At the Vintage Garden Tearoom in the Locke Street neighbourhood, members of the Hamilton chapter of the Red Hat Society are positively chuffed to bits with the impending birth of the Prince or Princess of Cambridge.
Monarchists and royal watchers across the world are waiting breathlessly for the arrival of the heir to the British throne and in Hamilton, perhaps nowhere is that interest greater than in one of this city's most British of cultural symbols, the venerable tearoom.
About a dozen members of the Red Hat Society's local chapter—-all women above a certain age and all in hats—gathered for tea and scones yesterday and the talk was all William and Kate and the baby.
Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are in London expecting the birth of their first child. The baby is reportedly four days overdue, and could arrive at any time.
'I sincerely hope it's a girl, and I hope that they choose Diana as her middle name'—Jan Lukas
The Red Hat Society, according to its website, is a global organization 'that connects, supports and encourages women in their pursuit of fun, friendship, freedom, fulfillment, and fitness,' with over 40,000 chapters worldwide.
Perhaps, then, it's no surprise as to whether the group prefers a future Prince or Princess.
"I hope it's a girl because I'm all for girl power…take a look at how outstanding queen Elizabeth was and Queen Victoria was. Women do have strong leadership skills, so I sincerely hope it's a girl, and I hope that they choose Diana as her middle name," said Jan Lukas, amidst the clink of china and oohs and aahs over lemon scones.
Lukas' friend Marg Korthuis, red hat tilted to the side, Kate Middleton-style, agrees.
"The latest hot news out of England is that it's going to be a boy, but I think it's going to be a girl. Girl power!"
Robert Finch, the Hamilton-based chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada, says that anticipation within his organization is at a fever pitch.
"It's exciting whenever the Royal Family is in the news, but there is something extra special about the birth of the future King or Queen of Canada," said Finch.
A recent Angus Reid poll showed that 40 per cent of Canadians would rather have an elected head of state, and 28 per cent would prefer to remain a monarchy. Over 75 per cent of respondents, however, have a favourable view of both William and Middleton.
This does not surprise Finch. He noted that he has seen an increased interest in all things Royal since Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton.
"The Queen commands respect and she's been a constant over the years, but the Royal marriage a couple of years ago and now the birth has really been an opportunity to rejuvenate and reach out to younger demographics. It's easier for younger Canadians to relate to and connect with William and Kate and the things they're going though," said Finch.
Back at the Vintage Garden, the owner of the tearoom, Leona DiCenzo, says that she isn't a "staunch monarchist," but she believes that the impending birth is "fantastic thing for everyone in Britain, and across the world."
And perhaps a pretty good thing for business, too.
"Since the royal wedding, a lot more people are celebrating with tea parties," said DiCenzo.