The News Letter has reported on 10 kings and queens since it was founded 280 years ago this month, in September 1737.
The first of those monarchs, the one who reigned when world’s oldest English language daily newspaper was launched, was George II. It was a time of gradually rising living standards and King George was the first king since 1066 to celebrate a 70th birthday (in the 1750s).
Early News Letters make coded references to the cool relationship between King George II and his son, the Prince of Wales (Frederick). They report on the birth of Frederick’s son, George, who became the ‘king who lost America,’ and his brother Edward. A surviving batch of News Letters from 1738 and 1739 cover the first birthday of the infant Prince George.
The echoes with today’s news on the royal family are striking.
The current Prince of Wales, Charles, has a much warmer relationship with his own father (the Duke of Edinburgh) than that early predecessor did, but even the latter father and son have had spats that have happened in the glare of the media.
Newspapers today report on a milestone in the life of Prince George, third in line to the throne – his first day at school.
All papers have recently been reporting on the 20th anniversary of the Princess of Wales, whose glittering but often troubled life was tragically cut short by a car accident in Paris.
Today’s News Letter also covers the first visit to Northern Ireland by Prince Harry, fifth in line to the throne.
The visits to the Province by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last year, and the duke’s younger brother yesterday gave an indication that the monarchy is in safe hands.
The Cambridges charmed crowds and listened to people with varied, and often difficult stories, as Prince Harry did yesterday. Watch on our website the three-minute video in which he says hello to everyone in a crowd of well-wishers in Belfast.
Earlier he talked to young people about mental health problems, about which he and Prince William have been candid when discussing the trauma of losing a mother as a boy – a more modern, open monarchy, that seems as popular as ever.