Nothing gets people talking like the birth of a new royal baby. And we've been treated to quite a few in the last few years. In 2015, Prince George was born, and Princess Charlotte followed not long afterwards. And now, we're barely a month away from Kate's expected third child. Prince William must be thrilled. And the rest of the world is looking on with unrivaled interest. The royal family is always the subject of much gossip, but it gets truly escalated whenever pregnancy and children are the main talking points. It becomes a worldwide sensation and people love to hear about the pregnancies of the royal family members.
But have you ever wondered what it's like being a pregnant royal? How do their lives differ from the pregnancy experiences of normal women? The royal family is governed by all kinds of strange rules and traditions, and some of these do govern pregnancies. Some of these traditions might seem a little outdated, but it's very hard to break from tradition if you're a member of the royal family. Some of the trends and rules are actually pretty modern, and they've only been followed for the last few years. Do you think you could follow these wacky royal pregnancy rules? Or would you rather just stick to being a "common" mother?
15 The Post-Birth Outfit Is Chosen Carefully
When it comes to the royal family, appearances are everything. Every little detail is scrutinized and perfected by the family's advisers. Whenever a royal family member makes a public appearance, you can bet that a great deal of time and effort went into their outfit and their general appearance. You can see signs of this everywhere, but you have to know where to look. With current royal mothers, this trend is more alive than ever.
Do you remember the time when Kate Middleton and Princess William emerged from the hospital after giving birth to King George? Well, it turns out that her post-pregnancy dress was carefully chosen beforehand. This is a rule that all royal mothers must follow. They must adhere to the careful choices of the royal family when it comes to their attire. In the case of Kate Middleton, she wore a blue polka dot dress that was very similar to the one that Princess Diana wore after she gave birth. She was also applauded for showing off her post-pregnancy belly.
14 Midwives Are Present - And They're All Sworn To Secrecy
The traditions of royal births go back many hundreds of years. Obviously, the first royal births predated modern medicine. This was a time when childbirth was much more risky, and we didn't have the same knowledge and skills that we have today. However, midwives have always been present at royal births, and these are specially trained individuals who have been helping the royal family with births for centuries. Today, these midwives still play a major role.
If you're going to have a royal birth, it's expected that you must have royal midwives by your side. It's been the same for every other royal birth in history, and that tradition isn't changing any time soon. In the case of Kate Middleton, doctors were present and involved, but the royal midwives never left her side. In fact, Kate was so thankful for the midwives that she reportedly grew close to them, as they helped her through her short labor with Princess Charlotte.
13 When The Baby Is Born A 62 Gun Salute Is Fired Off From The Tower Of London
Another strange rule that accompanies the birth of royal children involves an age-old military tradition. At the moment a royal baby is born, it's announced to the whole of London by a whopping 62 gun salute from the tower of London. It's seen as a sign of pride that the entire nation can enjoy, but it's also a sign of respect to the monarchs. It may seem a bit pompous, but the tradition is so old that it just won't be changed any time soon.
In addition to the 62 gun salute, there's also a 41-gun salute that is fired from Hyde park in Wellington Barracks, near Buckingham Palace. If that doesn't wake the Queen up, we're not sure what will! The royal family's ties with the military are very well-known, and this is just another example of that. Technically, gun salutes are meant to be for Royal visits. But when you think about it, a royal baby is visiting... for the very first time!
12 The Royal Baby Is Usually Given Three To Four First Names
One of the most interesting parts of having a child is naming them. And this is certainly no different in the case of royal babies. But when it comes to naming children, the royal family have a slightly different approach than most. The average person has a first name, and maybe a middle name. But the Royal family isn't satisfied with just that. Oh, no. Royals are typically giving 3 to four first names! While this might seem like a lot, remember that royals technically don't have last names. So perhaps this is their way of making up for their lack of a surname...
For example, Prince George has three names: George Alexander Louis. Princess Charlotte also has three: Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. But their father, Prince William, has a whopping four names: William Arthur Phillip Louis, as does his brother Harry, whose full name is Henry Charles Albert David. That's right, Harry isn't his real name – it's Henry.
