1. Surgery at home
The Queen – then Princess Elizabeth – was born by Caesarean section in 1926. But the surgery took place in her grandparents’ home in Mayfair, rather than in a hospital.
2. The NHS
Lady Louise Windsor was the first of the Queen’s grandchildren to be born in an NHS hospital. She arrived prematurely following an emergency Caesarean after a seriously-ill eight months pregnant Countess of Wessex was rushed to Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey.
3. Natural births
The Duchess of Cambridge had a natural birth with all three of her children at the exclusive Lindo Wing – and a team of 23 medical staff were on hand in case of emergencies.
4. Kitchen delivery
The Duke of Edinburgh, then Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, was born on the kitchen table at his family home Mon Repos in Corfu.
5. Smuggled substitutes
Prince Charles’s birth in 1948 was the first time in centuries that there was not a government minister there to witness the arrival of a future heir to the throne. It was an age-old custom designed to ensure that no substitute baby had been smuggled in in a warming pan or similar receptacle.
6. The shadow side of marriage
Queen Victoria – who had nine offspring – used to refer to childbearing as “the shadow side of marriage” or “die Schattenseite”.
Her first babies were born before anaesthetics were available.
7. Battles over birth pain
Victoria used chloroform for later births, sniffing it from a handkerchief. When it was first pioneered, traditionalists opposed the drug, claiming labour pain was responsible for a woman’s love for her child, and sufferings during childbirth were a divine destiny. But Victoria refused to believe such a notion, and her support for the “blessed” method and its “soothing, quieting and delightful beyond measure” effect ensured its accepted use in society.
8. Induced births
The Princess of Wales was induced with Prince William, with Diana telling friends her baby was ready and “well cooked”. Her labour was difficult and she was continually sick, with doctors considering a Caesarean. Future king William was eventually born without a C-section after the princess was given an epidural.
9. Noisy crowds
After William arrived at the Lindo Wing in 1982, new father the Prince of Wales asked the rapturous crowds outside the hospital if they could make a little less noise.
10. Secret scans
In 1984, Diana knew Prince Harry was going to be a boy following a scan. But she did not tell husband Charles, fearing he wanted a girl, and kept the news secret throughout her pregnancy