First the royal baby, now comes the merchandise

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First the royal baby, now comes the merchandise

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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 on July 23. [REUTERS/NEWS1]

LONDON - 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 U.K.,” 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.”

The estimated benefit of the monarchy to the economy was worked out by valuing intangible assets such as tourism, merchandising, PR value and royalties.

“They haven’t put a foot wrong in anything they have done recently,” Haigh said. “I am neutral about the monarchy as an institution but if you look at the economics, it is almost irrefutable that they are going a good job in helping the British economy.”

Reuters
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