Royal baby worth his weight in gold to the Firm

Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:40pm EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - The Firm, as Britain's royal family calls itself, has a new asset.

With the world media in a frenzy over the birth of Prince William and his wife Kate's son, companies from airlines to champagne-makers have jumped on the chance to cash in on the wave of popularity sweeping over the royal family.

From royal potties to blue-cream-filled doughnuts to china commemorative plates, the range of merchandise celebrating the birth of the prince ranges from the obvious to the bizarre.

Economic forecasters have suggested the new prince could boost Britain's austerity-hit economy by as much as 520 million pounds ($780 million) in the short term as well-wishers buy souvenirs, celebrate his arrival, and buy baby products.

But the longer term impact of the latest good news from the House of Windsor is deemed more significant, with the rising popularity of the royals helping underpin the image of Britain abroad while brightening consumer sentiment in a tough economy.

Asset valuation agency Brand Finance said the monarchy was one of Britain's most valuable brands, run professionally like a firm and set to contribute an estimated 1.9 billion pounds to the British economy this year while costing 250 million pounds.

"Whether you agree or disagree with the constitutional principle, there is little doubt that the monarchy adds significant annual earnings and long term economic value to the UK," Brand Finance's Chief Executive David Haigh told Reuters.

"The latest Windsor will be an effective and lucrative ambassador for Brand Britain, making a significant contribution to the task of driving Britain out of the recession. There is a trend in favor of the royal family and they are clearly getting very good advice over marketing and communication."   Continued...

Models of Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and their newborn baby, are seen on sale in a Mothercare store, in central London July 23, 2013. REUTERS/Paul Hackett