Royalty: Rugby fan Prince William meets All Black captain Richie McCaw. Will the Royal Baby be raised on rugby?
By Alan Dymock
BEFORE BRITAIN goes into meltdown over the birth of the Royal Baby™, panicking about the sex of the little tyke and which quirky nickname the tabloids will splat on their pages there is something more important we have to consider.
Which international rugby team will the wee baby support?
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The infant will be born into a world of rugby. Fans have not witnessed a member of a royal family zipping about Twickenham since Prince Alexander Obolensky – the Russian royal harboured in the UK after Bolshevik revolution in 1917, later becoming a naturalised Brit – played on the wing with the red rose on his chest in the 30s. However, there are plenty of regal connections.
Firstly, father Prince William is a patron of the Welsh Rugby Union and has been known to frequent the Millennium Stadium. He has dragged wife Kate to watch the Welsh and although the ground will be too ear-blastingly loud to take an infant, there is a chance that a free ticket to Cardiff will most easily pass by the baby when it grows up.
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Of course Uncle Harry may have something to say about that, as he is patron for the RFU. He has toured the world watching games and is most likely to sing the praises of the sport whenever talk turns to pastimes. He would also have a ready ally in Mike Tindall, the former England centre being known to rock up to the odd gala event with the Windsors should wife Zara Phillips want it so. Of course, with Phillips and Tindall also expecting their first child there could be some swiftly arranged play dates and if the Tindall-Phillips have a big enough back garden there could be some oval ball action and some light indoctrination, gently sewing thoughts in favour of English rugby.
From left field, Princes Royal Anne may trumpet about the worth of visiting Murrayfield, being a long-standing supporter of Scotland herself. Of course, even as a member of the family, getting close to the little blighter will be tough, but maybe Wills would have a sympathetic ear on that front, warmed by fond memories of his time playing uni rugby in St. Andrews.
Of course, just as frenetic a tug-of-war will come when deciding which local side to support. Saracens is half-an-hour away from Kate and Wills’ Kensington Palace home, by limousine, while Harlequins is roughly the same in another direction, while London Irish play at Madejski Stadium, home of Reading FC (The Royals).
Tough call. Maybe the wee quarter-of-an-hour jaunt over to Rosslyn Park would be a much safer bet…