Kensington Palace is helping Prince George take over the world, one birthday at a time

Or: how Twitter helped a new generation become obsessed with the royals

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The Independent Online

Yesterday, ahead of his second birthday, Kensington Palace ‘teased’ a new photo of Prince George and the internet melted into a hysteric puddle.

In his two short years he’s only been seen a handful of times, but Prince George is already coming under the same kind of intense scrutiny the rest of the royals have endured their entire lives.

Because he’s not quite old enough to be falling out of nightclubs or holding his own press conferences, we don’t actually know very much about George.

Read more: Five attempts at presenting William and Kate as a relateable family that proved how different they really are

We don’t know his favourite colour, or if he thinks circles or squares are the best shape. We don’t even know what he thinks about the appeal to overturn the fox hunting ban.

Which might be why any mention of him in the news goes viral quicker than Jeremy Clarkson offending someone. People are desperate to know something, anything new about George so they can justify going gooey-eyed over him.

Kensington Palace’s official Twitter account has become the PR hub for the royals, and with George they’ve found a fine-tuned source of engagement. When they announced the new Mario Testino photo ahead of his second birthday, it got retweeted 8.5k times, compared to just 165 retweets given to Camilla on her birthday.

There’s a funny sort of paradox with the way the royals treat their children; giving them a ‘normal childhood’ is obviously intended to safeguard them from the intrusiveness of the press, but it almost works too well, with the end result being the media don't know a single thing about them so they start filling in the gaps (ie making a load of stuff up) instead.

The coverage George gets is vast, even for places who aren’t usually interested in the royal family.

US site The Daily Beast took a  break from covering the intricate web of tech, politics and culture to muse on George’s secret' life', in a piece that suggested he has an incognito wardrobe and even a different hairstyle he uses so he can blend in with regular children.

While Us Magazine ran a piece answering the age-old question ‘how does George perfect his coif?’ and discovering that he uses Dubble Trubble 2-in-1 Shampoo & Body Wash. Right. Glad that’s sorted.

Buzzfeed’s post covering Princess Charlotte’s christening, titled ‘Pictures Of Prince George Totally Stealing The Show At His Sister’s Christening’ included awe-struck captions like ‘his posing was exquisite’ and ‘look at that strut’, getting over a million views in doing so.

George has, like a lot of 'famous' offspring, become immortalised by internet culture, and Buzzfeed's knowing take on him purposefully hogging the limelight plays into that.

From planting a balsam poplar tree with Prince Charles (“They love to garden together!) to the conspiracy theory headlines (“George being cut from royal heritage by ‘commoner’ grandparents”) the media have every angle covered.

So thanks, Kensington Palace, for helping Prince George take over the world, one birthday at a time.