|FLASHBACK: Reagan Celebrates Royal Baby|
|By DEVIN DWYER (@devindwyer)||Jul 22, 2013, 3:24 PM|
Thirty-one years ago last month, in the White House backyard, an American president and British prime minister celebrated the arrival of a royal baby and heir to the throne, who is now a new father.
"The Prime Minister has come to us at a particularly auspicious moment: the birth of an heir to the throne of the United Kingdom," President Ronald Reagan said outside the Oval Office on June 23, 1982.
"We have every hope that she will carry back to London our fondest good wishes, those of the American people, Nancy and myself, to their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, and to their little son," he said.
That son is, of course, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, who was born two days earlier on June 21. Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who stood by his side, had just concluded their fourth bilateral summit in as many weeks.
Thatcher said the occasion of a royal birth is one with which many Americans understandably identify.
"It does indicate the great continuity that there is in Britain, the tremendous patriotism which one gets in almost all countries, but it's a patriotism in a way of the kind we have here in the States as well," she said.
"Not only love of your country because you belong to it, but because it stands for certain things. And it's those that makes you patriotic," said Thatcher.
The royal birth and the patriotism it instilled came just days after the end of the Falklands War between the U.K. and Argentina and as violence was escalating in a conflict between Israel and Lebanon.
"I will, of course, take back your very warm message to our people, and I'm certain they'll be delighted with your good wishes," the prime minister told Reagan.
President and Nancy Reagan later presented the infant Prince William with an official gift from the nation: a child-size Chippendale corner chair with needlepoint seat that was custom-made in North Carolina.
Asked today what President and Michelle Obama might present as a gift to William's firstborn, White House spokesman Jay Carney said he has "no insight" into what that might be.
"I would tell you that, like so many Americans, the president and first lady and the entire first family ... wait with anticipation for the birth of the duke and duchess' child and wish the family and all of great Britain well on this pending momentous occasion," Carney said.