The John Humphrys Guide to gushing royal baby stories
Kate pregnancy coverage gives Radio 4 presenter morning sickness: here’s what he missed
THE NEWS that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby has brought congratulations from David Cameron and Barack Obama and a gush of purple prose from some quarters of the press. So much of it that Radio 4 Today programme presenter John Humphrys sounded close to a seizure this morning as co-host Sarah Montague went through the morning papers.
The dour Welshman refused to read any of it, saying it was "blissful" to find The Guardian leading on story about the exploitation of VAT loopholes rather than the royal pregnancy.
So, what did Humphrys miss in his efforts to avoid morning sickness?
The Daily Mail dedicated its first 14 pages to the royal news, including this eulogy to Kate from reporter David Wilkes: "What a picture of rude health the Duchess of Cambridge looked as she enjoyed an energetic game of hockey at her old prep school only five days ago. Nimble, athletic and beaming, she dashed about unhindered by her unusual choice of footwear - a pair of high-heeled boots. And her face? Positively glowing, you might say.
"Many onlookers were struck by that glorious blush, with her cheeks looking a touch rosier and rounder than we have perhaps become accustomed to seeing," he gushed.
How did Fleet Street’s finest miss all the signals?
Well, Mail columnist Bel Mooney didn't miss them. "Once you've had a child yourself, you can read that body language and recognise the inner glow," she declares. "And I'm sure I speak for countless others, men and women alike, when I say that even if the news wasn't a surprise, it comes as a tonic to lift the mood of austerity and gloom."
Her tribute to the young royals is vintage Mail, featuring knocking asides about the BBC (which almost ruined the Diamond Jubilee with its "pitiful and ill-judged TV coverage") and the French (who must make do with Francois Hollande's "difficult live-in lover" Valerie Trierweiler while we have "intelligent and lovely Kate").
The upcoming birth of a royal baby "will embody our innate sense that — for all its many faults — this remains one of the best countries in the world to live in, due to the pride we have in our Queen, our traditions and our history".
The Daily Mirror heaped praise on the mum-to-be: "Kate has not put a foot wrong since getting married in Westminster and the royal baby announcement is set to make her the world’s most famous woman since William’s mother Diana."
The Sun used an editorial to tell its readers not to begrudge the baby a life of privilege. "Being born into the House of Windsor will give the Royal baby the sort of advantages most of us can only dream of," the paper noted. "But one thing that shouldn’t be forgotten is the fact that he or she will have wonderful parents."
Harry Mount in The Daily Telegraph wrote: "How the republicans must be seething. Not only is another year of rose-tinted royal coverage guaranteed, but a whole childhood’s worth – the first pictures of the baby, the christening, the first steps, the first public words, the first day at school."
Overseas there has also been an excited reaction. According to German newspaper Bild, England (rather than Britain) is in "a state of ecstasy," and it adds that "the timing could not be more perfect," coming at the end of a year that has seen the Queen celebrate her Diamond Jubilee and London host a successful Olympics.
The French edition of Closer magazine, making no mention of those infamous topless photos it published three months ago, says: "After the announcement that Tatiana Santo Domingo, fiancee of Andrea Casiraghi, eldest son of Princess Caroline of Monaco, is pregnant, the news that Kate Middleton is expecting confirms that 2013 will be a rich year for happy events in high society."
Tatiana who? Never mind...
On the other side of the Atlantic, USA Today described it as "the news that all of Britain has been waiting for". It was, said the paper, "more than just a boon for the baby-mad media; it's a reassuring symbol of continuity for the monarchy and, by extension, the United Kingdom itself". ·