Tell world, take day off: Royal birth notices

AP News
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Posted: Dec 11, 2014 10:12 AM
Tell world, take day off: Royal birth notices

PARIS (AP) — Each newborn got 21 cannon shots, the bells tolled for 15 minutes and the air filled with the sound of boat horns when Monaco's royal twins were born. And everyone in the tiny principality gets a day off to celebrate.

"I wish to share this moment of happiness with the Monegasque people and more widely with all my country's residents," new father Prince Albert II said Thursday.

Riffing off prior Monegasque ritual, Albert set the ground rules for how Monaco announced the news that Princess Charlene gave birth Wednesday to little Gabriella and Jacques. Here how other royal monarchies orchestrate the presentation of heirs to the throne:

GREAT BRITAIN

In the case of latest arrival Prince George in 2013, a palace messenger traveled by car from the hospital to Buckingham Palace, carrying a piece of paper detailing gender, weight and time of birth. The news was posted on a wooden easel on the palace's forecourt.

Officials also posted the news on Twitter to millions of followers worldwide.

The royal family can't always control the message: Just after George's birth, a rogue town crier appeared in front of the hospital, announcing the birth.

JAPAN

In Japan, the Imperial Household Agency announces a royal birth through a news conference.

On the day of the birth, the emperor sends a sword, wrapped in a red cloth and kept in a box, to be placed at the baby's bedside. A baby girl receives a traditional "hakama" skirt in purple, a noble color.

There is a bathing ceremony on the seventh day from birth, followed by a naming ritual.

On the 120th day or later, the baby is made to pretend to eat red-bean porridge using chopsticks, in a ritual to wish that the child will be well-fed throughout life.

JORDAN

Jordan's Prince Feisal al-Hussein, a brother of King Abdullah II, said the court simply puts out an announcement of a birth in the family.

"We don't fire guns or celebrate in that way," he told The Associated Press. "Although we don't have a large royal family, I think we believe in just being calm and straightforward and announcing it through the press."

GULF COUNTRIES

Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also prime minister and vice president of the United Arab Emirates, tweeted to announce the 2012 birth of his second child with one of his wives, Princess Haya bint Al Hussein of Jordan.

Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of the neighboring emirate of Abu Dhabi, the UAE's capital, last year used Instagram to introduce twin newborn grandchildren Mohammed and Salama, wrapped in blue and pink blankets respectively.

In Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah and monarchs before him have not traditionally announced royal births. It may be partly a practical matter: According to various local media reports, King Abdullah had 36 children, 20 of them female and 16 of them male.

SCANDINAVIA

Norway, Denmark and Sweden all celebrate with 21-gun salutes. In Sweden, the Marshall of the Real informs the country's political leadership of the birth. These days the announcement is also made on the Royal Court's web and Facebook pages.

The 21-gun salute can be traced back to the 14th century. Then, according to the U.S. military, warships fired seven-gun salutes likely as a nod to the lucky number 7. Land batteries could fire three guns for every cannon fired at sea, and speculation is that the combination of a lucky 3 and a lucky 7 was especially favorable.

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Follow Lori Hinnant at: https://twitter.com/lhinnant

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Associated Press writers Danica Kirka in London, Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo, Adam Schreck in Dubai, Karin Laub in Amman, Jordan, and Karl Ritter in Stockholm, Sweden, contributed.

(An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that bonfires are lit to celebrate newborn royals in Denmark.)