Pottery firms hope to cash in on Kate and William's royal baby
POTTERY firms across North Staffordshire are hoping to cash in following the news of Kate Middleton's pregnancy.
Buckingham Palace yesterday made the announcement that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their first child – 18 months after the Royal couple wed.
And the happy news left businesses in Stoke-on-Trent already planning ways to mark the occasion.
Betley designer Jan Constantine, owner of Jan Constantine Hand Embroidered Textiles, hopes to mirror the success of her Royal Wedding memorabilia, which included cake stands, mugs and cushions.
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She said: "We have no designs drawn up yet because we didn't think it would happen so quickly, but we do have some things in the pipeline.
"We are thinking along the lines of baby blankets and small cushions to mark this momentous occasion.
"Similar designs we did for the Royal Wedding and the Queen's Jubilee sold amazingly well, so we are hoping these will too."
Designers at Hanley-based Emma Bridgewater are drawing up plans for a celebratory mug.
Managing director Matthew Rice said: "Hooray for the Royal couple and best of luck for a bouncing baby prince or princess in 2013.
"This is just what the country needs and will as ever be a bonus for the pottery industry in Stoke-on-Trent."
Emma Bridgewater herself added: "We have been quite quick off the mark with this one. I'm sure it will be followed by another mug bearing the royal baby's name next year."
The royal couple announced the news after Prince William took his princess – who is not yet 12 weeks pregnant – to hospital after she fell ill with acute morning sickness.
The child will be the Queen's third great-grandchild.
Stoke-on-Trent Lord Mayor, Councillor Terry Crowe, has welcomed the news.
He said: "I would like to congratulate both William and Kate. It will be fantastic for them.
"And it will also have a positive effect on Stoke-on-Trent too because this city produces the world's best pottery and the best commemorative ware, and I am sure that our manufacturers will once again come out on top when it comes to celebrating this occasion."
Councillor Ian Lawson, chairman of Staffordshire County Council, said: "I have no doubt it is great news for North Staffordshire – especially pottery firms such as Churchill China, Dudson and Wedgwood, who I am sure will soon start designing commemorative ware as they did for the Royal Wedding and the Queen's Jubilee.
"It will be a welcome and much-needed boost to the Potteries' economy."