Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Where Were You When The Great Kate Wait Concluded? Prince George's Birthday In Review

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

People often have very vivid memories of dark events, national crises and tragedies. It seems everyone who was alive at the time can remember with absolute clarity where they were when JFK was shot, or for my generation, what we were doing when we realized the United States was under assault on September 11th. But, I don't think we should only remember the dark times. The excitement of July 22nd is still very vivid in my memory, and probably yours, and vidid. As Kate fanatics, we all were a little obsessed with the imminent arrival of the royal prince or princess. The Palace had not released a due date for the Duchess, only hinting at mid-July. So, it was anyone's guess, and the media didn't want to guess wrong. July 1st the cameras and journalists set up camp outside St. Mary's Lindo Wing. I was cockily calm at the start, convinced she was not due that first week, nor that she would come too early.

By the second week, though, the tension began to creep in. Assuming she was due mid July, she could possibly come a little early... Soon, I was sleeping fitfully, my phone by my pillow, starting awake in the middle of the night to scroll through my notifications. As the press continued to swelter in the scorching July sun, I was doubly tense because I was facing a trip to France. The first leg of my holiday was in the south, where I would not necessarily have internet. I prayed that the unknown little royal would either come before I left, or hold off those few days.  As the plane engines churned on the day of departure, and I powered down my phone for the 8 hour flight across the Atlantic to Nice, I said a silent prayer that Kate would hold strong. Not, yet, I prayed, not in the next 8 hours! The phone went black, and we lifted off into the dusky sunset for France...

via Instagram @6nagram

Descending into Nice, I stared out the window at the turquoise blue of the Mederteranean Sea. My sister slumbered peacefully next to me, while I maniacally cluctehd my cell phone wondering if I powered it up with 10  minuets to touchdown if I was endangering the flight. A law-abiding Americana, I subdued the urge and hoped that the British heir hadn't miraculously popped out and been named in the short time it took me to cross to the continent. When we finally landed and I powered up, the news was the same. The Great Kate Wait was still going strong at the Lindo Wing, with not signs of relief for the sweltering press.

I spent four days on the Riverea. Soaking up the sun, the aqua-marine waters, the delightful native French, the local culture...and searching for cell reception. We were well past the 15th--was this child ever going to come? Would we spend eternity tied to the phone watching our favorite reporters and photographers slowly expire from heat exhaustion and sun exposure? By the time I got to Paris, I was at the end of my rope--and from all repots anarchy was close to breaking out in the press pack. The unsung heroes of that July may have been starting to see royal baby mirages by the evening of the 21st... The morning of the 22nd of July dawned much like the preceding ones. I jolted awake with the sun pouring in the window. Paris was sweltering, too, and even at a little after 7am local time, the delicate sunbeams were quickly heating my already warm room to an oven. The crenelated spires of the Sorbonne were visible through my window, but all I wanted was my phone...And at last, the alert was there. Still fresh news: Kate has been spotted by photographers slipping into a back entrance of St. Mary's in the barely lit hours of the dawn. Showing the proper judgement call, the photographers did not snap the laboring princess, and I think that remains one of the beautiful little stories around George's birth.

The waiting wasn't over, though. The day slipped by with no news of a new prince or princess. It wasn't until almost dinner that the Palace announced Kate had delivered a boy several hours before.  George was born at 4:24p.m. at 8lbs 6oz, but William and Kate kept the news private while they phoned close family and simply soaked up time with their son before the frenzy broke loose. Break it did. Outside of Buckingham Palace it was a madhouse as the announcement was placed on the easel:

via Instagram @elanasolomon1

Despite the level 3 heat warning, the euphoria in the capital was palatable, and the press, released from almost a month of burning and boring days, leapt into action. News outlets around the world began airing their pre-redorded specials on royal births of past and recent history, speculation on the baby's name, and even on godparents for the tot were the order of the evening. Remember this guy? What a dude.

The mood was considerably lighter the morning of the 23rd. Now that the baby was born, our interest turned to the next milestone of the event as a whole: the appearance on the steps of the Lindo Wing. When would William and Kate take their baby home? When were we going to see Baby Cambridge for the first time? We had to wait our turn as the first visitors to the hospital were his Middleton grandparents. Mike and Carole arrived by cab and spent about an hour with their new grandson:

The cabbie who picked the Middletons up told her story of pure chance that had her participating in a little slice of history:

It was certainly a popcorn and candy sort of a day. Having stared at an entirely static door for close to a month, these comings and goings were riveting for royal watchers intent on soaking up every second of the well-deserevd excitement. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were next to visit the newest heir to the throne:

