It’s good to be a future king — as in Prince George of Cambridge, the toast of the world as he turns a year old on July 22. The adorable and adored third-in-line to the British throne is even more a focus of obsessive interest today than he was when he arrived on Planet Mania last year, to be met by a cheering, roaring, sweating mob of media people and a delighted royal family.
He’s the world’s most famous baby but he’s not the most photographed baby; Prince William and Duchess Kate are too protective for that. That’s why rare new pictures of him, at a butterfly exhibit at London’s Natural History Museum, released on Saturday and Monday to mark his birthday, were greeted with such fervor, at least in the media and among his many fans. But George is still high-profile, an historic baby even, who one day might reign as King George VII. “A lot of people are jokingly saying, ‘he’s my little nephew,’ ” says Christine OBrien, whose blog, What Would Kate Do, follows mother Catherine-and-child closely. “A lot of people have taken up a kind of friendship role with Will and Kate and feel they can be a part of George’s life, even if distantly.” Never mind trying to explain this phenomenon; just go with it.
George is “the world’s most eligible infant,” as Vanity Fair put it about their August cover star. His fashion sensibility is selling out baby goods everywhere, according to bloggers who track him (those Petit Bateau denim overalls he wore to the museum? All gone). He’s been showered with gifts, from a giant stuffed wombat and a mini sea-going boat to a first-ever $136 royal coin. Britain’s most elite private schools are already competing to nab him as a future student, Retailers invoke George’s name to flog all kinds of stuff, from the mundane (Tetley Tea is giving away a box of British tea to any American named George who posts his or her baby picture on the company’s Facebook wall by midnight Tuesday), to the most luxurious (George’s Silver Cross pram is hand-made with polished chrome chassis, hand-stitched fabrics, hand-painted detailing — and costs $2,750).
George’s baby duds — old-fashioned, expensive, classic British baby clothes like rompers, dungarees and baby booties — have got him named best-dressed royal by the U.K. baby website My1stYears.com. He’s even inspired a shift in baby retailing and buying in America, say OBrien and Lauren Greene, 25, and Christine Lairson, 22, two “very active members of the royal-watching community” in the USA. Their blog, PrinceGeorgePieces.com, took off soon after launching around the hugely successful Cambridge Down Under tour in April. “Americans are looking for a classy look so opposite of what they see today,” says Greene. “They think, ‘if I dress my baby like this, hopefully I can reach the classy level that Kate has.’ “
Greene and Lairson say American companies they work with are coming out with British-style baby stuff because of George, while their young-mom friends ask them about the Early Days baby shoes he wears, which are not only retro, they’re about $50. He’s a complete game-changer,” says Lairson. After he was seen wearing nautically-themed outfits, “he launched the nautical fashion trend…And his look is completely different from other celebrity babies — Blue Ivy is not going to come out wearing a smock romper with a Peter Pan collar.” What do we know about George’s personality? Not muchbut here and there Kate or Will have dropped hints when chatting with well-wishers on walkabout: He cried a lot in the beginning and doesn’t like vegetables unless they’re mashed up , Kate confided to a teen girl during a hospice visit in New Zealand in April. Lately, Will said last week during an engagement in Coventry, George is charging around and opening doors, and is a handful at bath time. In other words, he’s just like other babies. What do we know about George’s birthday plans? Not much more than speculation: -usatoday