Town Crier Tony Appleton is not an elected official, nor is he an appointed spokesman for Buckingham Palace. But as denizens of Britain’s former colonies gathered to watch the interminable unfurling of the Royal Baby proceedings, well, they couldn’t tell the difference.
Bell in one hand, scroll in the other, Tony Appleton marked Monday’s royal birth by belting out an old-timey proclamation which began “Oyez, Oyez” and announced the arrival of “the first born of their royal highness, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.”
Appleton is in fact a crier, but in Romford, a commuter town just east of London, and in Bury St. Edmunds, a market town in southeastern England — not Buckingham Palace. In interview, he said Wednesday that he simply showed up in costume after getting a tipoff from a British journalist that the Duchess of Cambridge, better known as Prince William’s wife Kate, had given birth.
“I’m a royalist. I love the royal family,” he said by telephone from Romford, but he acknowledged he had no official royal role. “I came unannounced.”
Appleton’s act was broadcast far and wide, beamed across the hemispheres by CNN and Fox News, which thought he looked officious enough to be the real deal. He wasn’t.
And what does a town crier do after announcing the birth of the Royal Baby™? Diversify, of course.
In addition to his town crier duties — which include leading parades and appearing at openings — he works as a toastmaster, a kind of master of ceremonies, at weddings, birthdays, and bar mitzvahs.
You’d be the Town Freier not to hire him.