Friday, Dec 09, 2016
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Birth of a prince

Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, are the proud parents of a baby boy — eight pounds, six ounces. His name has not been disclosed; London bookmakers favor George, which is a noble name for a king.

What will it be like for this child growing up, knowing that the world awaited his birth? What will it be like for him to know that, God willing, he will be king?

This birth is a twofer. Babies make people feel good, and so does the British monarchy, even to Americans who once rejected it with apparent finality. We seem to need royalty.

Humans long for tradition, duty, and dignity. The British monarchy personifies these qualities. The wonderful film of a few years ago, The King’s Speech, was very popular on these shores.

One Brit explained the monarchy: “It’s not rational, but somehow it just works.” But the monarchy is more rational than hero worship of professional athletes or imperial presidencies in America. The British see their prime ministers as human, and deal with them on a human scale.

As for childbirth itself, its appeal is deep and universal. It is the power of new life and hope. The philosopher Hannah Arendt wrote: “The new always happens against the overwhelming odds of statistical laws and their probability, which for all practical, everyday purposes amounts to certainty; the new therefore always appears in the guise of a miracle.”

Welcome, royal baby.

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