From a room packed with “witnesses” to COVID-friendly procedures: These are the fascinating ways royal births have changed throughout the years

Back in the day, the royals had a very different way of tackling childbirth.
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Giving birth is arguably one of the most personal and life-changing occurrences to happen in a woman’s life, so you’d expect to have at least some say it how it all plays out.

That is, unless you’re a royal.

The United Kingdom’s oldest institution has long had a number of rules, regulations and protocols that royals are expected to live by, and that covers everything – from clothing styles, official titles and even perfecting the ‘Winsdor Wave‘.

It should come as no surprise then, that the event of child birth is seeped in royal tradition.

Giving birth to a future heir to the throne is no small production where the Windsors’ are concerned. (Image: Getty)

But like most things, traditions age, becoming tired and weathered, which does give rise to certain brave and bold royals to switch things up and push boundaries.

From home births to hospitals, official photo calls to entire teams of witnesses overseeing the delivery (yep, you read that right), the world has seen many fascinating traditions come and go.

Keep scrolling as we take a look back at the compelling ways royal births have changed throughout the years.


Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria, flanked here by her son Edward and grandson George, lived during a time when childbirth would take place at home (or as homely as a palace is!).

What’s more, a packed out room of witnesses would also attend the birth (as back up to swear there had been no foul play should the baby pass away). Ladies-in-waiting, midwives, servants and doctors would also make up the population of said birthing room, according to The Guardian.

But Victoria, known for her bold decision making, was about to change everything.


Queen Victoria 2

When it came to medicine, royals weren’t usually allowed anaesthetics. But Victoria wasn’t one to shy away from testing the rules. She was administered a form of drug called chloroform to lessen the pain when delivering Prince Leopold and Princess Beatrice, and she even went so far as to call the ensuing sensation as “blessed”!


Victoria II

And that wasn’t the only thing Victoria changed. Up until 1894, Ministers and Privy Counsellors were required to be present at of the birth of a royal heir. But Queen Victoria ruled that just the Home Secretary would be allowed as a witness – a tradition that continued right up until the birth of Prince Charles in 1948.


Princess Margaret

Home Secretaries were required to be present even for the birth of Princess Margaret, despite her being slightly further removed from the throne than that of Queen Elizabeth. The tradition was finally quashed in 1948 at the time of Prince Charles’ birth.


Elizabeth charles

The then Princess Elizabeth gave birth to Prince Charles not long before becoming Queen of England. Born at Buckingham Palace, Elizabeth was reportedly in labour for a whopping 30 hours, ending in a caesarean section.

Notably, Prince Phillip was not present at the time, instead it is understood he was playing squash in another part of the palace. But upon hearing of his first child’s birth, he ran up to where Elizabeth and Charles were, declaring his new son’s physique as similar to that of a “plum pudding”.

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“Never before seen footage of the Queen and Baby Charles playing”


Queen Elizabeth Andrew

Elizabeth opted for a ‘home birth’ for all four of her children, who arrived safely at Buckingham Palace. But that was all about to change for the next generation of royals…


Diana William 1982

When Charles and Princess Diana announced the arrival of their first child and future King of England, Prince William, the world watched with eagle eyes. Departing from the home birth tradition, Diana’s choice to give birth at St Mary’s Lindo Wing in London provided the ultimate spectacle.

It is understood that Princess Diana was induced for the birth of Prince William due to the widespread interest and scrutiny she was under.

Unlike his father, Prince Charles was present at the birth of his first son, describing the scenes outside the hospital as “berserk with excitement”.


Diana harry 1984

Two years later, the royal did it all again upon the arrival of Prince Harry. The second time she’d stepped outside the Lindo Wing with husband Prince Charles by her side and her baby swaddled in her arms, a new royal tradition was officially born – the royal baby photo call.


Kate George

In 2013, Duchess Catherine and Prince William followed in the late Princess’s footsteps, introducing their royal baby to the world at St Mary’s Lindo Wing, shortly followed by a photo call outside the front doors. Kate even wore a polka dot ensemble, much like the one Diana wore when introducing a young William.

During the birth, it is understood no less than 20 medical professionals were involved, including midwives, surgical staff, a paediatrician and anesthetists. No small production here!


Kate charlotte

Princess Charlotte’s birth in 2015 followed suit – although it was reported that Kate didn’t receive an epidural before welcoming her first daughter.

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Royal Baby Princess Whisked Off To Palace

Kate Louis

In 2018, Kate and Wills welcomed their third child, Prince Louis – and this time, they had the system so well down-pat that they were up and out of the Lindo Wing just hours after welcoming the new young Prince. (Image: Getty)


Harry Meghan

In 2019, it was Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s turn to welcome their first child to the world – baby Archie.

Interestingly, Meghan broke from tradition and chose The Portland Hospital in central London to welcome her first born. The birth was an exciting milestone for the Duke and Duchess, with Prince Harry revealing afterwards: “It’s been the most amazing experience I could ever have possibly imagined… How any women does… what they do is beyond comprehensible.”



On February 9, 2021, Princess Eugenie welcomed her own baby – a little boy – with husband Jack Brooksbank. Like Meghan, the royal opted to give birth at The Portland Hospital, which incidentally was where she herself was born 30 years prior.


baby hand

Despite the familiar location, the birth of Eugenie’s eldest son was completely different to all royal births combined. Welcomed within the thick of the UK’s strict COVID-19 lockdown, it’s likely Eugenie would have had very few people in the birthing unit. While it’s been confirmed husband Jack was present, it’s unlikely Eugenie and Jack’s parents will be able to meet their grandchild for a while to come as residents there are urged to remain isolated to their residential homes and avoid mixing.

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Duchess Meghan holds her baby bump

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