Entertainment

Oyez, Oyez, Oyez: ‘Unofficial’ town crier joins royal baby tradition

Emilie Hanskamp, Special to CTVNews.ca
Published Saturday, April 14, 2018 7:00AM EDT

If you followed the birth of Princess Charlotte and Prince George, or tuned into any major news network during that time, you likely saw Anthony Appleton. Decked out in traditional garb, scroll in hand, announcing the births of the Duke and Duchess’ children, he was referred to as the official royal town crier by many major media outlets.

It turns out, this wasn’t entirely the truth.

Appleton doesn’t have any official ties to the Royal Family, nor is he summoned by the royals to make these announcements. He simply takes it upon himself to show up and break the news to gathering crowds of royalists.

“Anything the Royal Family does, I will announce,” he told CTVNews.ca

The tradition started in 2013, when Appleton made the trip to London for the birth of Prince George. He arrived in his traditional-looking attire, positioned himself in front of the crowd at St Mary’s hospital, and declared the birth for all to hear in town crier style. Media swarmed, fans snapped their photos, and Appleton was thrilled.

“I get a kick out of it,” he said.

News anchors from Fox News, MSNBC and CNN who were covering Prince George’s birth mistakenly acknowledged Appleton as the official town crier of London. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow later apologized for making a “royal error.”

It’s certainly understandable how one might assume Appleton’s official status. His striking uniform,  made by royal warrant holders GD Golding Tailors, took nine months to make. One of the most remarkable parts of the uniform,  Appleton points out, is the large badge on the back of the jacket. The badge cost £ 1,000 (CAD $1,800), and bears the names of Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Soon, there will be a third name to add.

“The Royal Family is a big part of my life,” he said.

These may be great lengths to go to, even for a self-proclaimed “royalist,” but not much about Appleton is typical. The soon-to-be 82-year-old swims 80 laps a day, owns a care home in Chelmsford, and works as a toastmaster for local weddings and ceremonies. He also bought the title of Lord of the Manor of Great Baddow, Essex, for £10, 000 (nearly CAD$18,000), which he says grants him access to the House of the Lords once a year.

Since his inaugural 2013 appearance, Appleton has returned for the birth of Princess Charlotte, and most recently to announce the engagementof Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Kensington Palace. He has garnered international attention and appreciation from media and royalists alike in the process, becoming a royal tradition that people have come to expect.

His efforts have not gone entirely unnoticed by the Royal Family either. He joined the crowds in London for the Queen’s 90th birthday celebration, and stopped Her Majesty in her tracks.

“She pointed to my badge and wanted to know what it was for.” It read: ‘Royalist Town Crier’.

While he does not pretend to operate in an official royal capacity, he does have a bone to pick with media outlets labelling him a “fake” town crier. He has, in fact, been a town crier for over 30 years, and is currently the official town crier for the town of Romford, just east of London.

Appleton’s unofficial duties will resume as the third royal baby’s due date approaches. After new parking restriction signs were erected outside of the Lindo Wing where the royal baby is expected to be born, he made the trip from Essex to London to scope out the scene, making the necessary preparations for his next royal birth announcement.

“The moment [the Duchess] goes into labor, we book into a hotel straight away.”

While social media will most certainly beat him to the punch this time, Appleton will be ready to make the announcement on the steps of the Lindo Wing maternity ward. The whole world will be watching.

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