As dozens of journalists trained their lenses on a set of firmly shut double doors, waiting for a glimpse of Britain’s new baby princess, a man in an outlandish costume stepped in to capture the world’s attention. Yahoo News reports:
And it wasn’t for the first time. Town crier Tony Appleton took to the steps Saturday outside London’s St. Mary’s Hospital to loudly proclaim the birth of Britain’s newest royal member, a baby girl born to the Duchess of Cambridge.
But contrary to what some may believe, Appleton was no royal messenger. He says he’s simply a royalist and president of the Guild of International Millennium Town Criers, which is not affiliated with Britain’s royal family.
“Oyez, oyez (Hear ye)!” he yelled before reading a birth announcement from a scroll. His booming voice, ringing bell and colorful costume was watched by TV viewers around the world. “I feel so proud, because I’m a real top royalist. I love the royal family,” he said. “They’re the best emissaries for our country. They make us so much money, they do so much for tourism.” Appleton also made the same performance after the birth of the princess’s elder brother, Prince George, in 2013.
While he isn’t an official emissary, he certainly added a sense of drama and pomp to the occasion. Town criers, also called bellmen, historically played the role of news announcers in English towns. Some still carry out the role informally, while others compete for loudest town crier titles in championships around the world.