Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Home Secretary Theresa May will not attend royal baby birth

Published 16/07/2013 | 20:40

Kate is expected to give birth by the end of the week.
Kate is expected to give birth by the end of the week.
Home Secretary Theresa May
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 16: Royal fan Terry Hutt stands outside the Lindo wing of St Mary's Hospital as the UK prepares for the birth of the first child of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on July 16, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 15: A sign outside the Lindo wing of St Mary's Hospital as the UK prepares for the birth of the first child of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on July 14, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 16: An American Network Broadcaster waits in a Union Jack chair outside the Lindo wing of St Mary's Hospital as the UK prepares for the birth of the first child of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on July 16, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Cards depicting the 'royal baby' either as a boy or a girl, specially made by a games company as a publicity stunt are pictured, backdropped by members of the media waiting across the St. Mary's Hospital exclusive Lindo Wing in London, Thursday, July 11, 2013. Media are preparing for royal-mania as Britain's Duchess of Cambridge plans to give birth to the new third-in-line to the throne in mid-July, at the Lindo Wing. Cameras from all over the world are set to be jostling outside for an exclusive first glimpse of Britain's Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge's first child. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 16: A general view of the media area outside the Lindo wing of St Mary's Hospital as the UK prepares for the birth of the first child of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on July 16, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 15: In this handout photo provided by Lydia Leith, is a sick bag created by British designer Lydia Leith to commemorate the impending birth of the The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's child, on July 15, 2013 in London, England. The UK is preparing for the birth of the first child of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. (Photo by Lydia Leith via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 15: In this handout photo provided by Lydia Leith, is merchandise created by British designer Lydia Leith (pictured) to commemorate the impending birth of the The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's child, on July 15, 2013 in London, England. The UK is preparing for the birth of the first child of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. (Photo by Lydia Leith via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 15: A 'London Baby Time' clock outside the Lindo wing of St Mary's Hospital as the UK prepares for the birth of the first child of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on July 14, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 15: Promotions manager Daniel Obando wears a baby doll wrapped in union flag decorations as he stands in Piccadilly as the UK prepares for the birth of the first child of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at on July 12, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 15: A shop displays plates celebrating the impending royal birth as the UK prepares for the birth of the first child of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at on July 12, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 15: A shop displays a mug celebrating the impending royal birth as the UK prepares for the birth of the first child of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at on July 12, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
LLANGEFNI, WALES - JULY 11: In this handout image supplied by Asda Llangefni on July 11, 2013, a man dressed as a member of the queen's guard poses beside a parking space reserved for a prospective prince or princess, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge prepare for the birth of their first child. The supermarket, on the island of Anglesey is situated near to the home that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge share. (Photo by Richard Birch/Asda via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 09: Tags are attached to ladders belonging to members of the press set up outside the The Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital as the UK prepares for the birth of the first child of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, on July 9, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 09: Police officers patrol the front door of the Lindo Wing as the UK prepares for the birth of the first child of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at St Mary's Hospital on July 9, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 09: Public Relations Executive of Ladbrokes, Jessica Bridge, poses for a picture with today's odds for the royal baby on a chalk board in front of the Lindo Wing as the UK prepares for the birth of the first child of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at St Mary's Hospital on July 9, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Theresa May has said she will not be present at the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's baby - as a centuries-old custom for the Home Secretary to attend royal births no longer exists.

The Home Affairs Select Committee heard that it was once customary for home secretaries to attend royal births to ensure that it was genuine and a child had not been smuggled in.

The Queen is understood to be the last monarch to be brought into the world in front of a home secretary - who at the time of her birth was Conservative Sir William Joynson-Hicks.

Michael Ellis MP, who was chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and often contributes to television coverage of royal matters, asked: "Until relatively recently there was a convention that home secretaries attended royal births, I understand this happened with Her Majesty, the Queen.

"Do you have any plans to visit the Lindo wing any time soon, following this convention?"

He added: "I'm being mischievous."

To which, Mrs May replied: "In fact, it is no longer the case that the HS is required to attend a royal birth, but I suspect Mr Ellis with your royal connections you might have more information about these things than I do."

Asked why the home secretary was once required to attend royal births, Mrs May said: "It goes back many centuries... the home secretary had to be there to evidence that it was genuinely a royal birth and that a baby hadn't been smuggled in."

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