Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Birth shows royals still greatly admired

Editor's Viewpoint

The new prince born to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge enters the world as it is evolving faster than at any time in history. Much of that change is fuelled by technology, but new political alliances are being forged and old ones sundered with uncertain outcomes.

But what the birth demonstrates is that the British monarchy is a constant in this changing worldscape. As he grows up, the as yet unnamed prince need only look to the example of his great-grandmother, the Queen, who has just celebrated her 92nd birthday, to see how she has deftly managed to keep the monarchy relevant, no matter what happens around it.

Barring some unimaginable disaster the new prince will never ascend the throne, but that does not mean that he should not have a role to play in preserving that monarchy, just as his uncle, Prince Harry, is so ably demonstrating by championing issues which matter to ordinary people on a daily basis.

The monarchy may be a constant, but it also evolves subtly. The world that Queen Elizabeth inhabits today is a far cry from the one which saw her become queen. Britain is a much more racially diverse place and one of many faiths.

There have been republican stirrings in some parts of the Commonwealth, yet only this week the leaders of the 50-plus countries agreed with the Queen's suggestion that Prince Charles should take on her role of head of the Commonwealth in time to come.

The Royal Family, known as The Firm, has a built in line of succession, but even that has been modernised as the new prince will have to stand behind his sister, Princess Charlotte, in that line due to recently introduced legislation which no longer gave precedence to male heirs of the monarch.

Amazingly the Royal Family continues to gather new admirers even in this cynical world and the forthcoming marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will further underscore their popularity in the US.

The Queen's longevity has been a boon to the monarchy, not only for her steady hand on the tiller and example of devotion to duty, but also because there are now four generations of monarchy in situ, each appealing to a different segment of society.

The crowds waiting to see the first appearance of the new prince on the hospital steps yesterday evening shows the strength of that enduring appeal.

Belfast Telegraph

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