Here ye, here ye ! It’s no easy task to steal the spotlight from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton, especially when the royal couple are in the midst of welcoming a newborn princess into the world. But there was one individual who momentarily captivated fans outside the St Mary’s hospital as they were eagerly waiting to meet Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana for the first time – the unofficial Town Crier, a.k.a. Tony Appleton.
Tony Appleton, 80, appointed himself the unofficial town crier
Wearing traditional red-and-white garb and several jaunty feathers in his cap, the 80-year-old toastmaster – who is the president of the Guild of International Millennium Town Criers – bellowed the announcement proclaiming the newborn’s arrival while ringing his bell loudly from the steps of the Lindo Wing on Saturday, May 2.
“Oyez, oyez (Hear ye)!” he roared before reading what appeared to be a birth announcement from a scroll. “On this day, the second of May, the year 2015, we welcome with humble duty, the second born of their royal highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.”
Some folks who had gathered outside the hospital quickly angled to get a selfie with the colourful royalist, while others were simply confused by his presence.
One bemused fan even yelled out, “Who is this bloke in the streets?”
From the 1500s until as late as the 20th century, the town crier was a mainstay in many British townships, employed by city council to make public announcements. Once the need for a town crier disappeared – thanks to modern technology – the position mostly passed into folklore, but that hasn't stopped Tony, a self-proclaimed traditionalist, from taking up the torch.
William and Kate welcomed Princess Charlotte on May 2, 2015
“That's why I had to come here today - to announce it. Not on Twitter! As British tradition suggests!" said Tony when asked when asked why he had assumed the role.
"I knew [George] was going to get a sister. A little princess, how wonderful!” he added. “England needs a little princess, especially with all this election nonsense! Knock all these politicians out of the way. Some happy news is what this world needs."
It’s not the first time that Tony has taken it upon himself to inform the public about a royal birth. He did the same performance when Prince George was born in July 2013.