Royal Baby Facts

With William and Kate's baby due any day now, we take a look at some fascinating facts about royal newborns...

1. Most royal babies have been born at home. Kate’s late mother-in-law wanted to keep the royal tradition of birthing babies at home, but with her health problems, has been advised to deliver at the hospital.

2. Prince William was the first heir to be born in hospital weighing 7lb 10. Prince Charles observed that he had ‘sausage fingers just like him’. William was born after 16 hours of labour - his hospital tag was labelled 'Baby Wales'. 

3. When the baby is born prince William will be 31 – more than twice the age of Henry IV who was 15 when he fathered the first of his brood of seven kids.

4. An announcement will only be made once Kate has gone into labour and is safely at the hospital. Then, there will be no public statement until the Queen, the Middleton family and senior Royals have been notified of the birth.

5. Royal births are normally celebrated with a 41-gun salute, but one tradition that has happily ceased to be is the requirement for the Home Secretary of the day to attend the birth to ensure no substitute babies were smuggled in. The birth of the Queen’s cousin Princess Alexandra in 1936 was the last such occasion on which a home secretary was present.

6. Royal births are registered in the normal way, although the Home Secretary also notifies the Lord Mayor of London and other officials, while the Queen’s private secretary Sir Christopher Geidt informs governor generals overseas. 

7. To follow, a traditional scroll will be posted on the gates of Buckingham Palace announcing the birth. There will be flags, guns, and bells ringing to celebrate the coming of the Royal baby. A couple days after the birth, the couple will be scheduled for public photos on the steps of the hospital for all to see.

8.  The baby will be third in line to the throne, regardless of its sex. In October 2011 the government announced that the 16 Commonwealth countries where the Queen is head of state had accepted changes to the rights of succession, ending centuries of male primogeniture.

9. Anyone entitled to the style and dignity of HRH Prince or Princess does not normally have a surname, but if required to have one – for weddings for example – the name Mountbatten-Windsor is normally adopted.

10. If the baby is a boy it is likely to become the Prince of Wales, a title that is usually given to the male heir to the throne, although it is not automatic.

11. The baby will be the Queen’s third great-grandchild, after the birth of 12th in line to the throne Savannah Phillips – the daughter of Peter and Autumn Phillips.

12. The last time a still-serving monarch met their great-grandchild born in direct succession to the crown was 120 years ago. Queen Victoria, who died in 1901, met her great grandchild Edward VIII, who later abdicated, when he was born third in line to the throne in 1894. George VI was born the following year, with Princess Mary born in 1897.

13. It will be the first time in more than a century that there will be three generations of heirs alive at the same time.

14. Private education beckons for the royal baby (William went to Eton and Kate went to Marlborough College). They will also likely serve in some capacity in the armed forces. William is an RAF search-and-rescue pilot, while the Queen, as Princess Elizabeth, joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945.