News certainly travels fast in this social media world. No sooner had St James’ Palace announced that the Duke and Duchess were expecting their first child than Twitter, Facebook and the like were buzzing with the news.
The announcement drew congratulations from across the world, with the hashtag “royalbaby” trending globally on Twitter.
Elsewhere on the site #NameALegend and Prince William and Kate Middleton were trending within minutes of the news breaking. A Twitter account with the name @IAmRoyalBaby had 500 followers in less than five minutes.
Leading the congratulations was Prime Minister David Cameron who issued a Twitter message saying: “I’m delighted by the news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby. They will make wonderful parents.”
His rival Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “This is wonderful news for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The whole country will be thrilled. Justine and I offer Kate and William our warmest congratulations.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond was another to congratulate the couple via the microblogging service. Referring to them by their Scottish titles, he said: “My warmest congratulations and sincere best wishes to the Earl and Countess of Strathearn on this wonderful news. Everyone in Scotland will join me in wishing the couple the very best as they prepare for the birth of their first child.”
Some of the world’s most well-known businessmen also tweeted about the happy news. Best known for his “You’re Fired” catchphrase, Lord Alan Sugar showed his softer side, tweeting a message of congratulations, while Virgin boss Richard Branson said: “Congrats to Kate and Will on expecting your first child. The happiest day of your life to look forward to!”
And the world of celebrity certainly wasn’t going to be left out. Reality star Kim Kardashian said: “Awww so cute! Congrats!!!”
And Geordie singer and former X Factor judge Cheryl Cole was also one of the first celebrity tweeters, typing: “I’m sooooooo excited that we’re having a royal baby!!!! Congratulations to Kate and Wills!!!!!”
Olly Murs followed quickly, saying: “Cool #royalbaby that’s amazing news!!” and This Morning’s Phillip Schofield revealed his co-host Holly Willoughby predicted the news the previous week, typing: “Well done @hollywills. She guessed a week ago! Congratulations!”
Facebook pages were also immediately set up devoted to the happy couple and their baby news. Kate Middleton Baby said: “The news we have all be waiting for.” While Kate Middleton Baby News said: “If you’ve been counting down the days for news on the newest royal family member, you’ve come to the right place! Get the latest on Kate Middleton, Prince William, and their baby plans (and possibly baby-bump spottings) here.”
Already, speculation has started about the baby’s gender with observers talking about how if the royal youngster is a girl, it will be a historic time following changes to the 300-year-old law that would have excluded a first-born daughter from inheriting the throne.
Prolific tweeter Piers Morgan said: “Huge day for gender equality. If this royal baby’s a girl she will automatically inherit the Throne. Always been 1st born son before.”
And with messages continuing to flood in, the baby news will be setting the world of social media alight for some time to come.