Mark Woods: Royal baby gets the best start in life

There’s been all sorts of little gems amongst the acres of royal baby coverage over the past 48 hours.

The sight of anchor men and women from around the world stretching a five-word statement into a five-hour piece to camera is wonderment enough alone of course, but that’s just the beginning. We’ve had golden easels, crimson town criers and big white moons which may or may not have been responsible for tipping her Royal Highness into labour.

We’ve had breathless economists telling us that the little boy will be worth hundreds of millions to our economy before he’s even out of nappies and miserly bookies giving us odds of just 500-1 that he’ll be named not George, not James but Hashtag. Historians, not wishing to be left out, have searched high and low for meaning to heap upon the July 22 birth date of the future monarch and have unearthed the fact that he shares his big day with Jimmy Hill and Bonnie Langford. The 8lb 6oz weight has also unsurprisingly been through the news mixer and we are told that the newborn is the heaviest royal baby in a century – a record that Zara Phillips would probably be not altogether unhappy to let stand.

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Heavens above, we’ve even had a paparazzi witnessing a global scoop as the royal couple attempted to sneak into hospital and not taking pictures of them. And yet, to my fatherly mind at least, one of the relatively minor details of this birth carries with it real significance and holds a mirror up to how much our world has changed in such a short space of time. That William was present at the birth of his son is unremarkable in the extreme today, with estimates putting upwards of 90 per cent of fathers in the delivery room nowadays. But just a generation or so ago that figure was reversed and Dads, whether they liked it or not, just weren’t welcome at the moment their children entered the world.

Whatever his name, however much he generates in merchandise sales, this little boy will benefit beyond measure from the fact that his father saw him arrive and was able to share that unforgettable happening with the two most important people in his life.