After the excitement of the last few months, we have a new baby princess – the first since Princess Eugenie was born 25 years ago.
The Prince of Wales has said openly he was hoping for a granddaughter and his hopes were granted. The child is also the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s fifth great-grandchild.
We had been expecting it for a while: people had been waiting in outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington for days and some for up to two weeks. I admire them but it’s not easy to plan for a royal birth – something with will happen at an indeterminate date and time.
When it happened, though, it came quickly. The announcement that the Duchess of Cambridge was in the early stages of labour came at 6am with the child born just after 8.30am.
The fact that so many wanted to share in the joy of the birth at the hospital and by reading the official notice at Buckingham Palace shows the regard in which the Duke and Duchess and their family are held.
There was a marked change to tradition, though. When Prince George was born 21 months ago, his birth was announced in the time-honoured tradition at the palace gates before it was announced elsewhere.
The new princess’s birth was given using more modern methods first: announced to the media and online and on Twitter.
Their new daughter is fourth in line to the throne. Although her birth is not as historically significant as her elder brother’s – Prince George, after all, was born in the direct line of succession – the new princess does have one distinction.
Thanks to a recent change in the law, the child cannot be supplanted in the line of succession by a younger brother unlike the Princess Royal or Lady Louise Windsor whose younger brothers rank ahead of them.
It’s a happy time for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they settle down to life as a family of four and Prince George adjusts to his new role as an older brother. I’m sure they will want some time together before they embark on their royal duties again.
We see the Royal Family almost as extensions of our own family, enjoying seeing the family grow, the children becoming older and taking their places in the world.
Second royal children are often more extrovert than their older siblings. Prince Harry had a much livelier reputation as a party animal in his teens and twenties than Prince William ever did – as did Princess Margaret compared to the Queen in the 1940s and 1950s.
The Princess Royal when young had a reputation for being difficult and off-hand, far more so than the Prince of Wales. A sanguine attitude: keeping her head down and carrying on with her engagements has served her well with her now seen as one of the hardest working members of the Royal Family.
It will be interesting to see how Prince George and his younger sister grow and develop in the years to come.