The question of the new prince's departure was still in the air, although the palace promised that if they left that night, it would not be before 6pm. At 6pm KP confirmed that the couple would take their son home that evening. I think the wait for the Wills and Kate to walk out that front door was almost worse than the entire saga of the Great Kate Wait. The three did not emerge until a little after 7pm. The culmination of nine months of pregnancy watch, 22 days of sweltering and nerve jangling waiting, and a little over 24 hours of exhausted excitement, the little prince was finally making his iconic world debut--and my gosh was it worth it:

Kate and William spoke briefly to the press before returning inside to bid final farewell to staff, strap Baby Cambridge into his carseat, and take their leave of the Lindo:

The couple returned to Kensington Palace, where a doubtless exuberant Pippa and James waited to meet their first nephew. The Cambridges wasted little time bumming about their London home, and were on the road the next day for two weeks of quiet, rest, and relaxation with the Middletons in Berkshire. The happy snaps we got from those two weeks were the pictures of deep contentment. 

In some ways the Great Kate Wait was absolutely miserable. Stressful, time-consuming, and for those physically waiting outside the hospital it was day after day of scorching ennui. But, despite the discomfort or inconvenience, it was a wait filled with happy anticipation. The tension paid tribute to the historic nature of the event, as well as contributing to the outpouring of joy when the long-waited day finally arrived. I think all the waiting and nervousness made those 48 hours from the morning of the 22nd to the evening of the 23rd all the more memorable. George's birth lifted the British nation and people around the world in common good-will. He has certainly been the gift that keeps giving as the world has been enchanted by the little prince in this first year. 

It is hard to believe that hot July is now a full year ago. Hard also to believe how much everyone's favorite little royal has grown. At the photo-shoot for his first birthday, inquisitive George got to play with butterflies.
He was fascinated to see them fly by, but a little scared when they got a bit too close to him. 
William and Kate released a statement of thanks to well-wishers:
We would like to take this opportunity on George's first birthday to thank everyone over the last year, wherever we have met them, both at home and overseas, for their warm and generous good wishes to George and our family. 
It has been widely reported that William and Kate will throw a family birthday party for Prince George at their freshly renovated Kensington Palace apartment today. The guest of honor is purportedly Her Majesty the Queen. I imagine that Kate will probably use her brand new kitchen to make George a themed birthday cake, as she so fondly remembers her mother doing for her when she was a child. 

Happy Birthday, Prince George! You certainly warm our hearts...smiling or somber! 


  1. Thank you so much for this post jane it was wonderful to look back. Such an exciting time! A year has gone so fast but it's been lovely to see them all in family mode, happy birthday Prince george!

    1. So happy you enjoyed it, simmy! It is hard to believe that this was all a year ago. He certainly has grown into a charming little guy. I am excited for the next year!

  2. Such a wonderful post - thanks for taking us all back to those exciting days! I think I might always remember being at my desk that morning, watching the live feed outside the Lindo Wing, and seeing William, Kate and George make their first appearance as a family. I had tears in my eyes and was overjoyed for them. Such a beautiful moment.

    1. That was definitely an electrifying moment!! Just the crowd outside of the Lindo Wing was incredible!! Glad you enjoyed the post--it has been so fun to spend this year watching him grow with everyone!

  3. Jane, love this idea of remembering. You need to plan holidays more carefully! ;) I think I heard the news from the radio while driving. I knew he was due soon, but hadn't obviously followed it as closely as you had, but I was still so very excited that he had come. Waiting for the name was also something I remember as very exciting. great post--thanks for the time to write it!

    1. Haha, no kidding! i thought the same thing. I must have been a little checked out when I booked the flight. It made for fun retrospect. :)

  4. Thank you so much, Jane, for this lovely retrospect and your personal experiences How interesting! I enjoyed it so much!

    I also remember July 22nd 2013 as if it was yesterday. Beeing excited for days, I got into a wave of nervousness when I read that Kate got into labour. Having a little one myself (who was less than 10 months at that time) giving birth has still been present to me and I crossed my fingers that everything would go well and Kate could fade out the media outside. I spent the whole day with live stream on at my laptop to be up to date and yes, I have to say, the excitement didn't decrease. It's ridiculous, I haven't been that nervous for a long time :-). I was full of joy for the royal family and kind of relieved when the news of the birth came up and I stayed tuned also the 23rd for news and in hope to see the little prince. Unfortunately I had an appointment that evening so I missed the presenting of George via live stream. I was disappointed - ridiculous - but I was caught by the hype! It might sound absurd but I felt kind of connected to that little family as I have a little one myself. These were exciting days and it has been an exciting year seeing George grow and change! This afternoon William, Kate and their families will share a lot of memories :-).

