The world went quite silly on Tuesday morning.

But nowhere did it go as silly as in delightfully bonkers Britain.

Patriotism, infatuation, adoration, devotion and splendid eccentricity all received full and open expression as the nation anticipated and then welcomed a new heir to its throne.

And as a little boy who so far has neither a given or a surname, but whose life is already largely pre-determined, came into the world, Britain turned an innocuous easel into one of the most compelling contraptions on the planet.

Perhaps because the official easel that would hold the official note that would tell the world of the official arrival of a child who, when he's about 60, might rule his green and pleasant land triumphed over social media.

The easel, and the dutiful monitoring of it, has been one of the more charmingly British curiosities to accompany the birth of the Prince of Cambridge.

But the lengthy lead-up to his arrival also captivated an international audience like no other story of the day, nudging aside news of Middle-East troubles and stuttering economies and prompting deposed Australian prime ministers to knit toy kangaroos.

It gave the ailing British economy a small boost, provided bookmakers with a licence to print money and granted trivia buffs a field day as newspapers around the world ran list-after-list of space-filling pap.

"Ten things you didn't know about royal babies", "Royal babies by numbers", "Key events in the royal relationship", "What we know so far about Kate's labour", and, for the true voyeurs, "Kate's pregnancy in pictures".

Royal baby trivia was accompanied by royal baby nonsense.

Amid the crisis created in a news media that has run out of things to say, the footballer David Beckham was consulted by one British newspaper on a suitable name for the new heir.

The ever-imaginative Beckham, who has a wife called Posh and children Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz, chose "David".

The extended wait for the royal arrival also inspired the irreverent.

As she waited for the royal labour to begin, Mia Freedman, founder of the Australian women's website Mamamia.com.au, and clearly someone who should know, tweeted: "A watched uterus never contracts."

Another, less tolerant twitterer blamed Oliver Cromwell for this and other infatuations with royal births, suggesting the English revolutionary and anti-royalist had "been given a simple job and ballsed it up".

Even the new baby's own great-grandmother seemed less-than-charitable about his delayed appearance.

"I hope it comes soon," the Queen told a young subject, "I'm going on holiday."

In Australia it was no different.

Every television network had a knowing presenter outside Buckingham Palace or the hospital reporting wisely on the same fluff.

While an avid local audience made it rate better than the cricket, the preoccupation with the royal birth has at times have been tedious and infuriating.

But it is the biggest story in the world this week.

Probably because it isn't bad news.

 

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