19 Jul 2013

Royal baby mania grips US and Canada

Britain is not alone in waiting with baited breath for a visit from the royal stork. Baby mania has hit the US, with the prospect of the Niagara Falls being lit up when the birth is announced.

NBC Today's Natalie Morales

NBC Today’s Natalie Morales in the media pit outside St Mary’s in London

America and Canada rejoiced in the royal wedding, revelled in the jubilee, and there is now just as much interest in the impending royal birth, writes Rebecca Tyers.

Las Vegas betting companies have been taking bets on everything from the gender to the possible name, weight and hair colour. When the announcement is finally made, several landmarks across America and Canada are going to be lit up in celebration. These include Niagara Falls and Toronto’s CN tower.

“Canada’s national tower joins the rest of the world in looking forward to the news of the royal baby,” says CN Tower spokesperson Irene Knight. “In honour of the royal birth, the CN Tower will feature a solid blue or pink light show on the evening the birth is announced.”

Themed events

On a smaller scale, many businesses up and down America have been hosting royal baby themed events in the run-up to the due date. Zachary Pope from Roundz in Maryland has been using local interest in the royal birth to help those less fortunate:

“I’m 40 and I remember when Prince William was born… the Americans have a real romance with the royals,” he says ”We were kicking around some ideas about something to do locally for it so we decided to give a royal baby shower benefit. We started collecting baby items that would be donated to a local charity that supports mothers on a low income.”

Jayne Yazdi, owner of the Haile Village Bistro, Florida, hosted a very English tea party to “shower” the royal mum-to-be.

“Americans think it is great! They are just interested in everything to do with the royal family. We did a similar thing for the royal wedding. We had a television up and people came in at 5am to watch it. The baby shower was packed with people dressed up in their gloves and dresses.”

US media

The excitement over the pond has in part been led by the media. The major American TV networks have been going baby crazy, dispatching news teams to London and with ABC and CNN all airing royal specials.

“There is an undeniable fascination for many Americans with all things William and Kate,” said Mark Lukasiewicz, senior vice-president of specials, NBC News.

“From their engagement to the royal wedding, to this much-anticipated birth of an heir to the throne, this is the next big milestone in a story that our viewers have been following for years.”

“The royal couple’s embrace of some modern twists to their royal traditions has also captivated many Americans, who’ll be able to watch the formal birth announcement being delivered from the hospital to Buckingham Palace on a live helicopter shot, and then read the announcement themselves on social media,” said Lukasiewicz.

“To paraphrase, Americans see them as the very model of a modern major monarchy.”

The Americans, along with the Brits, will just have to keep waiting that little bit longer.