The birth of a baby into a royal family has always generated global interest. It’s no different in our 24-hour news era.
So when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced the birth of their first-born today, it was fitting that the team at Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) quickly turned to Twitter to send out the word to well-wishers everywhere.
The first confirmation that a royal arrival was imminent came at 07.37am BST this morning when the couple’s official Twitter account @ClarenceHouse tweeted that the Duchess had been admitted to hospital.
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London in the early stages of labour.— Clarence House ( @ClarenceHouse) July 22, 2013
The scale of the global conversation was immediately apparent. Since that announcement, there have been more than two million mentions of the news on Twitter, with well-wishers gathering around hashtags including #RoyalBaby, #RoyalBabyBoy and #RoyalBabyWatch.
The peak in conversation on Twitter about the news came at 8.37pm in the minutes following the announcement of the baby’s birth, with more than 25,300 Tweets per minute.
As royal-watchers all over came together to share their excitement, the hashtag #RoyalBaby became the gathering place for messages of congratulations. Since the Duchess was admitted to hospital, that hashtag alone has been used more than 900,000 times on Twitter.
Whilst @ClarenceHouse was the official source of information on Twitter, eager photographer Jesal Parshotam (@therealjesal) staked a claim to being the first to break the #RoyalBaby news, sending this Tweet at 5.55am this morning:
Kate Middleton has gone into hospital… #royal #worldexclusive @IkonPictures #LindoWing #RoyalBaby #RoyalBabyWatch— Jesal Parshotam ( @therealjesal) July 22, 2013
After a long day, anticipation turned to celebration as a series of Tweets were sent by @ClarenceHouse at 8.35pm this evening announcing the safe delivery of a baby boy weighing 8lb 6oz at 4.24pm:
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24pm— Clarence House ( @ClarenceHouse) July 22, 2013
The baby weighs 8lbs 6oz.— Clarence House ( @ClarenceHouse) July 22, 2013
The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth.— Clarence House ( @ClarenceHouse) July 22, 2013
The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry & families have been told and are delighted.— Clarence House ( @ClarenceHouse) July 22, 2013
Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well and will remain in hospital overnight.— Clarence House ( @ClarenceHouse) July 22, 2013
Notice of the birth was also displayed on an easel outside Buckingham Palace, and that image was shared around the world on Twitter:
The royal birth notice revealed http://t.co/lBQ7Bca8Jh #royalbaby #royalcongrats pic.twitter.com/8iap6q706D— Daily Mail Online ( @MailOnline) July 22, 2013
And new great-grandparents the Queen and Prince Philip used their official Twitter account @BritishMonarchy to express their delight at the news:
The Queen and Prince Philip are delighted at the news of the birth of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s baby— TheBritishMonarchy ( @BritishMonarchy) July 22, 2013
Tweets celebrating the news were sent from across the globe, with the highest volumes of conversation coming from the USA, the UK, Canada, France and Italy. Once the news had become public, people from all walks of life tweeted their congratulations to the couple.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (@ABCJustin) sent his best wishes:
Delighted for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they welcome their baby boy. May God bless them all with love, health and happiness.— Justin Welby ( @ABCJustin) July 22, 2013
As did UK Prime Minister David Cameron (@David_Cameron):
I’m delighted for the Duke and Duchess now their son has been born. The whole country will celebrate. They’ll make wonderful parents.— David Cameron ( @David_Cameron) July 22, 2013
Pop star Cheryl Cole (@CherylCole) sent her congratulations via a Tweet:
Congratulations to William and Kate!! So happy they have a healthy baby and everyone is good. Can’t wait to see him now ? #Royalbaby— Cheryl Cole ( @CherylCole) July 22, 2013
Dalia Grybauskaitė (@Grybauskaite_LT), President of the Republic of Lithuania used Twitter to send his best wishes:
Congratulations to the Royal family! #Lithuania shares #UK‘s joy!— Dalia Grybauskaitė ( @Grybauskaite_LT) July 22, 2013
As did Stephen Harper (@pmharper), Prime Minister of Canada:
On behalf of all Cdns, I offer our heartfelt congratulations to the Royal Couple & the entire Royal Family http://t.co/YQNM9NMqAI #royalbaby— Stephen Harper ( @pmharper) July 22, 2013
And Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM), Prime Minister of Malta:
Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their son. #Malta rejoices with you. -JM #RoyalBaby— Joseph Muscat ( @JosephMuscat_JM) July 22, 2013
Lists are a great way to organise Twitter feeds into easily viewable categories. To be the first to see well-wishes from Twitter users around the globe, you can keep an eye on these lists of world leaders, UK MPs, Royal Correspondents and Royal Photographers.
Just one question remains: which names will the royal couple choose for their new arrival? Whenever that exciting bit is announced, be sure to follow @ClarenceHouse for more updates from the Royal Household.