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Norfolk and Suffolk ‘to benefit from £5m Royal baby boom’

Senior footman Olivia Smith (left) and footman Heather McDonald place a notice on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in London to formally announce the birth of a baby boy to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at St Mary's Hospital. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Senior footman Olivia Smith (left) and footman Heather McDonald place a notice on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in London to formally announce the birth of a baby boy to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at St Mary's Hospital. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The latest member of the Cambridge family could provide a baby bump for the Norfolk and Suffolk economy thanks to celebratory spending.

Prince George in a courtyard at Kensington Palace, central London. Picture: TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge/PA WirePrince George in a courtyard at Kensington Palace, central London. Picture: TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge/PA Wire

While millions could be spent on mugs, plates and other memorabilia it is also estimated £1.1m will be spent by parents trying to follow the little prince’s style.

The Norwich-based Centre for Retail Research believes Prince William and Kate’s third child will bolster the Norfolk and Suffolk economy by £5.5m, helped by the region’s strong Royal links and 80% higher per head than the rest of the country.

Of that, £1.5m will be spent on souvenirs, £2.6m on celebrations, £400,000 on newspapers and books and £1.1m on infant goods.

Prof Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research, said the close timing of the birth and the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would see a greater joint effect, particularly with tourism and increased overseas interest.

After Prince George was pictured in a pair of Star-Rite shoes(pictured) at the weekend interest for the Norwich firm has been huge.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.After Prince George was pictured in a pair of Star-Rite shoes(pictured) at the weekend interest for the Norwich firm has been huge. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Among those hoping to get a slice of the spending boost are Norfolk China, which already has a series of mugs and tea towels prepared for the Royal wedding.

However, babies are not as predictable as nuptials – so the Horsford-based firm has had to wait to discover the gender of the baby before beginning to produce its range.

While he may still be wearing nappies, the clothes and toys the prince is seen with will become must-have items overnight.

But there will be plenty of competition from designers and manufacturers keen to have the youngest Cambridge pictured with their accessory – not that it will be easy.

Angeline Braidwood of Sleepy Nico. Picture: SUPPLIED.Angeline Braidwood of Sleepy Nico. Picture: SUPPLIED.

Emma Watson, who runs Norfolk-based children’s fashion firm Little Hotdog Watson, said she had sent some products to the Royals last summer but received a “nice letter” saying they could not accept gifts.

Angeline Braidwood, owner of Sudbury firm Sleepy Nico, has decided against sending samples of her baby slings to the Royal family after finding out they did not accept gifts, but says she may make another Royal connection.

“Most of our carriers are named after people we know and love or have special meanings,” she said.

“We are eagerly awaiting news of the royal birth and their given name, it may well suit one of our upcoming designs.”

The Prince George effect

Shoemaker Start-rite knows the impact of a Royal connection.

The Norwich firm saw demand for a pair of “first walking shoes” soar in December 2014 after they were worn by Prince George in a Christmas picture, with sales increasing 10-fold on the previous week.

The company, which has its headquarters on the Broadland Business Park, received requests from suppliers across the world for the £36 shoe.

The third-in-line to the throne was the latest member of the family to wear Start-rite shoes. It is estimated Royal children have been fitted for more than 1,500 pairs of the company’s shoes over its more than 220-year history.

In 1955, the firm was granted a Royal Warrant by the Queen as supplier to the Windsor children.

Later, in 1989, the Prince of Wales granted a second Royal Warrant from 1989 until 2003 with William and Harry said to be fans of the shoes.

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