON — Now that the baby has been born, the golden easel displayed, the gun salutes fired and the congratulatory anthems played, it is time to pose the question — is anyone just the tiniest bit sick of the royal baby coverage yet?
The first child of Prince William and Catherine Middleton and the heir to the British throne is barely a day old.
On Tuesday, there was no change within the brick facade of St. Mary’s Hospital’s Lindo Wing, apart from a visit from new grandparents Carole and Michael Middleton. (The baby is “absolutely beautiful,” Carole Middleton revealed.)
There’s still no word on his name — “Even Charles is in dark over name,” the Evening Standard announced on its cover — nor when the new family might appear on the hospital threshold for the photo op cameramen have been waiting weeks to get. Palace officials said it wouldn’t be until Tuesday evening at the earliest, possibly Wednesday.
The media, however, has been talking about the royal baby for what seems like forever. Camera crews have staked out St. Mary’s since July 1, joined by a growing crowd of reporters from around the globe who have sat on a baking strip of asphalt during the UK’s longest heatwave since 2006.
Tempers are growing short.
“Silly git,” a red-faced, tripod-toting cameraman was heard muttering at a gawking civilian who failed to move out of his way.
Even those whose job it is to look chipper are showing signs of baby fatigue.
A clip of BBC reporter Simon McCoy candidly admitting “Plenty more to come from here, none of it news,” went semi-viral Monday.
Veteran BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell has grown visibly more irritable as each day of his vigil outside St. Mary’s passes.
“Let's not contrive to pretend we know more than we actually do,” he snapped on air Tuesday at a colleague who asked about a Twitter rumor that Middleton’s hairdresser was en route to the hospital.
It did not help that thunderstorms dumped heavy rain on London throughout the day Tuesday. Several observers on Twitter noted that similar rainshowers fell on the queen’s diamond jubilee flotilla — proof, they claimed, that God is no monarchist.
Republic, an anti-monarchy campaign group, has been using the royal birth to gather support for a monarchy-free Britain.
“It’s about exposing it for what it is,” Republic chief Graham Smith told the BBC, adding that the baby was "not that exciting to most people in this country."
Even those without republican tendencies expressed discomfort at the prolonged scrutiny of what is normally a private affair.
The duke and duchess of Cambridge, as they are called in the British press, are no strangers to public intrusions of their personal moments. Their 2011 wedding was watched live by 20 million people in the UK alone.
The difference, of course, is that for understandable reasons the couple declined to invite cameras to film this particular occasion, leaving reporters with little to talk about and less to show.
Bad news for those ready for the whole thing to be over: Prince Charles and Diana didn’t reveal Prince William’s name until he was a week old. Queen Elizabeth II didn’t announce that the future monarch would be called “Charles” for a month.
The t-shirt slogan spotted Tuesday on a London Underground passenger summed it up for many: “The longer this goes on, the less patience I have.”
This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.