Duchess of Cambridge Catherine Middleton is expecting the birth of her first child with Prince William any day now, and the world news media is abuzz with excitement over the new royal baby. Representatives from several countries have sent the couple unique gifts in preparation for their child, and other countries and venues have been planning elaborate ceremonies to announce the gender and title of the baby. But just what are the standard practices to celebrate a new royal baby, and how does the royal family plan to reveal their child to the world?
According to sources close to the royal family, the world’s first indication that a royal baby is on his or her way will be an announcement that the Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted to the hospital and is in the early stages of labor. Usually, the next public announcement will be that a child has been born. This announcement is a formal document detailing the baby’s gender, time of birth, and weight, which will be signed by the Duchess’s doctors, then brought to Buckingham Palace with a police escort.
According to age-old custom, this document is then placed behind the iconic railings of Buckingham Palace. It may also be placed on an easel in the palace forecourt, the same easel used for the births of Princes William and Harry. The posting of this document is the world’s first knowledge of the baby’s gender, although the name is usually kept a secret for a few weeks after the birth. The royal baby will also be honored with a 41-gun salute, another old celebration tradition.
Along with the traditions of the past, the royal baby’s birth will be celebrated with new customs as well. He or she will be the first British royal whose birth will be announced on the Internet, via Facebook and Twitter. The royal family views this blending of old and new traditions as a symbol of how the monarchy has evolved with society over the years, and a sign of the kind of monarchy which they and their child hope to someday establish.