Will and Kate’s pregnancy could give the monarchy a popularity bump in Canada

Matt Coutts
Daily Brew

Unless you spent Monday hiding under a rock — located a wide berth from the nearest hotspot —you have heard that Prince William and Kate Middleton are expecting their first child.

The news was confirmed by palace officials and lauded by ... yup, just about everyone inside and out of the Commonwealth.

Baby naming contests have sprung to life; gambling houses are taking bets on whether the heir will be a boy or a girl.

It's kind of a big deal, apparently.

In Canada, it is more than a big deal. It will have an impact on how we, the petulant nephew of the Commonwealth, view our station.

When Will wed the photogenic Kate last year, the monarchy's popularity flared in Canada. When the Queen visited the country in 2010, we swooned.

The impending birth, assuredly, will bring about similar thoughts.

A recent poll suggests only 39 per cent of Canadians viewed the monarchy as a point of pride.

But a poll done earlier this year, ahead of a visit by Prince Charles and Camilla, found 51 per cent of us want to maintain Canada's link to the monarchy. And that was during a visit by Charles and Camilla — the potato sacks of the Royal Family.

Pollsters are undoubtedly prying into how the latest news will affect our view of the monarchy. But our best guess is that adorable babies make for good publicity. There is a reason politicians venomously seek them out on the campaign trail, after all.

The National Post's editorial board valiantly weighed in on the news, wishing the royal couple a "heartfelt congratulations."

They also made this point:

The easiest time to measure the thinness of the world's professed cynicism toward the British monarchy is during moments of high celebration. People will tell pollsters they see no relevance in the Royal Family; that it is an unnecessary encumbrance, an anachronism that should have gone out with jousting and damsels in castles. Then some significant royal event comes along and everyone goes gaga.

If the Post's editorial board is bold enough to extend Will and Kate hearty congratulations, so are we. We welcome the eventual reign of our currently-unborn overlord.

Whoever the little mister or missus is, they will be the eventual successor to the throne and, as soon as the laws are updated, Canada's head of state.

The CBC reports that Canada's current legislation — as with other Commonwealth nations — have not been updated (on paper, anyway) to ensure that the line of succession is passed down to the first-born child, regardless of gender.

Britain is already moving to update their rules for succession to allow a first-born female to reign, regardless of whether she has a younger brother.

Andrew MacDougall, the prime minister's communications director, told CBC that Canada will need to introduce similar legislation in the House of Commons. He expects the change would be passed with ease.

In theory, should some Commonwealth countries not agree to change the rules of succession, allegiances could be split between an elder sister and a younger brother. The point is laid out in full in an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald.

All these issues are set aside should Will and Kate's first child be a son, of course, and we can get back to debating the merits of the monarchy in modern day Canada.

Merits aside, the monarchy's perception is about to get a baby bump.