We are all familiar with the practices that will take place once the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s son or daughter are born. Not only are there traditional celebrations, but Commonwealth countries around the world will have their unique way of celebrating the birth of a sibling for Prince George. I am sure everyone is as excited as I am to see what each country will come up with. For now let’s take a look at ways other royal families have marked the births of their future monarchs.
When twins Gabriella Thérèse Marie and Jacques Honoré Rainier were born this past December to Prince Albert and Princess Charlene, Monaco’s citizens and fan rejoiced. Flowers were left as gifts, and an online guest book was signed with any of well wishes for the new family. Official celebrations included the ringing of church bells for 15 minutes and 21 cannon shots fired for each child from Fort Antoine.
Prince Albert even recorded a video to announce the arrival of his children. The Prince: “Dear countrymen and inhabitants of the Principality, thank you to all those in Monaco and around the world who have expressed their attachment to the princess, myself and my family. We thank God for this great happiness.”
Before the birth of the twins, the Palace announced that the birth date would be made a public holiday “for all individuals working in Monaco in celebration of this time of great joy.”
The birth of Princess Estelle born on 23 February 2012 to Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel saw the unifying celebrations of a new heir. Prince Daniel gave a brief press conference at the hospital to announce his daughters arrival. Marked by a 21 gun salute in Stockholm, it brought people from all around to see the occasion.
The following day King Carl XVI Gustaf announced the birth of his granddaughter during a cabinet meeting, revealing her title of Duchess of Ostergotland. A special Te Deum religious service, a traditional religious service held the day after the birth of a royal, at the royal palace’s chapel in Stockholm was attended by King Carl, Queen Silvia and other members of the royal family. It was Marshal of the Realm to the Swedish Royal Court, Svante Lindqvist who had the honour of announcing the name of the future Queen.
Japan’s Imperial Family has a very different way of doing things. One primary example is that Emperor Akihito will decide the name of the child seven days after he or she is born. A sacred Samurai sword made by blacksmiths, set in a crimson case will be presented as proof that the baby is a direct descendant. The sword represents the legend of a sword given to the founder of the imperial family by the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. If the child born is a girl she will be presented with a traditional “hakama”, a pleated skirt. Seven days after the birth, the baby will be ceremonially bathed in a cedar tub as part of a passage of Nihon Shoki (Chronicle of Japan was completed in 720 AD).
One thing that isn’t different is how a birth brings people together. The birth of Crown Princess Masako’s daughter in 2001 was celebrated by people shouting ”Banzai!” outside the Imperial Palace after television stations broke their broadcasts to announce the news. Make-shift celebrations were held throughout Japan. Stores sold special rice wine sold in bottles marked with sweet-brier flowers, Princess Masako’s imperial crest to commemorate the birth.
Any day now it will be the British Royal Family’s turn to rejoice in all that comes with the birth of a new baby. I can’t wait!