The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has given birth to a baby boy!
We just can’t get enough of the hype surrounding the newest member of the royal family, who made his first public appearance just a few short hours after his birth with his proud mom and dad.
The birth of a royal baby signifies hope for the future, and every detail of a royal baby’s development is closely monitored by the press as well as avid royalists.
To celebrate Kate and William’s new baby, here are 5 things you might not know about the birth of royal babies.
Where are royal babies born?
Historically it was unthinkable that a monarch – or indeed anyone of royal or aristocratic blood – should give birth in a public hospital, and nearly all births took place at home.
All the Queen’s labours were conducted from the Buhl Room at Buckingham Palace, except for Princess Anne, who was born at Clarence House.
The Buhl Room, a magnificent space with sweeping views of The Mall, where visiting heads of state are entertained, was converted into an operating theatre with the most up-to-date equipment and a huge team of experts on-call at all times.
Since suffering from an extreme form of morning sickness known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum, Kate’s antenatal health has been closely monitored at home at Kensington Palace, but Kate gave birth at St Mary’s again since she knows the hospital and staff so well by now.
Have royal dads always been be present for the birth of their babies?
In 1964, Prince Philip was by his wife’s side for the birth of Princess Anne – an unusual occurrence for a husband of the time (years earlier he was playing squash when the Queen was in labour with Charles).
Seeing the anxiety on the faces of the medical team, he tried to ease the tension. “It is a solemn thought that only a week ago General de Gaulle was having a bath in this very room,” he joked.
Can a royal have a C-Section?
While the Queen had a Ceasarean with Charles, it was never announced as such. And in the ensuing years nothing much has changed, with Kate’s medical team equally reticent to give any details of the birth of Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
It is thought, though, that Kate had natural births. A huge medical team was on standby at all times.
Did Kate require special care after her problems with morning sickness?
Professor Tiong Teoh, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at St Mary’s Hospital, revealed that both of the Duchess’s births in 2013 and 2015 had been very straightforward and no backup medical team was needed.
“The Duchess was very appreciative, and she admitted there were a lot more people behind the scenes than you would realise,” Teoh said.
After Kate left the hospital yesterday, Kensington Palace wrote on Instagram that “Their Royal Highnesses would like to thank all staff at the hospital for the care and treatment they have received.”
Will Kate breastfeed her new baby?
It is thought that Kate breastfed both her children. Because the infant Prince George was an exceptionally hungry little chap, Kate found it difficult to produce enough milk, and called on the assistance of Prince William’s former nanny, Jessie Webb.
She immediately added bottle feeds to the mix. Many mothers feel inadequate if they can’t produce enough milk, and Kate was no different. She was exhausted as well as frightened by the constant and frenetic media interest surrounding the birth.
Back in 1982, all the attention frightened Diana too. As soon as the chauffeur-driven car carrying her and her newborn son had rounded the corner away from the crowds outside the hospital – St Mary’s in Paddington – she burst into tears.