Royal Traditions to Welcome Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Baby Sussex
When it comes to the birth of a baby, expecting parents, their family and friends wait excitedly for the arrival. When it comes to the birth of a royal baby, there are well-wishers and people waiting and watching all over the country and the world.
There are some interesting royal traditions surrounding the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's royal baby. Those traditions include things that happen before the baby is born, at the time the baby is born and of course right after the baby is born.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are expecting their first child in late April or early May. In the past when royal babies were born, the media and crowds of people waited outside St. Mary's Hospital. They camped outside on the streets spending nights so they could get a glimpse of the newest royal. That happened when Prince William and Prince Harry were born. It happened years later when Prince William's three children were born.
Some of the royal birthing traditions have been changed to be in line with modern practices. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been known to do things a little different. So the world will be watching to see which traditions they will follow and which ones they will make their own.
Pre-Birth Baby Traditions
No Gender Reveal
In Amerca, some expecting parents have a gender reveal party where family and friends find out the gender of the baby. That is not allowed for a royal baby. The gender of the baby is not announced before the birth. The Duke and Duchess have said in the past that they don't know the gender because they want to be surprised.
No Due Date
Even though the public knows Baby Sussex is expected in late April or early May, they do not know exact due date. That is a tradition about the birth of royal babies.
When Kensington Palace announced Meghan's pregnancy last October, the statement indicated that it would happen in the Spring of 2019.
Typically, royal pregnant women are not given baby showers. However, Duchess Meghan has had two showers. Her friends gave her an elaborate one in New York City last February. Then she had a smaller one in London.
Place of Birth
Queen Elizabeth II gave birth to all four of her children in royal residences. Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward were born in Buckingham Palace. Princess Anne was born at Clarence House.
Princess Diana was the first royal to give birth in the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital when Prince William and Prince Harry were born. Duchess Catherine gave birth to Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis at the same hospital.
It has not been confirmed at this time if Duchess Meghan will follow in the footsteps of Duchess Catherine and Princess Diana and give birth at St. Mary's Hospital.
Royal Birthing Traditions
Witness in the Delivery Room
For many centuries, it was the requirement for the home secretary to be in the delivery room to verify that the newborn was really a royal baby. The tradition of this verification ceased in 1948 when Queen Elizabeth gave birth at home to Prince Charles.
At that time, no men with the exception of the home secretary were allowed in the delivery room. That rule no longer exists. Prince Charles was in the delivery room when his two sons were born. Prince William was also in the room when Duchess Kate gave birth to all three of their children. As protective as Prince Harry is of Meghan, he will certainly be in the delivery room with her to witness the arrival of their first child and to give her support.
Midwives are sworn to secrecy and are part of the labor and delivery staff. The Duchess of Cambridge had the same doctors and the same three midwives during her labor and deliveries. There were also surgeons on hand in case of an emergency. The Duchess of Sussex will be in the best care during her labor and delivery with several doctors, midwives, and anesthetists.
Notice Posted at Buckingham Palace
The notice of a royal baby's birth is posted on the official Buckingham Palace letterhead. The notice is signed by the delivery doctor. It includes the baby’s gender, time of birth and a short statement about how the mother and child are doing. The notice is framed and put on an easel outside the palace.
When Baby Sussex is born, an official statement will be posted on the royal official websites, such as royal.gov.uk. Additionally, the news will be sent to media outlets shortly, and the royal family will also use the official Kensington Palace Twitter account to announce the arrival. That was the way the pregnancy was announced last October and reached millions of people around the world.
Union Flag Raised and a 62-Gun Salute
Several things take place after the birth of a royal baby including the raising of the Union flag and a 10-minute gun salute. The basic 21-gun salute will be performed by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery. Then 41 additional rounds will be done.
Even though many of the post-birth traditions remain from hundreds of years ago, some have been updated because of technology. As soon as the royal baby arrives, there is a chain of events that takes place in a specific order.
Chain of Events
As soon as the royal baby is born, Queen Elizabeth is the very first person to be told. A designated messenger takes the message directly to the Queen with the baby's gender and weight. It was reported that Prince William called the Queen on an encrypted phone when Prince George was born. Then he called Kate's parents. He and his wife spent a few hours with their newborn son before it was announced to the public.
After Queen Elizabeth has been notified of the birth, the news will be posted on the official website as well as the royal family social media accounts. Years ago, this procedure was not possible.
Mother and Royal Baby Leaving the Hospital
The world sees the mother, father, and the new royal baby on the steps when they leave St. Mary's Hospital. The new royal baby is swaddled in a knitted-lace shawl made by the same company for the last 100 years.
Usually, it takes a few days for the baby's name to be revealed. Queen Elizabeth would have approved the name before it is shared with the public. Prince George and Princess Charlotte's names were revealed two days after they were born. Prince Louis' name was revealed on Twitter four days after his birth.
ATitle for the New Royal
Her Majesty declared in 2012 that all of William and Kate's children would have Prince or Princess for their titles. However, she did not make any ruling for Harry's children. Even though the new baby will be seventh in line to the throne, Queen Elizabeth will decide if the child will have a title. The parents have said they don't want their child to have a title. They are allowed to decline if the Queen offers one. This will not be a first because Princess Anne declined titles for her children, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips.
Maternity and Paternity Leave
It is traditional for the mother to take maternity leave. She usually starts her leave up to a month before the birth and continues for six weeks afterward. She can get an extension for a full six months or an entire year if she needs to do so. Prince Harry could take leave paternity or two weeks or longer.
Kate went back to work six weeks after Prince George's birth, after five months when Princess Charlotte was born and six months off after Prince Louis was born.
Prince William took only two weeks off for Prince George and Princess Charlotte. However, he didn't take any paternity leave when Prince Louis was born.
The new royal baby is seen in the mother's arms on the steps of the hospital when they are leaving. The child is not seen again until the christening that takes place several weeks after the birth.
Baby Sussex will wear a replica of the Honiton lace and satin gown made for Queen Victoria’s daughter in 1941. All 64 royal babies have been christened in the same gown or replica of it since Queen Victoria's era.
Godparents are announced at the time of the christening. Baby Sussex could have from four to seven godparents. Prince George has seven, Prince Charlotte has five, and Prince Louis has six. Godparents will be made up of some of Prince Harry's friends and some of Meghan's friends.