The relentless cut-and-thrust of electoral politics in the UK took a backstage on Saturday as the feel-good news filtered out of Kensington Palace that Kate Middleton had given birth to a girl, with ‘Alice’ or ‘Charlotte’ emerging as the most likely names.
A large scrum of international journalists gathered outside St Mary’s Hospital, where Kate was taken in the morning after experiencing labour pain. Prince George, the first born of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, was born in the same hospital on July 22, 2013.
Watch: Kate Middleton's baby girl is born with this special privilege
Campaign group Republic urged the media to keep a sense of perspective over the new arrival: "Around 2,200 babies are born in the UK every day - let's keep this in perspective and focus on the serious issues that hereditary power and privilege raise."
Kensington palace said in a statement: "Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge, was safely delivered of a daughter at 8.34am. The baby weighs 8lbs 3oz. The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth."
It added: “The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well."
As supporters of the royal family celebrated, Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour leader Ed Miliband, Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg and other leaders took time off electioneering to congratulate the royal couple.
After new rules to remove male bias in succession were introduced in March, the new member of the royal family will not be overtaken in the line of succession by any future younger brothers.