    Happy Birthday, Prince George! All the best wishes for you and your family! Keep on growing up healthy and strong!

    1. I think I remember you telling me that you had your little one not long before! Kate's comment outside to the press was that other new parents would be able to understand their emotions. That must have been particularly special for you having just experienced it. :)

  5. Thanks Jane for such a wonderful post, one of your best I think!

    I remember driving my husband crazy during the wait while Kate was in labor, switching TV channels every 30 seconds to see the news. lol At one point when W&K&G made their first apperance it appeared as though Kate was tearing up, I imagine she was so emotional, so proud and so overwhelmed by the support and interest shown. Seeing her like that certainly brought back memories of the births of my two children and the births of my granddaughters, such precious moments.

    I look forward to watching George grow and change and become the wonderful person that I'm sure he will be.

    1. Ahh, thank you so much, Lauri! You are very kind!
      I think friends and family wanted George to be born almost as much as I did, just so I would calm down. :)
      I am excited to see George grow into the "terrible (but doubtless adorable" twos." He is going to be a little firecracker, I think.

  6. I know exactly where I was, glued to the T.V., waiting for those damned doors to open, and for Kate to come out with her new baby. Much as I was prepared to like the child, it was Kate I wanted to see, and when I did, I felt so terribly ashamed of myself and so sorry for Kate. No new mom would want to face that barrage of flashing lights, nor would she want her baby to be so subjected, but...the Royal Road Show must go on.

    For me, to this day, its all about Kate--George is akin to a rose, albeit a really cute one--in her lapel. But I do wish to send a huge HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the little prince; may he always be a source of joy for his Mom; may he never forget his middle class (in Canada, that would be his upper middle class) roots, nor the love, time, money and effort his Middleton grandparents have expended on him.

    Here in Canada, on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp), it is being widely reported that indeed the Middletons threw an early birthday party for the little guy; I believe it. Quite a contrast to his Royal relatives. Nor do I think the Middletons did this to garner publicity; I think they did it because he is their first, much loved, grandchild.

    Once again: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GEORGE!!

    1. I actually am with you in that I was excited to see the bundle of joy, but I was very, very excited to see Kate. While it was a little daunting, I think that Kate was probably just overwhelmed with happiness and very, very proud. She had none of her usual light reticence and shyness. She boldly jumped in to answer press questions. i think she was on cloud nine, and I think truly touched by the outpouring of genuine happiness. The day wasn't marred either, by anything that might upset William--I am thinking of the photographers who refrained from photographing her, even though those would have been very lucrative shots. You don't have to feel bad--it was a happy day for everyone!

      I do not know if they had a party, but I agree, the Middletons aren't promoting themselves. They have every right to dote on their daughter's son. They must be so proud, and rightly so. :)

    2. Hi Anon and Jane,

      I agree with you both on this, I don't think the Middletons were thinking about promotions at all, just their first grandchild. Don't forget the Middletons are very well liked in Berkshire, W&K even invitied some of the locals to their wedding. This was probably a chance for those friends to be able to celebrate Georges birthday. And then when C&C get back from their duties, there will probably be a third party! That's just how it is when family and friends are spread out.

  7. Love this post! So fun to look back at a happy time. I remember where I was: visiting my parents at their house in Maryland, taking advantage of the 100 degree weather (and 100% humidity!) by doing hot yoga on their back porch, when my mom popped her head out and said "It's a boy!" So exciting. Ran back inside after my practice and sat in front of the computer screen forEVER (real time: about an hour, LOL) to see them come out on those steps. Historic! Thanks again for posting, Jane. I've been reading your words for so long now, I feel like you're an old friend! ~Katie :)

    1. It is really hot here right now. I wish I had the va va voom to take advantage and do hot yoga. Consider me very impressed! :)
      Thanks for sweet comment! I am really very flattered and touched that you enjoy the blog. It is so lovely to hear. Very warmly, Jane


The rules for commenting are simple: be polite. Please be respectful of the BRF/Middletons, even in criticism; please be respectful of your fellow readers, even in disagreement. Vulgarity will disqualify a comment.

Debate is welcome, direct and personal insults are not. Topics we tend to avoid here: "does Kate work enough?" and "Is Kate too skinny?" Everything is subject to approval.

I (Jane Barr) moderate all comments. If a comment is live, I approved it. If you find something offensive, or think my approval was an error, please email me at princesskateblog(at)

At times, an acceptable comment just goes missing. If you felt your comment should have been approved, but did not show up within five hours, again, pop an email to the above address.

Happy chatting!