Five companies shamelessly cashing in on the royal baby

The new prince isn't just Wills and Kate's little bundle of joy - he's providing plenty of opportunity for businesses. Here's MT's roll call of ignominy...

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 19 Nov 2013

1. Mothercare

Not content with just one product in celebration of little Prince Cambridge, troubled babywear retailer Mothercare has launched an entire range of royal baby-related merchandise, from maternity wear sporting the legend ‘Future Princess’, to the ‘Tommee Tipper Closer to Nature Royal Baby Gift Pack’ (available in ‘Prince’ and ‘Princess’ colours) and a HappyLand Royal Baby playset, which includes figurines of Wills, Kate, and the as-yet-unnamed prince.

To be fair, Mothercare could do with the extra cash: last week it posted results showing quarterly sales had dropped by 3.4%. Chief executive Simon Calver made no bones about the company cashing in.

‘I think there will be a feelgood factor and who knows, in nine months’ time there may even be a tick-up in the birth rate,’ he said. Who knows, Simon. Who knows…


2. Harrods

Now admittedly Harrods is beginning to look more and more like one of one of those shops on Oxford Street which sells tourists naff hoodies with ‘I Heart London’ written on them, only with a bit more gold leaf – so of course it couldn’t possibly miss out on the chance to cash in on the new royal arrival. At the moment, its royal baby range consists of a plate ‘lovingly made in England with elegant gold-tone decoration fitting for the birth of the heir to the throne’ and an equally attractive mug ‘with whimsical images of crowns, toys and prams fitting for the happy day’. Sounds pretty horrendous – but the plate has sold out. There’s no accounting for taste…

3. Ryanair

We’ve written about Ryanair chief exec Michael O’Leary being a soft touch before – now he’s at it again. So thrilled is O’Leary about the arrival of the new prince, he has advertised (under the banner ‘Ryanheir’, naturally) free travel for infants. Well, sort of: the ad said ‘Free infants Tues if prince… Tues & Wed if princess’. Presumably O’Leary’s sudden bout of generosity means the airline has had to cut costs elsewhere, ie on the number of letters it uses in its newspaper ads.

Then again, Ryanair is one of the few airlines that charges for infants to fly in the first place. Put like that, the offer rings rather hollow…

4. Brewin Dolphin

When a new baby comes along, it’s natural for its parents to start thinking about its future. Step forward, investment management and financial planning firm Brewin Dolphin, which casually suggested today that if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge really care about Windsor Junior’s future, they should invest £300 a month into a stakeholder pension, which would be worth £1,670,000 by the time the baby is 55 in 2068, buying a retirement income of £17,800 a year.

Who would help their Royal Highnesses select the financial products which will ensure the future king’s comfort in later life? We’re sure Brewin Dolphin would only be too happy to help…

5. Ladbrokes

If there’s one thing the Great British Public likes almost as much as the royal family, it’s gambling – and Ladbrokes is having a ball. Although the boy/girl race has already been decided, punters can still take a flutter on everything from hair colour to the first magazine to get picture rights (OK! is the favourite, at 5/2), which show the Royal Baby will appear in (Downton Abbey is 50/1) and what university it will go to (St Andrews is leading at 11/4, naturally). It even has odds of 33/1 that the new baby will represent Great Britain in the Olympics.

To be fair, Ladbrokes isn’t the only one cashing in: Paddy Power is taking bets on the colour Pippa Middleton will wear when she goes to visit her sister in hospital. We’re going with a nice shade of greige…

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime