The news that Prince William and Kate Middleton are expecting their first child could be a bigger boost to the monarchy than all the hoopla surrounding the couple’s royal wedding — and a change of subject from the mom-to-be’s topless debacle.
According to Buckingham Palace, Middleton was admitted to London’s King Edward VII Hospital on Monday with acute morning sickness, requiring supplementary nutrients and hydration.
The child, whose gender is not yet known, will be third in line for the throne after grandpa Prince Charles and dad Prince William.
The pregnancy comes only months after embarrassing topless photos of Middleton surfaced while she was sunbathing in France and six months after the monarchy celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, recognizing her 60th anniversary as monarch.
The announcement prompted a series of expected reactions from notable Brits.
“I'm delighted by the news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby,” said Prime Minister David Cameron. “They will make wonderful parents.”
“Fantastic news for Kate, William and the country,” said Cameron’s political opponent, Labor Party Leader Ed Miliband. “A royal baby is something the whole nation will celebrate.”
If the public’s embrace of last year's wedding between Prince William and Kate was any indication, Monday’s announcement of the pregnancy will likely further improve the royal family’s standing.
In recent years, an increasingly vocal segment of the British citizenry has become critical of the royal family, which some view as a tax burden. The royal family costs United Kingdom taxpayers more than $325 million in U.S. dollars, according to the British Republic Party.
A push for dissolution of the monarchy is being led by the Republic Party, which claims to have support from at least 20 percent of the nation’s populace.
“Our cause is simple: It's about democratic reform and a rejection of inherited power and privilege . . . A hereditary monarch has no place in a society that believes "we the people" should be in charge,” said Graham Smith, the current Chief Executive Officer of the British Republic Party.
Contempt for the British monarchy is shared by London Independent Columnist Johann Hari, writing for Huffington Post.
“Kids in Britain grow up knowing that we all bow and curtsey in front of a person simply because of their unearned, uninteresting bloodline,” said Hari. “This snobbery then subtly soaks out through the society, tweaking us to be deferential to unearned and talentless wealth, simply because it's there . . . Most British people are benignly indifferent to the wedding of William Windsor and Kate Middleton.”
Britain’s parliamentary democracy allows for a king or queen to be a constitutional monarch, but parliament, not the crown, enacts laws, approves taxes and debates the significant issues affecting the nation. The government is headed by the prime minister, who appoints ministers and the heads of government agencies.
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