Royal birth means babies born on May 2nd will get lucky penny

Baby’s status as fourth in line to the British throne should give her an extra 11 years on her peers

In Britain, the penny is dropping.

Babies born in the UK on May 2nd 2015 will get a “lucky” silver penny. These new babies are getting their palms crossed with silver for “good luck”, a spokesman for the Royal Mint said.

This good luck went kerching! at 8.34am on Saturday when the Duchess of Cambridge, the woman formerly known as Kate Middleton, gave birth to a girl in the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, Westminster.

The same good luck will probably not run to keeping those 2,000 or so babies on the planet as long as the new princess, though.


Her status as fourth in line to the British throne should, all going well, give her an extra 11 years on her peers. The calculation is based on the humongous lifespans of her noble ancestors and the great unwashed’s tendency to raise their offspring on turkey twizzlers and Irn Bru.

It is estimated that the new princess should make the grand old age of 94. Those British royals live long and prosper.

The silver pennies will not carry a picture of David Beckham OBE, although they probably should. David turned 40 on Saturday, May 2nd and is first in line to the throne in the hearts and minds of quite a percentage of the British population.

Little Britain spent the morning getting annoyed with the BBC's Nicholas Witchell and Sky's Kay Burley as they tried to dress up having no information as having some information.

“It’s that glorious time again, when you realise no matter how annoying your job is, at least you’re not Nicholas Witchell,” one wag (twag) tweeted, making sure that the rat-catchers and sewer cleaners of the world would feel better about themselves.

It could be worse, though. At least Burley and Witchell were looking into a camera lens and imagining they had at least one interested viewer. Irish Times readers are a tougher crowd to please.

If you are engaged by that other British institution Coronation Street, you deserve to know that the 8lb 3oz princess is the first British royal to take that title in 25 years, and that no woman has been higher up the succession for 65 years, when Princess Anne was born.

Of course, thanks to recent changes, the new princess will be treated no differently from any British male royal. She will inherit in birth order and will not be cast aside as soon as someone with a penis arrives.

She is not the heir, but she is now definitely the spare.

So will the princess herald a new dawn for the women of the United Kingdom?

Rather unsurprisingly, Australian Germaine Greer is not buying it.

She was horrified that Kate had severe morning sickness again and thinks the Duchess should quit while she’s ahead. “[KATE] is vomiting her guts up and shouldn’t have been made to go through all this again so soon,” she said.

“It’s not so much that she has to be a womb, but she has to be a mother. I would hope after this one she says, ‘That’s it. No more’.”

Greer does not think that Britain's royal family has digested her feminist classic The Female Eunuch.

“The ‘firm’ tell us that the first born will now become the monarch regardless of sex. Well, big fucking deal!”

A girl power take on this new royal sister, is not for Germaine.

Maybe the new princess will bond with her mother Kate over the whole messy business of royal birth.

Or maybe not.

In her lecture for the London Review of Books, Booker prize-winning novelist Hilary Mantel called the Duchess of Cambridge a "plastic princess born to breed… as painfully thin as anyone could wish, without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character… Her only point and purpose being to give birth."

Well, she’s done that now. Twice.

“Is monarchy a suitable institution for a grown-up nation? I don’t know,” said Mantel. “We are happy to allow monarchy to be an entertainment, in the same way that we license strip joints and lap-dancing clubs.”

However, the royal cloud could have a silver lining, she said.

“History makes fools of us, makes puppets of us, often enough. But it doesn’t have to repeat itself.”

So (as Joey Essex might say), happy birthday princess. Good luck with providing the "entertainment". If we had one, we might spend a silver penny wetting your head.

Anthea McTeirnan

Anthea McTeirnan

Anthea McTeirnan is an Irish Times journalist