News Column

Royal Baby Welcomed by World Leaders

July 23, 2013

dpa correspondents

Leaders all over the world rushed Tuesday to congratulate the duke and duchess of Cambridge, as well as the rest of the British royal family, for the birth of a new heir to the throne of the House of Windsor.

"We wish them all the happiness and blessings parenthood brings," US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama said in a message to Kate and William, who have yet to announce a name for their son, who is now third in line to the British crown.

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed himself to Queen Elizabeth II, wishing good health to the newborn, his mother and all members of the royal family, according to the Interfax news agency.

In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said: "This is great news for the world as well as Britain. I would like to extend best wishes."

However, his comments were not widely reported. Royal births are a sensitive subject in Japan, since Princess Masako is widely believed to have suffered from depression due to her failure to have a son. She and Prince Naruhito have a daughter, who was born in 2001.

Congratulations also poured in from countries which used to be part of the British Empire and where the queen is still the head of state.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said he "shared the joy" of the royals, while opposition Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott, a staunch monarchist, said the newborn prince would "develop a deep affection for our country as we already have for him."

In New Zealand, more than 37 landmarks, including Auckland's Sky Tower, were due to be illuminated in blue to commemorate the birth. A 21-gun salute was fired from Wellington at midday (0000 GMT).

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said: "The arrival of the newest member of the Royal family, a future sovereign of Canada, is a highly anticipated moment for Canadians given the special and warm relationship that we share with our royal family."

However, the reaction in Canada's French-speaking Quebec province was more tepid. Nationalist premier Pauline Marois did not comment, while readers of local news websites poured scorn on their monarchist compatriots and media caught up in the royal baby frenzy.

"Finally she popped," was one comment on the Le Devoir newspaper. "At least they'll stop talking about it." Another reader added: "All this media hype about the birth of a baby is simply annoying."

In Europe, French President Francois Hollande noted that the future heir to the British throne was part of a dynasty that had developed "excellent relations" with France since the 1904 Entente Cordiale, which ended almost a millennium of on-again, off-again conflict between the two.

"The happy news of the birth of the prince has delighted the French people," Hollande wrote in a letter to William and Kate.


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## dpa-Contacts

- Reporting by: Levon Sevunts, Cheryl Norrie, Sid Astbury, Audreyanna Loguerre, Clare Byrne, Takehiko Kambayashi, Nikolaus von Twickel, Alvise Armellini - Editing by: Niels C Sorrells Tel: +49 30 2852 31472;

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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