Royal baby is of huge interest

The Queen was denied a Humble Address after the birth of Prince George by virtue of the House of Commons being in recess.

But the birth of a royal baby, particularly a future heir to the throne, is of huge interest to politicians.

In years gone by the Home Secretary attended a royal birth. It is not clear whether the last was J R Clynes at Princess Margaret’s birth or Sir John Simon at the birth of Princess Alexandra.

But the fact that this no longer happens must have come as a relief to both the Duchess of Cambridge and Theresa May.

The Royal family’s success has been the ability to move with the times. Prince William was at his son’s birth and, like many new fathers, will take paternity leave.

By contrast when Prince Charles was born the Duke of Edinburgh was playing squash.

Some traditions remain. The royal birth was announced on an easel for the crowd to see. But in line with technological advance, the first pictures of the baby were on the websites of national news outlets within a minute.

Parliament had passed the Royal Succession Act to ensure that if the first born was a girl she would take precedence over a future brother. The fact that a Prince was born means the Act must wait for another generation.

A baby’s life chances are determined by the postcode of the bed they are born in. W2 1NY is probably a good start for any child and St Mary’s Hospital is a far cry from the Marylebone Workhouse Infirmary originally on the site.

The new royal baby will have a life of privilege but also of public service. But at the heart of the story are a young couple and their first baby. I wish them all well.