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Kate Effect: Royal Baby Boost for UK

Sleeping beauty: Princess Cambridge unaware of the commotion surrounding her birth at the Lindo Wing

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have continued to receive messages of congratulations and close family visitors to their Kensington Palace home in west London after the birth of their second child at the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital.

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The Prince of Wales and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, were early visitors to Kensington Palace to see his second grandchild. The duchess’ parents, Michael and Carole and her sister Pippa Middleton have also been to see the new baby. Kensington Palace said the Cambridges were “hugely grateful for the messages of congratulations they have received from people from all over the world”. A spokesperson announced on Twitter: “It means a great deal to them that so many people have celebrated the arrival of their new daughter.” Prince Harry who is on military duties in Australia said he couldn’t wait to meet his beautiful niece.

Kensington Palace has also asked new parents to post photographs of their newborns with the hashtag #WelcomeToTheFamily. Many well-wishers and press gathered outside the palace gates on Kensington High Street to wave at the arriving and departing royals. It is thought the Cambridges will make a getaway to their Norfolk country retreat, Anmer Hall to present the new princess to the Queen who is staying on her Sandringham estate.

Meanwhile economic analysts and tourism bosses are predicting a boost for the UK economy after the royal birth. Visit London has said the country could welcome up to 3m visitors because of the yet-to-be-named princess. Alice still remains the most favourite name bookies are predicting the princess will be called.

Kate Effect

As the Royal couple emerged from the Lindo wing we all got a peek of our new Princess. As I predicted, she was wrapped in a merino wool shawl – which now has an eight-week waiting list –  from one of my old suppliers when I had my Babye shops in Ealing and Chiswick. The shawl was from GH Hurt, one of the last remaining traditional lace-making factories in the UK, based in Nottingham.

The business is still family-run and has been supplying royal blankets for generations. The blankets and shawls are unique – they always have scalloped edges which are difficult to replicate with modern knitting techniques. A spokesman for the Duke and Duchess said: “Other Members of the Royal Family have been presented with these shawls in the past and Prince George and The Duke of Cambridge had a similar shawls when they were babies.

Post-baby: The princess snug in her shawl wrap, the duchess in a floral number, the GH Hurt factory and the merino wool shawl

We sold a version very similar to this but it also had a gorgeous teddy bear design in the middle. They offer lots colours from powder-pink to pale blue and lemon through to the traditional pure white the Cambridges chose. Our little princess was also wearing a gorgeous, hand-knitted bonnet-perfect for the blustery spring afternoon.

Royal connections

The £48 shawls have been used by three generations of newborn Windsors. Their first shawl produced in November 1948, was used during the birth of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s first child, Prince Charles. He and Princess Diana will continue the family tradition at the birth of his first son, Prince William in June 1982 who emerged from hospital cradled by his mother, swathed in a hand-finished GH Hurt shawl.


Royal tradition: Diana Princess of Wales and Prince Charles cradle newborn Prince William in the distinctive lace shawl

Gillian Taylor, the director of GH Hurt & Son, told MailOnline: “Overnight we have seen a dramatic increase in demand for this product from around the world. All of our customers were wonderful and patient. We had great feedback, that It’s a beautiful shawl and worth a short wait.”

A spokesperson from the company added: “We feel honoured that William and Kate have chosen to use our shawls and in doing so have continued a tradition for the next generation of royals. We all thought our shawl looked fabulous. They all looked fabulous. The new royal princess is delightful.”

The shawls are also a favourite of celebrities like the Beckhams who in 2011, wrapped their daughter Harper in a pink version. The shawls were also used for Prime Minister Tony Blair’s son Leo and Kate Winslet, Geri Halliwell, Jerry Hall, Anneka Rice and Jamie Oliver’s children.

I anticipate a resurgence of hand-knitted baby items (and an increase in wool sales!) just like granny used to make, and am sure that we will see our new Princess adorned in traditional clothing like smocked dresses and Mary-Jane booties in the months to come.

The couple also showed they preferred a product they’ve tried and tested choosing the same baby carrier – the Britax Baby-Safe – they used when Prince George was born in 2013. Brand director of Britax Amy Voller said: “We are absolutely delighted to see that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen to use a Britax Baby-Safe infant carrier again for their second precious newborn.

“Having previously used our infant carrier with little Prince George, it’s wonderful to know we have their seal of approval following a great experience the first time round.

“We’ve been producing award-winning safety products for children since 1970s and have a longstanding British heritage, so it’s an honour to see the Royal family use our products. We wish the Duke and Duchess – and of course Prince George – all the very best in welcoming their beautiful new daughter and little sister home.”

Oh, and the mother wore her favourite designer, Mayfair-based Jenny Packham opting for a mellow-yellow floral long-sleeve dress, which will probably now be out of stock.


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