It’s no secret that the Royal family has its own set of protocols when it comes to children, marriage and how one conducts oneself in society, but not even birth escapes the weight of expectation that certain rules will be followed.
Prince William and Duchess Kate are expecting their third bub in April, and while it isn’t Kate’s first time in the royal birthing hot seat, there are some rather dated but important royal birthing traditions she is expected to follow, but hasn’t always adhered to.
It should be a home birth
It was traditionally the custom for all women in the Royal family to give birth at Buckingham Palace as the Queen did with all four of her children.
Princess Diana, who was well known for her reluctance to follow protocol, broke with this tradition by birthing both Prince William (in 1982) and Prince Harry (in 1984) at London’s St. Mary’s Hospital in the private Lindo Wing. The Princess chose to follow in the footsteps of her sister-in-law, Princess Anne, who gave birth to her children, Peter and Zara Phillips, in the same hospital wing before her.
These women paved the way for Kate to also buck tradition and give birth to the now four-year-old Prince George and two-year-old Princess Charlotte in the same hospital wing. But there are reports that Kate is expected to embrace tradition with the birth of her third baby and deliver at home in Kensington Palace.
Thankfully for Kate, not all of these traditions are still enforced, especially the practice of a ‘twilight birth’, which involved receiving a high dose of anaesthetic to allow your baby to be pulled out with forceps while you’re “asleep”.
The Queen has to be the first to know an heir has been born
Whenever a baby is born into the Royal family, the Queen must be the first to receive the news. She is the Queen after all. You definitely get to call in rank on this one.
When Kate and William’s first child, Prince George, was born, Prince William reportedly rang his grandmother on an encrypted phone to inform her of the happy news. But the pair did break protocol on one other important detail, announcing the birth via Twitter rather than the old school easel that has been traditionally placed outside Buckingham Palace to announce Royal births.
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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are pleased to share a new photograph of their family. The image features on Their Royal Highnesses' Christmas card this year. The photograph shows The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their two children at Kensington Palace. It was taken earlier this year by @chrisjacksongetty Their Royal Highnesses have also announced this morning that Princess Charlotte will attend the Willcocks Nursery School in London from January 2018. The Willcocks Nursery School has said: "We are delighted that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen the Willcocks Nursery School for Princess Charlotte. We look forward to welcoming Charlotte to our nursery in January."
The town crier alerts the public of the birth
We kind of love this one and it seems Kate and Will don’t get much of a say. Come April, the town crier will be heard roaming the streets of London announcing the birth of Kate and William’s third bub. The strange (and hilarious) tradition is a nod to medieval times when the public were mostly illiterate.
Tony Appleton is the professional town crier who announced the births of both Prince George and Princess Charlotte, so it’s looking likely that good old Tony (who’s now in his eighties) will get the gig once again. Tony isn’t actually employed by the Palace. He just shows up ringing his bell and shouting out all the big royal announcements, including Prince Harry’s recent engagement to Meaghan Markle.
Dads aren’t allowed to be present for the birth
Childbirth has traditionally been considered “women’s business” and fathers (including royal ones) were not permitted in the delivery room. Surprisingly it was the Queen herself who first broke with this tradition, with Prince Phillip being present at the birth of Prince Edward in 1964.
Prince William has been present at the births of his first two children and it seems likely he’ll forgo this rule once more to be with Kate at the birth of his third — even if he is currently still in denial about the baby’s pending arrival.
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Today The Duchess of Cambridge visited King’s College London and The Mother and Baby Unit at the Bethlem Royal Hospital to find out more about the challenges and issues surrounding maternal mental health. The Duchess received a briefing on work being done in perinatal research, spoke to professionals about how they support new mothers, and spent time with patients undergoing treatment. 📸PA
Secret midwives’ business
All midwives in attendance at a royal birth are under strict guidelines to not disclose any details about the birth. This is definitely one rule we wholeheartedly support. Kate is the only one who should get to share any and all intimate details about the birth of her children.
Kate reportedly had three midwives attend to her during the birth of Princess Charlotte, and she is likely to have the same number, if not more, present at her April birth. We’re sure they’re more than happy to keep their lips sealed. We imagine it would be quite the honour to be selected to welcome a royal baby into the world.
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