Part of the party

Bendigo Weekly | Bendigo Weekly | 26-Jul-2013

By Bendigo’s
Marika McMahon

In some ways, now is not a great time to be an Australian in London.  
The Ashes is an embarrassment,there’s been far too much British success in cycling, there’s the rugby.
 On top of that, there’s having to endure what Londoners are calling a heat wave: the weather is warm and the people and buildings aren’t made to cope with such extremes – it leads to an onslaught of sunburn, bad summer fashion and drinks served too warm.
Then there’s the Royal birth.  As an Australian, you don’t want to look too excited in case you’re mistaken for a monarchist and there’s that whole Sydney radio thing that we collectively feel bad about.  
Yet, even with all that my Facebook, twitter and Instagram feeds have been going crazy with girlfriends keenly devouring every snippet of information on the arrival of the now named George Alexander Louis.
Almost without exception, the discussions have started off  “I’m not a monarchist but....”
Is it that every Royal birth captures the imagination like this, or is it because this one echoes so much of our childhood memories of Diana?
To ensure Bendigo Weekly readers had the comprehensive coverage they deserve of these historic events, we interrupted the schedule of our tourist adventures to bring a bit of first-hand knowledge of the royal happenings (despite the editor dropping lots of hints he wanted more about the ashes, less about the royals).
I expected London to be beside itself with excitement leading up to the birth.  
Really, from on the street you would have barely known. Maybe this is because the city has had it’s overload of events in recent times: the wedding, the jubilee, the Olympics, now this.  
Maybe it is also because while the Royal family is something held pretty special, it is also something taken in your stride, more akin to your cousin having a baby.  
The thousands of us tourists swamping Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guards see an imposing building, with all the pomp, ceremony and livery.  
Shoppers on High Street Kensington know that Kate and Wills are at home just around the corner, a bit like if they lived at the Rosalind Park end of Bull Street if they were in Bendigo.
While fountains have turned blue, there’s been gun salutes and lots of media coverage, there’s also been a lot of London continuing to go about its business, I’ve been surprised to not overhear any conversations about the birth – is it only us colonials who are trying to figure out whether the shawl was the same shawl Diana had for William?
We headed to Kensington Palace to get close to the action.  A convoy of satellite-fitted media trucks and marquees of newshounds are set up facing the palace.  
This is the public entrance to the palace, the opposite end to where  the royals might be popping out to pick up some more nappies.
Surely they weren’t imagining that  new parents would just decide to take a stroll in the gardens  heaving with tourists to give the babe seem fresh air?
We, along with
hundreds of other tourists, went through Kensington Palace.  
We saw the table at which Queen Victoria sat with the Privy Council, we saw her children’s toys, we saw some dresses of Princess Diana’s and memories came flooding back of taffeta filled school formals in the 80s.  
All the while, just the other side of those doors was the Royal baby settling in with his parents and at the time they were there receiving a visit from his great grandmother.
There’s some tacky Royal birth related advertising (Mothercare – something for your little prince or princess, Coke with William and Kate named cans, Little Prince cupcakes in Selfridges food hall) .  
There’s the High Street rush to copy the blue spotted dress worn leaving the hospital (a bespoke Jenny Packham number, likely to have cost £1000), the talk that they won’t be having a nanny (at which I wanted to throw rocks at the window of the palace, grab Kate’s attention and say “you’re mad, take the nanny”), the speculation as to which feeding and sleeping guru they will call on, which school the babe will go to.
You could think it is all a bit over the top, but many  imaginations are captured.
Maybe thinking what that life would be like, maybe the sight of the new parents on the hospital steps bringing back memories of that wonderful hormone filled feeling, maybe admiration for Wills getting the baby seat in first go.
As we walked away from Kensington Palace we went past the residence side, there was a window ajar with a curtain blowing out in the warm summer breeze.  
I couldn’t help but wonder was the baby in that room, how was it coping in that heat, was Kate in there weeping and eating chocolate as her milk came in?
As we left the driveway a black Range Rover came around the corner.  I lifted my sunglasses to see more through the tinted windows: alas only three burly security men, no uncle Harry coming to visit.  
And maybe I have lost any sense of reason.


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