How much will the Royal baby be worth to the UK?
The idea of putting a price on a baby is horrible. Of course all children are priceless. However, the second child of William and Kate won't be like any other child: it will be part of the British establishment.
As such, as well as being an intrinsically valuable human being, this baby will also bring something financially rewarding to the UK. The question is just how much value can the spare heir bring?
The Centre for Retail Research says out that the birth of Prince George in 2013 boosted the economy by £247 million. The first £80 million was on celebrating the birth in the first few days, with a further £78 million on souvenirs and toys, and £89 million on books, DVDs and media. It added that the value of festivities would have been higher if the weather had been better.
It is predicting a similar sum will be spent on celebrations this time round, although because the birth of a second child has less impact in Royal circles (the spare heir will never be quite such a draw), around £25 million will be spent on souvenirs.
There's also the international interest the new baby could bring, and the potential boost to tourism. The British host of the American show, Last Week Tonight, recently joked that Royal babies are the only things the British make with any international value.
Brand Finance put higher figures on the value of the birth of a Royal baby. It estimated that George's birth earned the country £390 million, and that the new baby will make £300 million in the early days.
Long term value
Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the centre, says that the long-term value that the second Royal Baby will bring to the UK will depend partly on its gender. He claims that a girl could bring more value to the country in the long-term.
Distressingly the difference here is down to fashion. Royal women are seen more as clothes horses than the men, with women rushing out to buy fashions made popular by the more admired members of the Royal Family The idea is that mothers will dress their girls in clothes with royal associations, and when they get older, teenagers and adults will want to emulate the fashion style of the princess.
There will be those who hope that the second royal baby - whether it's male or female, will set high standards of achievement in other fields for people to emulate. They would be quite right that putting a value on a baby is depressing enough, without assuming that the greatest way they can add to that value is by wearing clothes.
However, the reality is that when Kate Middleton shows up anywhere in High Street fashions, the clothes fly off the shelves. And if those clothes have been made in the UK, and sold by a UK retailer, the economy will benefit.
But what do you think? Are you interested in the new Royal baby? Will you be buying anything to celebrate? Let us know in the comments.
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