Some, not all, react with joy to news of a royal baby

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
FILE - In this July 10, 2011, file photo, Prince William and wife Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are photographed by fans during a visit to the U.S. in Culver City, Calif. The palace announced Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, that Prince William and wife Kate are expecting their first child_ and it seems at times that Americans may be more enthralled by the news than the Brits. There are several reasons for the American publicís pleasure in Kateís news, manifested not only by the good wishes sent by President Obama but also by the breathless news coverage and the general good will toward the couple. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

WESTPORT, Conn. -- This former colony has been riveted by the royal news that the former Kate Middleton is pregnant -- perhaps as much as Britain, where such regal developments are taken in stride.

"We don't really have a princess here," said Kathy Gitlin, an elementary schoolteacher in Connecticut who was thrilled to hear that Kate is with child. "I'm an Anglophile, I love England, and I think it's wonderful that two people in love wanted to get married and start a family. It's great."

There's no doubt that many Britons are thrilled as well, and the country's embattled tabloid press certainly views a royal pregnancy as a surefire circulation booster.

But some on Monday expressed a blasé attitude to the prospect of a new generation of Windsors seemingly bound for the throne.

"I'm happy for them, but I don't really care," said Enya Lonergan, 19, who was visiting from Canterbury, south of London, with her friend Will Nichols, 20.

They could muster little enthusiasm for the news, noting that they had little in common with the royals,.

"I don't think about them," Nichols said, adding that -- naturally -- he would send them a gift. Or not.

Others said they were not interested and questioned the need for a royal family.

"I don't think it's a good thing," said Stephen Jowitt, 63, as he ambled down Camden High Street. "It reinforces a class system."

The news did provide a boost to one of Britain's national pastimes -- finding ways to wager. Bookmakers are taking bets on the gender of Kate's child, what the infant will be named and the color of his or her hair.

Joe Crilly, a spokesman for the William Hill bookmaker, said a high level of betting interest is expected, with favored names including Diana, Philip, Elizabeth and Sarah.

In America, ABC News even offered a poll, asking people to rate likely baby names.

Baby thoughts have been found in some less-than-fully-credible supermarket tabloids for months. They've been trumpeting "stories" about Kate's pregnancies for months, without any apparent basis in fact.

But that didn't keep the public from gobbling them up -- the British royals, with their haughty glamour and slightly tragic air, have long captivated Americans.

"I'm always looking for any news of William and Kate," said 19-year-old Stacy McFacken, a clerk at a grocery store in Mentor, Ohio, in August when a number of tabloids offered screaming headlines about Kate's purported pregnancy.

"There's nothing like this in the States," she said. "It's just like all the fairy tales we read about as kids. We all want to be Kate."

Word of Kate's condition, including her hospitalization for complications, was top news on websites throughout the world. Her condition requires specialist treatment but if diagnosed early, it is unlikely to have long-term consequences for the mother or baby, and does not raise the risk of a miscarriage.

But while the parents might be anxious, world leaders stepped in to wish her well. The news was featured prominently on front pages in Argentina, India, France, South Africa and other countries. It sent Twitter into a tizzy, with #royalbaby trending worldwide and used more than 28,000 times in the first few hours following the official announcement. U.S. media websites such as People, Vanity Fair and the Daily Beast provided extensive coverage, with the Huffington Post launching a live blog to track developments.

"The whole wide world is excited," said Shao Hua Huang, a surgical nurse who practices in New York and Connecticut. "We're really happy for her. It's because of England and all the tradition. We Americans followed in their footsteps."

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