Britain's fledgling Republican movement attempted to put a brave face on the news that Kate Middleton is pregnant with her second child today, even as the news swamped social media, websites, television and radio around the world.
Graham Smith, the leader of the anti-royal organization Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state in the UK, told the Daily Beast that he believed that the birth of a sibling for Prince George would be “good news” and a “good advert” for his anti-monarchist operation.
"The birth of Prince George, the Jubilee, and the Royal wedding were all good for us. We picked up a lot of new members, especially in the week when George was born. These big events do nothing to push up the popularity of the royal family, but they do a lot for us, for us it's all good news.
"Events like this don’t really change the minds of people who have strong opinions either way, but for the 20% to 25% of the population who generally don’t favor the monarchy, for the people who are already looking at our site, it does wind them up, and it does galvanize them to actually join us and get involved. These big, set-piece events shove the royalty in their face. They get a bit tired of the sycophancy, the tone, the over-the-top coverage in the media.”
Isn’t this just sour grapes, I ask, given that the top trending subject on Twitter is #royalbaby and the news will dominate headlines?
Smith says, “The fact that the royal baby is the top trending subject on Twitter is actually meaningless. Things trending on Twitter is just a reflection of a very superficial level of interest in headlines which are going around. It certainly doesn't show support. A lot of those people would just be retweeting the news without making comment. For a lot of people around the world, royalty is just celebrity news, it's nothing to do with whether or not they support the British monarchy.
"We simply believe that children should be born equal, and not just that other children should have the same opportunities as a royal child, but we also believe that a royal child should be born into a life where it's free to make its own decisions, to live the life they want to lead.
“This baby, it's not even 12 weeks since its conception, and people are already saying it has to be this has to be that, which is obviously absurd.”