11 The Birth Is Announced By A Town Crier
Hear Ye! Hear Ye! A Royal child has been born! Okay, that might not be exactly what this guy sounds like, but you get the picture. Royal Families do in fact use (unofficial) town criers to announce the birth of a royal baby to the world. Obviously a 61 gun salute just wasn't enough. The current town crier is a man by the name of Tony Appleton, and he has announced the births of both Prince George and Prince Charlotte.
This practice, like many other traditions surrounding the birth of royals, is very old. It originated in the Medieval times, when people could not read or write. The only way to spread news, in many cases, was by word of mouth. Even though we have internet and newspapers today, it really makes you wonder... Wouldn't it be cool if we still had town criers? It seems like a tradition that really should definitely make a comeback...
10 The Queen Must Be The First To Know About The Birth
There's no doubt who the boss is as far as the royal family goes - Queen Elizabeth. She herself has been a royal mother, and now she's the proud great grandmother of more than a few children. Royals are expected to consult the queen on all big decisions. Notable examples are marriages. Royal family members must get the queen's permission to marry the brides of their choice. And when royal births occur, there are even more traditions...
Another rule surrounding the birth of a royal is that the queen must be the first person to be notified. Royal protocol states that the royal family member who is the parent of the child must immediately call the Queen on a special encrypted telephone. This is exactly what happened with the birth of Prince George and Princess Charlotte, and it will continue to happen for every other royal child born in the future.
9 Royal Mothers Are Expected To Breastfeed
Breastfeeding is a decision that every mother must make on her own. Many people shame women who don't breastfeed their children, but one must remember that mothers are perfectly within their rights to dictate what goes on with their own bodies. That being said, medical studies have in fact linked breastfeeding with higher IQs in babies. But what about the royal family? Well, Kate Middleton did in fact breastfeed her children.
But is this really a royal tradition? Yes and no. Before the birth of Queen Elizabeth, royal mothers generally looked down upon breastfeeding, seeing it as unfitting of a royal family member. But after Queen Elizabeth herself was breastfed after her birth in the 1920s, a new tradition has started. That's right, every single child born after Queen Elizabeth has been breastfed, and now every new royal mother is expected to do the same.
8 Royal Babies Use Cloth Diapers
Although having a new baby is pretty wonderful, there are some details that parents don't look forward to as much. One of those things is changing diapers. But it must be done, and there's even rumors that Prince William is willing to handle this chore personally! But what kind of diapers do the royal family use? Traditionally, the royal family has had a strict preference for cloth diapers.
But this unofficial rule was broken by Princess Diana, who once stated: "I'd be pretty sure the baby will have disposable diapers rather than the cloth ones. I think it will be ordinary nappies, the ones that most people's babies use. That's a sign of the changing times. I think the royal family will, like any family, adapt with the times." Now, the pendulum seems to have swung back the other way, with Kate Middleton reportedly preferring cloth diapers. However, some say she is now trying something completely new – biodegradable cloth diapers.
7 The Nannies Learn Defensive Driving And Taekwondo
Of all the royal servants, many people are most interested about the royal nannies. These are specially trained caretakers that look after the young royals. But their job is much more complex than a normal nanny. They have to treat the child incredibly well, and many have previously been fired for things like serving the wrong pudding or not paying attention to safety concerns.
One royal expert explains: "The nannies are taught everything from defensive driving to security issues to how to care for a future king or queen. So she just really knows everything that you could possibly need to know about bringing up a child." These nannies are reportedly trained even in martial arts and defensive driving, such is the need to protect the young royals from harm.
6 Each Royal Baby Gets Six Godparents
Every child is usually given one or two godparents, and the royals see this as very important. So important, in fact, that they usually give their babies a whopping six godparents instead of just a couple! This is a tradition that exists with pretty much all royal families, not just the English one. And it's a common way to link the monarchies of different nations together.
