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Five facts about the Royal Birth

PUBLISHED: 20:57 22 July 2013 | UPDATED: 20:57 22 July 2013

The Queen

The Queen

Hugo Burnand/Cartier

Easel does it

Traditionally, royal births are announced on an easel, which stands in the forecourt at the front of Buckingham Palace. The Queen, the Middleton family and members of the royal family will be told before the easel is put in place. The bulletin will be carried from the hospital by a royal aide, who will travel with a police escort. A note on Buckingham Palace-headed paper, signed by key medical staff, will confirm the news and the gender of the baby. This could also be the first royal birth announced on twitter and the busiest hashtag ever.

Present and correct

Prince William will be taking paternity leave, (two weeks paid leave from the RAF, offered by the Ministry of Defence) so that he can attend the birth of the baby. Prince Charles attended William’s birth - the first time a royal father had done so. His father, Prince Philip, was playing squash when Prince Charles was born.

Pipped at the post

Savannah Phillips, the daughter of Peter and Autumn Phillips, is the Queen’s first great-grandchild, but this baby will be her second. The last time a still-serving monarch met their great-grandchild born in direct succession to the crown, was 120 years ago – that was Queen Victoria, who met her great-grandchild Edward VIII, when he was born third in line to the throne in 1894. This will also be the first time in more than a century that there will have been three generations of direct heirs to the throne alive at the same time, (these being Charles, William and his child.)

Title role

In 2011, it was decided that succession should be gender neutral. Historically, the firstborn would not inherit the throne if the child was a girl. But a 2011 decision made by leaders of the 16 Commonwealths under British rule changed all that. Kate’s baby will be third in line to the British throne at birth and will also receive a new title of distinction: Her Royal Highness.

Dressed to impress

The christening robe will be a replica of one that has been used by the royal family since 1841. The robe was made for the christening of Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, also named Victoria. Made of fine Honiton lace lined with white satin, a replica robe was made for the Earl and Countess of Wessex’s son in 2008 to preserve the original.


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