Time stood still this week as it awaited the birth of the newest member of the British Royal Family and the next-in-line to the monarchy. Seemingly the entire world watched as Kate Middleton, the commoner-turned-Duchess of Cambridge, went into labor, was rushed to the hospital, gave birth to a baby boy, emerged in a hospital gown with baby in-hand alongside her husband Prince William and then finally introduced Prince George Alexander Louis to the world.
The drama was a bit overwhelming, with huge crowds flocking to London’s Buckingham Palace, UK bookies cashing in as Britons rushed to place bets on the baby’s name, and television, print and all other forms of social and online media crawling over one another to cover what became the most publicized and celebrated childbirth since the year 0 A.D.
Though the fanfare can be attributed somewhat to a generally slow news week, the real driver here was Americans’ unquenchable thirst for celebrity gossip – especially gossip that involves the British Royal Family, which is much juicier and more debonair than, say, the Kardashians.
Minnesotans who can’t get enough of this stuff had another opportunity to rejoice this week when the state’s de facto royal family, Joe Mauer and his wife, Maddie, gave birth to twin girls. I’ll let you think of your own cheesy, double entendre joke here.
While the Mauer twins haven’t generated quite the same level of public spectacle as Prince George, they do, in a way, conjure up the same warm and fuzzy, Cinderella-style storyline: an average commoner (Kate Middleton /Maddie Bisanz) falls in love with handsome royal (Prince William/Joe Mauer) while attending an elite school (St. Andrews/Cretin-Derham Hall). After then getting married and living happily ever after, the couples then give birth to the next generation that will inherit the kingdom, much to the delight of screaming admirers who, unfortunately, don’t have much of anything better to do.
The one advantage that Minnesota’s royals have over England in this instance is that we can expect a much quicker return on investment. The Mauer twins will likely be the most recognized female names in Minnesota sports 20 years from now. Indeed, the athletic department at the U is likely drafting scholarship offer letters for Emily and Maren as we speak.
Given the ever-lengthening life expectancy of British monarchs, and assuming he doesn’t die prematurely, young George will likely be well into his 70s by the time he becomes King George VII. He must first wait for Prince Charles – who has been the heir apparent for 60 years already and is basically the UK version of Bill Clinton, and his father Prince William, who is now 31, to take their turns as the world’s most famous figurehead.
After a couple of weeks, when the initial ooh-and-awe factor of his birth has worn off, we probably won’t hear much about George for 30 years or so until he gets married, and then after that only if he has an affair or does something similarly mind-numbing.
So let’s embrace the new Minnesota Royal Family while we have the opportunity, and hopefully they pay us back with lucrative sports dividends for us 20 years down the road.