For example, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden is known as the "Godmother of Europe" because so many other royals choose her to be their godmother. Prince Charlotte has five godparents, while Prince George has seven! Prince William is actually the Godfather of several other royals, including Greek royalty, as is Queen Elizabeth herself. In fact, it's safe to say that if you're a royal family member, you're likely to have several godchildren.
5 Traditionally, There Are Only Two Children Per Royal Family
Traditionally, the royal family adheres to a strict two child policy. Although this is a slightly more relaxed tradition, it is a tradition nonetheless. It first started after Queen Elizabeth, who had four children. Since then, no other couple in the close royal line of secession has had more than two children. These two children are informally known as "an heir and a spare." Basically this means that the second child is only in line to inherit the throne if the other one does not.
But Kate and Prince William are actually going to break this rule with a third child. This would break from the royal norms, but it would also really mess with the pre-existing line of secession, considering every other family has two children. Recent changes to the laws of secession mean that gender does not matter. This means that even if Kate gives birth to a boy, he would still be behind Princess Charlotte in line for the throne.
4 The Gender Is Not Revealed Until The Moment Of Birth
Another interesting rule royal mothers must adhere to involves the baby's gender. Royal mothers must not under any circumstances reveal the baby's gender to the public. This is a tradition that continues on to this day. In fact, many royal couples don't even know the gender of their babies themselves. An exception was Princess Diana, who knew that she would be having boys, but successfully kept it secret from the rest of the world.
Kate actually dropped a major hint that she would be having a girl, and it was seen as a pretty big deal. There were even rumors that she would be punished by the Queen for this little indiscretion, but it probably wasn't that big of a deal. It's also worth noting that traditionally, royal families have a huge preference for boys, although this has stopped more recently. That might have something to do with the tradition of keeping the baby's gender secret.
3 Gifts Are Sent For The Babies From All Over The World
When a normal person has a baby, they might expect to have one or two gifts for their little child from friends and family. Royal parents experience this too, but on a much larger scale. Also, the gifts are much bigger and more expensive, because they typically come from very powerful people. Obviously, other members of royal families all over the world send their gifts, as do representatives of British linked commonwealth countries, like Canada and New Zealand.
When Prince George was born, a huge amount of gifts were sent from all over the globe. This makes sense, seeing as he is the future monarch of England. New Zealand sent a fine shawl made from Merino Wool. The boy's great uncle sent Prince George a tiny Chelsea FC soccer uniform, a move intended to troll William, who is a supporter of Aston Villa. But the general sense these days is that royal parents prefer simpler, more personal gifts than lavish, expensive items.
2 The Father Gets To Go On Paternity Leave
It's a well-known fact that royal family members do not have to work. If they wanted, they could simply sit at home all day and busy themselves with the ever vague "royal duties." But there's been a few notable exceptions. Prince William used to be very involved with the East Anglia Air Ambulance as a helicopter pilot. It was pretty much a real job. And when Prince George was born in 2015, he announced that he was taking a whopping 6-weeks unpaid paternity leave.
Not every father has that luxury, but being a royal comes with certain benefits. Although he came under fire for taking such a long leave, it was revealed that his absence was actually a combination of paternity leave and holiday, which he had earned for completing his training earlier than expected. Nowadays, Prince William doesn't really work as a helicopter pilot anymore, as the Queen has demanded that he spend more time with his royal duties.
1 All Royal Babies Are Born At St. Mary's Hospital In A Special Private Wing
For centuries, Royal babies were traditionally born at home with the help of midwives and doctors in more recent years. However, the recent tradition has changed. Princess Diana started a brand new trend, that being giving birth to children in the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital. As a result, Kate Middleton decided to give birth to her children in the exact same wing. Is this the beginning of a new tradition? Might we see the same with Meghan Markle's future children?
Actually, this brand new tradition might be broken a lot sooner than you think. Kate announced that for her third child, which she's scheduled to have in April fo 2018, she is considering having a home birth, once again returning to the traditional rules of royal births before Princess Diana changed the trend. Whatever happens, we're looking forward to the newest member of the royal family!