Donna Cloutier got goose bumps when she watched television coverage Monday as the world awaited the arrival of Britain’s littlest member of the royal family and future heir to the throne — an 8 pound, 6 ounce baby boy.
“It’s just a wonderful part of life and it doesn’t matter what walk of life,” Cloutier said with excitement as she played with her 10-month-old twin grandchildren, Daniel and Clare, while pushing them in a stroller in downtown Exeter.
The worldwide royal baby watch that began as soon as Prince William’s wife, Kate, went into labor early Monday captivated many Granite Staters for the same reason other Americans are intrigued by Britain’s royal family.
Nicoletta Gullace, associate professor of history at the University of New Hampshire who studies 20th century and modern British history, said Americans are fascinated by an institution that goes back thousands of years and seems to be timeless.
“While this isn’t quite true, the fact that the British have chosen to hang onto the institution of the monarchy, even in modern times, is a testament to their deep connection to the past and their sense of tradition as a stabilizing force in modern society.
“In order for the monarchy to remain compelling, however, it has had to modernize too, and the health of the British monarchy depends, to some extent, on the star power of the monarchs and their ability to garner media attention and public affection,” she said.
America’s interest in the monarchy didn’t end when Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in 1997, Gullace said.
“Kate and Will have become the heirs to that glamour and affection, and we are all watching and wishing for them to live happier lives than our beloved Diana did,” she said.
Jodi Saviski of Greenland followed some of the news Monday, but wasn’t glued to the television the way her family was on William and Kate’s wedding day.
“We watched the wedding because my daughters wanted to see all the fanfare,” she said.
As exciting as the birth may be for royal family followers, Saviski knows this little prince’s life won’t be easy.
“I feel bad. It’s not going to be a normal childhood,” she said.
Not everyone spent the day following all the breaking baby news out of Britain.
Chris Jennerjohn, 23, of Manchester, said he didn’t care — “not even a little.”
“I didn’t even know there was a birth,” he joked.
Dorothy Rainey of Rye saw some of the coverage on the morning news, but she didn’t stay home by the TV to keep up on the latest developments.
“It’s a little much,” she said of the intense media coverage. “It’s a private thing.”