#RoyalBaby

The Royal Baby, the Prince of Cambridge, Kate and William’s son, the future King… this child has been given more names (and had more photos taken of him) in the first 24 hours of his life than any other baby in modern times – before finally being named George. No-one is indifferent to the birth of our future Monarch, whether you are a fan of the royals or not.

It’s estimated that Prince George of Cambridge will boost our economy by prompting $240 MILLION on spending – this is broken down into these estimated figures: £87 million on celebrations and party supplies, £80 million on merchandise and £76 million on media including books, DVDs, magazines, and newspapers. (http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/07/23/royal-baby-economy-boost_n_3638066.html?utm_hp_ref=uk).

A huge amount of that spending is on merchandise but what kind of merchandise has this landmark birth actually prompted? Is this design that will last through the decades and truly represent the significance of this great occasion for Great Britain? Most probably not if you’ve seen any of it.

So have a peruse over the crème de la crème of Royal Baby memorabilia and decide for yourself whether you’ll be contributing to that £80 million figure or sticking with a trusty bottle of champagne.

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How about a Lego version of the couple? Created by a couple who are renowned for their bespoke designs, this isn’t the worst idea in the world but would you pay £30 just for two and a half tiny figurines?

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Scoot over to eBay and you’ll find homemade versions of the couple plus Great Granny, slightly more special given the handmade element but still not sure where you’d put them.

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And if you’d like to pretend that your own newborn is actually the heir to the British throne then there are a multitude of products to choose from, not least of which is this dummy above. Personally if I had a child I’d want them to grow up with their own identity intact. See more wannabe Royal Baby products below.

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Aside from all this, the Royal birth has prompted some more entertaining responses from the world of social media, most notably this, which has been doing the rounds on Tumblr.

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And Twitter spoke of little else with Royal baby mentions reaching 25,000 tweets per minute post-birth announcement; whereas the #royalbaby has been used 900,000 times (this figure is still rising). Some Tweets were serious, some not so… here are a few of the latter for your entertainment.

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And finally… COME ON Britain, really?!

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In other news, brands churned out some clever copy as fast as possible to make their ads culturally relevant for the day:

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But it hasn’t all been as tacky as (some of) these; we live in an age where the birth of a VIP has been saved from every possible angle in HD, thousands of articles have been published and will be forever available online at the click of a mouse and praise has come in thick and fast for the Royal couple who have shown from their behaviour that royalty doesn’t have to be a thousand miles from real life. So congratulations to Wills and Kate and welcome to Prince George!

Maggie – one of a few notable female icons of our age

If you’ve listened to the radio, turned on the TV or tuned into any type of social media or online news feed then you will know that today is the day that Margaret Thatcher died.

Now I’m no politician, nor am I a historian, so I know very little about her politics or her time in office but after today I have come to the conclusion that she is rather like Marmite, people either love or hate her. This post isn’t concentrating on that though because I, unlike many people whose opinions I’ve seen today, don’t think it’s fair to comment when I don’t know the facts. As for those who don’t know who she is… I have nothing to say to you.

I’ve noticed that today has unearthed hundreds and hundreds of images of ‘the Iron Lady’, but there are a few that keep appearing again and again. Photos that will, undoubtedly, become the ones that stand the test of time and be brought up when she is spoken about in ten, twenty or fifty years time. The photos in question are a mix of official and non-official photographs that show her professional front as Britain’s first woman prime minister and reflect her personal life, which was predictably well documented from the time she left Downing Street in 1990 to her death today, 8th April 2013.

We are a society who are obsessed with the photography of those who we deem to be ‘celebrities’. Celebrity culture is something that is far too complex to explain today but most people would understand the term without having a clear definition – it is the lifeblood of countless magazines, newspaper columns and gossip blogs – and it has fathered an interesting breed, the paparazzi.
These are the journalists who are not interested in quality stories and reporting honest facts but with photographs of those in the public eye; they try to capture every possible moment in the hope that something controversial will happen which will earn them the big bucks. And these are the kind of people who capture our female icons today. 

The first image which has stood out has been the one taken outside number 10 Downing Street when she first became Prime Minister in 1979, she is pictured with her husband Denis.
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Relations with the USA were built up by Thatcher throughout her time in office and her friendship with Ronald Reagan, the President at the time, was another element of her career which has been documented by photography; she is pictured here in Washington, November 16th 1988.
Imageand of course the day wouldn’t be complete without a photo of a tearful Thatcher leaving Downing Street in 1990 when she was defeated by the Conservative Party and replaced by John Major

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After this photograph there are countless others documenting her as she grows older and her health slowly starts to fail but it is interesting that the three above are those which keep reappearing. It made me think about other female icons of our time, not the trashy celebrities like the Kardashians and the cast of The Only Way is Essex but women  like Princess Diana and Kate Middleton (or her lesser used title, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge) who is arguably the most photographed woman in the world at the moment.

I was very young when Diana died and my interest in her funeral was largely based, as a five year old, on indignation that children’s tv programmes weren’t on for a week. However as I have grown older and especially with the speculation around Kate’s marriage to William, I have come to realise how iconic a woman she was. Again it was interesting to see which photos of her were brought up around the time of the royal wedding by those analysing whether William’s marriage would be affected by that of his parent’s.
As far as I can tell Diana’s iconic photos show three particular perspectives on her life. Diana the princess turned royal embarrassment, Diana the mother and Diana the style icon.
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If we thought Diana was photographed a lot, Kate has had it even worse. Even before she became royalty she was hounded by the press for being William’s girlfriend and is pictured here trying to escape the constant media attention on her 25th birthday.
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Of course this is not an iconic image, merely a demonstration of how the paps get their best shots. Her first iconic photo could be said to be the moment William first noticed her on the catwalk for a fashion show at St Andrews University but their first official photo has to be on the announcement of their engagement in November 2010 (the dress she wore sold out within 24 hours and started a ‘little blue dress’ trend)
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and then it would have to be their wedding and the infamous ‘balcony scene’ which was hailed as much more of a success than Diana and Charles’ forced kiss on their wedding day many years before

Kate has already followed in Diana’s footsteps as a style icon, at every official engagement she is photographed and her outfit scrutinised, especially now she is pregnant. There will always be the unofficial photos of course, many of which have caused scandals at the Palace over media intrusion on private holidays that the couple have embarked on, but these will be the photos that will be brought out in years to come and mark the lives of those iconic women in the media spotlight.