Ten facts about royal births as wait for Harry and Meghan’s baby continues

The wait for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's baby may soon be over after reports that Meghan Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, has arrived in the UK ahead of the expected birth of her granddaughter.

As royal watchers keep a sharp eye out for the smallest of clues that point to the impending arrival, here are 10 facts about royal births:

1. Surgery at home

The Queen – then Princess Elizabeth – was born by Caesarean section in 1926.

The Queen
The Queen was born by Caesarean (Jonathan Brady/PA)

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.

Lady Louise Windsor
Lady Louise Windsor (left) with her mother the Countess of Wessex (Steve Parsons/PA)

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.

Prince George
The Duchess of Cambridge, with newborn Prince George and the Duke of Cambridge, had a natural birth with her children (Jonathan Brady/PA)

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.

Philip
The Duke of Edinburgh was born on a kitchen table (Steve Parsons/PA)

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.

Charles
Princess Elizabeth with her son Prince Charles (PA)

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.

Queen Victoria had nine children and was known as the grandmother of Europe after her children married European royalty. #MothersDay

This year marks 200 years since Queen Victoria's birth. Read about her remarkable life ➡️ https://t.co/VI4RwqUgHU

📷 Royal Collection Trust pic.twitter.com/Ipq6YhS1yr

— English Heritage (@EnglishHeritage) March 31, 2019

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.

Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria supported a woman's right to reduce pain during childbirth (PA)

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".

Diana
A heavily pregnant Diana ahead of the birth of Prince William (PA)

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.

Birth of Prince William
Charles waving to the crowds as he leaves St Mary's Hospital, Paddington after son William was born (PA)

10. Secret scans

In 1984, Diana knew Prince Harry was going to be a boy following a scan.

Birth of Prince Harry
The Prince and Princess of Wales following the birth of their second son, Prince Harry (PA)

But she did not tell husband Charles, fearing he wanted a girl, and kept the news secret throughout her pregnancy.

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