A decade or more of toil against gender stereotyping has been undone by a single birth.
In Canada, they turned Niagara Falls blue (if you didn’t get it, the spray is normally white), and in New Zealand, Christchurch airport was also illumined with the colour for boys. Prince William, said their Prime Minister, is held in high affection over there as he attended the opening of the Supreme Court. They lit up the wrong building, then.
The Australians, to their credit, didn’t show off any man-made or natural wonders. In that gruff, endearing way, the PM simply spoke about the royal bub. Like an eight-pound door knocker, or ceremonial barge. You can’t picture a human, let alone a gender.
Here in England, things didn’t turn out much better. With Scottish independence in the air, we weren’t about to highlight the colour blue. We wanted to celebrate the Union, and the London Eye was lit up in the colours of the Union Jack. At least, it was meant to be. What we got was blue, pink and indeterminate – the gender stereotypes again. In the morning, we took extra care with our choice of tie.
The sailors on HMS Lancaster celebrated in their own way. They went on parade and formed the letters BOY. Someone in a helicopter photographed them on deck. They must have been hoping for a boy. The extra letter in girl would have put some sailors too close to the edge, not to mention indeterminate.
The baby’s name was never going to be Jack. It was never going to be David, either. Mr Cameron’s fiddle with the primogeniture law, like some of his other legislation, is now irrelevant. Speaking of fiddling, how do we know it’s a boy? Because certain people were paid to inspect the future monarch’s genitals and make a written report about what they saw. We trust that this is the last time such liberty is taken.
BBC headlines showed the world reacting to news of the royal birth. That may have pleased the audience here in Britain, but it was little more than a few best wishes from a few predictable presidents and Commonwealth countries. Nonetheless, in their tradition of balanced reporting, the BBC website did quote a Pakistani journalist’s tweet that the royal arrival made no difference whatsoever to a great number of people.
We can still celebrate our British-ness, though, even when we know that not everybody does, and that members of the Royal family are born and live and die exactly like the rest of us? And we don’t need to travel to the sub-continent to witness such ennui. After that car accident in Paris, anarchist graffiti like DEAD AS A DODI straightaway appeared on walls around London.
Life is probably easier for anarchists. They don’t wear ties for a start.