Royal baby watchers waiting outside St. Mary's Hospital in London yesterday likely thought the town crier announcing the birth of Prince William and Kate's son had an official seal of approval.
The truth is, he came "unannounced."
"I'm a royalist. I love the royal family," Tony Appleton said by telephone from Romford, where he acknowledged he had no official royal role.
Bell in one hand, scroll in the other, Appleton marked Monday's royal birth by belting out an old-timey proclamation, which began "Oyez, Oyez" and announced the arrival of "the firstborn 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 an 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.
That didn't stop him from playing a bizarre cameo role on leading U.S. newscasts in the media frenzy surrounding the baby's birth, nor did it prevent confused American journalists from identifying him as a bona fide mouthpiece for Buckingham Palace. News anchors with Fox News, CNN and MSNBC all mistakenly reported Appleton was making the official announcement of the birth.
Buckingham Palace did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Appleton is a man of many talents. 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. He also owns a small nursing home in Romford.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.