Bemidji-based Brits reflect on royal baby's birth
BEMIDJI -- Thousands of people throughout the world this week celebrated the arrival of Britain's new prince, including a couple of Brits now living in Bemidji.
"I'm tremendously excited; I'm over the moon," said John Parsons of Bemidji, who in 2001 moved from Scotland to the United States "(The new baby is) third in line for the throne. This is significant."
Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, on Monday welcomed their new son into the world, the newborn weighing in at 8 pounds, 6 ounces.
"I was waiting with bated breath," said Parsons, born and raised in the United Kingdom, his mother English and his father Scottish. "I'm very excited for them."
William and Kate introduced the world to their still-unnamed son Tuesday outside of St. Mary's Hospital in London as they came down the same steps where William's late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, and father, Prince Charles, offered the world its first glances of Prince William 31 years ago.
The newborn's official title will be His Royal Highness Prince (name) of Cambridge, and be third in line for the British throne behind Charles and William.
"It is fun," said Lynn Karger of Bemidji, who in 1964 was 14 when she moved with her family from England to California and, in 1969, married Mardy Karger and moved to Bemidji. "I do think you have to remember that the British royalty is probably one of the greatest tourist attractions ... that we have."
Indeed, CNBC published an article this week reporting that, according to the U.K.'s Centre for Retail Research, the royal birth would boost retail sales by about $372 million between July 1 and Aug. 31, including $133 million spent on food and alcohol celebrating the child's birth and $239 million spent on memorabilia.
Parsons, who like Karger remains a British citizen, said he identifies himself as a Brit and very much loves and appreciates the British royalty, including, of course, Queen Elizabeth II, who meets weekly with Prime Minister David Cameron.
"(She) is wholly in touch with what is going on and that's what is remarkable about her in a very unique way," Parsons said. "She's just devoted."
As for the newborn, Parsons said he found it ironic that the baby turned out to be a boy after Parliament changed a law to end the tradition in which male heirs superseded female heirs, no matter who was born first.
As for a potential name for the new prince, Parsons declined to venture a guess, but said William and Kate seem rather traditional, noting that the royal couple declined to learn the baby's gender before birth.
"You could see that, even with their wedding ceremony," he said.