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10 facts about royal births

The Duke of Edinburgh played squash while his wife was in labour, and government ministers used to have to witness royal arrivals.

Here are 10 facts about royal births:

1.  A team of 23 medical staff was on hand for the birth of Prince George and Princess Charlotte at the private Lindo Wing.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with newborn Princess Charlotte outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

A handful of midwives and others led by a consultant obstetrician were in the delivery room, but obstetricians, gynaecologists, surgeons, haematologists and theatre staff were also waiting in the wings in case of an emergency.

2. After William was born in 1982, the Prince of Wales wrote how he was “so thankful I was beside Diana’s bedside the whole time”.

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The Prince and Princess of Wales leaving the Lindo Wing, at St. Mary’s Hospital with their first born, Prince William (PA)

“I really felt as though I’d shared deeply in the process of birth,” he added.

3. Diana was induced because she could not bear the pressure from the media any longer – and claimed doctors had to find a date that suited Charles and his polo fixtures.

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A heavily pregnant Princess of Wales at at Aintree for the Grand National in 1982 (PA)


4.
The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, was given an anaesthetic to help with the pain while in labour with first child Charles in 1948.

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An exhibition showing Cecil Beaton’s photograph of Princess Elizabeth with her first child Prince Charles (Edmond Terakopian/PA)


5.
A restless Duke of Edinburgh occupied himself by playing squash while awaiting the arrival of his firstborn.

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The Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Elizabeth with their son Prince Charles after his christening ceremony (PA)


6. 
The Queen had all her four children – Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward – at home at Buckingham Palace and Clarence House.

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The Queen in uniform on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, holding 12-week-old son Prince Edward after the Trooping the Colour ceremony (PA)


7.
Princess Elizabeth was born at home by Caesarean section in her grandparents’ house in Mayfair, London.

She was breech and it was a difficult birth for her mother the Duchess of York.

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The Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) holding their baby daughter Princess Elizabeth (PA)


8. 
It used to be the custom that government ministers and other witnesses were present at royal births to ensure no substitute child had been smuggled in in a warming pan or similar receptacle.

9. But Queen Victoria put her foot down when her great-grandchild, the future Edward VIII, was born in 1894 and declared that just one Cabinet minister would be needed, with only the home secretary attending from then on.

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Queen Victoria limited the number of government minister present at royal births to just one - the Home Secretary (PA)


10. 
The birth of the Queen’s cousin Princess Alexandra on Christmas Day in 1936 was the last occasion that a home secretary was present, meaning the Duchess of Cambridge has been spared such an intrusion.

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Queen Elizabeth II with her cousin Princess Alexandra (Yui Mok/PA)

Prince Charles’s birth 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.

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