Exactly one year ago, the Royal Baby bravely maneuvered his way out of the Royal Birth Canal—today is Prince George of Cambridge’s first birthday.
I know this, because I love this baby. I love him. I’m normally pro-baby—I’m certainly not anti-baby—but I look at George’s pouty Winston Churchill face and feel inappropriately, irrationally attached, like I secretly birthed him and then was made to forget it by the powers that be in a convoluted Doctor Who subplot. I have no interest in I Wanna Marry Harry, but I’d seriously consider attending the casting call for I Wanna Kidnap Prince George, Rename Him Rusty Obama McFreedom, and Flee the Country, But Don’t Worry, I Would Never Actually Do This and There Is No Need to Pursue an Investigation, Interpol.
Let’s say you’re a celebrity journalist. When it comes to most stars, there’s no shortage of topics to cover: their controversial tweets and Instagram beefs and red carpet wardrobe malfunctions and sex lists and inexplicable lifestyle websites, to name just a few possible sources of inspiration. George, my very favorite celebrity, is inherently newsworthy by virtue of how wildly famous he is (those chubby, highly chompable cheeks don’t hurt, either), but he also happens to be a baby. He may be third in line for the British throne, but the Prince’s daily life isn’t exactly action-packed. Mostly, he poops, and looks at things. There’s a surreal delight to be found in following the sometimes bizarre headlines that result.
Here are 20 milestones that made His Royal Highness’ first year worth celebrating, some of which are distinctly more milestone-y than others. (George, when you’re 13 and grounded for talking back and come across this page after extensively Googling yourself to pass the time, know that a creepy American lady wishes you the best—and she won’t steal you, she promises, so you can tell Interpol that if they ask.)
He Was Maybe Going to Be Twins, But Then He Wasn’t
Early in her pregnancy, the Duchess of Cambridge was hospitalized with a form of severe morning sickness associated with mothers carrying twins and triplets. In reality, Prince George proved to be as spectacular as any three babies combined.
He Was Maybe Going to Be a Leo, But Then He Was a Cancer
George was born right on the cusp of Cancer and Leo, which—if you are the kind of person who cares about that sort of thing—is the sort of thing worth caring about.
He Was Maybe Going to Be Named James, But Then He Wasn’t
During the post-birth fervor leading up to the reveal of the Prince’s name, bookies set the odds for James at 2/1, with George a close second at 5/1. Before George was born, British gamblers bet that the baby would be a girl named Alexandra (7/4).
He Got Weird Gifts from Politicians
Though the Cambridges requested charitable donations in lieu of baby gifts, David Cameron sent a Roald Dahl box set (A+), Boris Johnson sent a personalized trike (A-), Nick Clegg sent a blanket made by Spanish nuns and a bag of coffee (B), and Ed Miliband sent an apple tree (C-, see me after class).
He Was Offered a Cameo Role on a Soap Opera
The producers of Coronation Street invited Kate, Wills, and George—whose grandpa Prince Charles once popped up on the show—to appear on their program, but the family graciously declined (because they’re goddamned royalty, that’s why, are you even being serious right now?).
He Became Fashion’s Tiniest Trendsetter
When Prince George wears something—be it a precious polo shirt or a double-precious nautical romper—it sells out. This is a fact of commerce; turn to the first page of your Econ textbook and you will find it there, emblazoned in gold leaf. Just as there are for his stylish mom, websites exist solely to source his each and every outfit. Kate could start lugging him around in a bucket full of lukewarm oatmeal and news of a global oat shortage would break within the hour.
He Crawled for the First Time While His Parents Were Away
Will and Kate are said to have missed their eight-month-old’s first crawl while on a baby-free vacation in the Maldives. As your hypothetical surrogate mother, I would never miss anything you do, George. Ever. You’d hate it.
He Got a Nanny Trained in Martial Arts and Stunt Driving
Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo can fell an assailant three times her size with only a fistful of diaper wipes. She can deftly maneuver a stroller across a tightrope strung slack between skyscrapers. Her sweat is baby oil, her tears formula. She is the Paul Bunyan of celebrity childcare.
He Had a Playdate With a Bunch of Commoner Babies and Made One Cry
Tagging along for his parents’ official tour of Australia and New Zealand, George’s first public engagement saw him rub roly-poly elbows with a carefully vetted, consciously diverse group of first-time Kiwi parents and their babies—one of whom did not appreciate it when he commandeered her toy, as is his divinely mandated right as future sovereign of the realm.
He Exhibited the Body Language of a Future King, Which, Okay
According to body language expert (yup, sure) Judi James, George’s (yup, sure) body language at this playdate predicts the triumph of his future reign. So, there’s that.
He Ate His Mom’s Hair
Left to my own devices, I probably wouldn’t eat human hair—but if forced to choose someone’s, anyone’s, to shove into my mouth, I would absolutely eat Kate Middleton’s hair. Her hair is beautiful, and quite possibly delicious and sustaining.
He Cuddled an Enormous (Toy) Wombat
George snuggled up to a giant plush wombat (his dad’s babyhood nickname), a present from Australia’s Governor-General. Among the many other gifts he received on the royal tour: a boat, a surfboard, a skateboard, and a cycling jersey. You know, normal baby stuff.
He Met a Bilby Also Named Prince George—Nope, Not a Coincidence
Prince George visited the Taronga Zoo in Sydney to meet a bilby (basically, an oversized mouse-rabbit that manages to be both cute and slightly unsettling) named in his honor. While we’re on the subject of cute yet slightly unsettling namesakes, a zoo in Moscow is home to three albino hedgehogs born the same day as Prince George Alexander Louis: George, Alexander, and Louis. They live in a miniature castle.
He Grew Some Teeth
At least three of them.
He Got Airbrushed by Us Weekly
How dare you? How dare you? Give me your Photoshop; it is mine now. Good thing the birthday boy—in his natural, unadorned glory—also landed the cover of August’s Vanity Fair.
He Had a Flower Named After Him
A new daffodil variety called the “Georgie Boy” was unveiled in the Prince’s honor at the 2014 Chelsea Flower Show. Eat your heart out, humans named Daisy, Rose, Lily, Violet, and Petunia.
He Kicked a Ball, Sort Of
As any student of the sport will tell you, at least half of soccer is adorably flailing your miniature baby feet in the general direction of the ball.
He Was Voted Best-Dressed Member of the Royal Family
Kate came in second, William in seventh. Sorry, olds.
He Earned His Very Own Professional Lookalike
Freddie Minnis is a cute baby, if not a cute baby who particularly resembles Prince George. But again, cute baby, so I’m not about to complain.
He Stumbled Around in Some Overalls and Pointed at a Butterfly
“Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah” is my best approximation of the noise that involuntarily emitted from my mouth when I first saw these photos. Are you a tiny train engineer, a tiny farmer, or just a tiny, generically blue-collar moppet?
Molly Fitzpatrick is a writer and editor. She likes New Jersey, cheeseburgers, and lonely pajama coffee.