Bulimia, cannabis and a minister in the next room for the birth: Trials and traditions of Royal mothers-to-be from Diana to Victoria
23:41 GMT, 3 December 2012
Crippled by acute morning sickness, the Duchess of Cambridge was today so weak she had to be driven to hospital by her husband.
She is expected to remain at King Edward VII Hospital for several days as staff monitor her health and that of her unborn child at what is understood to be a very early stage of her first pregnancy.
The 30-year-old, who has been married for 18 months, will have the highest standard of medical care offered anywhere in the world.
And though her pregnancy will radically differ from many of her forebears, she is far from the first Royal wife to suffer health problems after discovering she is a carrying a child in line to the throne.
Scroll down for video
Princess Diana and Prince Charles with William when he was born after a 16-hour labour on June 22
William's own mother, Diana, was suffering from bulimia when she found out she was pregnant with her first child.
She endured terrible bouts of morning sickness and her weight continued to plummet. The 20-year-old began to look thin and drawn. Despite being so ill, she continued to carry out her duties even though she could only do them for an hour at a time.
She wanted to give birth to Prince William at home in keeping with royal tradition but the Queen's gynaecologist insisted she go to the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington.
Diana shunned drugs in the delivery room and at one point doctors considered performing an emergency Caesarean.
But after a 16-hour labour, William was born at 9.03pm on July 21, 1982. He weighed in at a healthy 7lb 1.5oz even though he was ten days early. A 41-gun salute was sounded from Hyde Park.
Diana became pregnant again a year later but within a week of an announcement by Buckingham Palace she suffered a miscarriage while at Balmoral.
A few months later she announced she was expecting a third child. Again she suffered from sickness but gave birth to 6lb 14oz Prince Harry on September 15, 1984.
Princess Elizabeth holds her baby son, Prince Charles, after his christening ceremony at Buckingham Palace in December 1948
Diana's health, her pregnancies and her miscarriage took place under great public scrutiny compared to that experienced by the Queen.
As for Queen Elizabeth, she opened Parliament every year except when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew in 1959 and Prince Edward in 1963.
Elizabeth's first two children – Prince Charles and Princess Anne – were born before she ascended the throne.
She fell pregnant with her first child when she was 22. The news that she was expecting an heir to the throne appears astoundingly opaque to the modern world and came in the form of an announcement that she she would 'undertake no public engagements until the end of June.'
Prince Charles' christening: Front row (L-R) shows The Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven, Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth) holding Prince Charles and Queen Mary (the Prince's great-grandmother)
Confirmation of the birth of Charles Philip Arthur George’s birth came just before midnight on November 14, 1948, the day of his birth.
A BBC broadcast carried the announcement from Buckingham Palace that Princess Elizabeth 'was safely delivered of a prince'.
A newsreader confirmed that both mother and baby are doing well, before
offering 'royal congratulations' on behalf of the listeners.
The birth of Charles shortly after the end of the Second World War was a great boost for the country.
Letters written by the Queen shortly after his birth revealed the monarch was delighted with him.
She stated: 'I had no idea that one could be kept so busy in bed – there seems to be something happening all the time!'’
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, at the Queen's christening in 1926. At that time the baby was Princess Elizabeth
'The baby is very sweet, and Philip and I are enormously proud of him. I
still find it hard to believe that I really have a baby of my own!'
In 1950, Princess Elizabeth gave birth to a daughter at Clarence House in London. Details of the baby's arrival were posted on the gates of the palace, on a board outside the Home Office in Whitehall and at Mansion
House in the City.
Princess Anne weighed exactly 6lb (2.7kg) at birth. She was delivered at 11.50am. Officials said that mother and baby were doing well.
The Queen Mother was seen arriving at Clarence House about five minutes before the baby was born. She returned later in the day for a second visit,
lasting about two hours.
Prince Andrew, The Duke of York and Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex
were the only two children to be born to a reigning monarch since Queen
Queen Alexandra, far right, Queen Mary, back right and Princess Victoria and Princess Mary driving round London in 1913
Prince Andrew was born on 19 February 1960 in Buckingham Palace. Prince Edward was born at Buckingham Palace on 10 March 1964, and christened at Windsor Castle on 2 May 1964.
While the Queen enjoyed relatively quiet pregnancies, the Queen Mother became something of a hot topic when the Queen herself was conceived as
an aristocratic author claimed that the child was conceived by
The same author, Lady Colin Campbell said that the Queen Mother was the daughter of her family's French cook.
The Royal Family denied both allegations.
The Queen was born in her grandparent's London home in Mayfair
while the home secretary, Sir William Joynson-Hicks, waited in the next
room as part of an age-old custom designed to prevent a substitute baby
being smuggled in.
Queen Victoria holds her great grandson Prince Edward, the future King Edward VIII, at his christening in 1894
Not much is known of how the pregnancies of the Queen Mother's mother-in-law Queen Mary passed.
Mary gave birth to Edward VIII
on June 23, 1894, at White Lodge, Richmond, in Surrey while his
great-grandmother was still on the throne.
He was baptised less than a
month later in the Green Drawing Room of White Lodge by the Archbishop
of Canterbury, Edward White Benson.
Just 18 months later, Queen Mary gave birth to the Queen Mother's husband George VI on December
He was born at York Cottage, Sandringham, but spent most of
his life in the shadow of his brother because when he was younger it was
not expected that he would inherit the throne.
Queen Victoria in 1893 with the King and Queen at the time – a picture taken on their honeymoon at Osborne House, Isle of Wight
Like Queen Mary who went through six pregnancies, her own mother-in-law Queen Alexandra also gave birth to six children.
She had children in 1864, 1865, 1867, 1868, 1869, and had a son that died at a day old in 1871.
Initially, she didn't let pregnancy slow her down – her first child Eddy, Duke of Clarence, was born prematurely after Queen Alexandra went ice skating seven months into the pregnancy.
All of her children were said to be born prematurely and according to historical rumour she lied about her due dates to her mother-in-law Queen Victoria as she didn’t want her to be present at the births.
She gave birth to five children in all, two boys and five girls and a sixth pregnancy ended in tragedy when her infant son died at just a day old.
Apart from the premature births, Alexandra’s first two pregnancies were largely uneventful.
Her third pregnancy, with her daughter Princess Louise, was not quite so straight forward.
She became increasingly sick with a bout of rheumatic fever and deteriorated after giving birth to the point that there was concern for her life. She survived, but was left with a permanent limp thereafter.
Queen Alexandra also suffered from otosclerosis, a condition which affected her hearing, which was exacerbated by illness and pregnancy.
It is hardly any shock that Alexandra didn't want her mother-in-law to be present at the birth of her children given Victoria's extreme views on pregnancy, labour and newborn infants.
Queen Victoria famously hated being pregnant – and it is hardly a surprise given that she went through nine in eighteen years.
She fell pregnant within weeks of marrying Prince Albert in February
1840, giving birth to her first child, also called Victoria, in November
of the same year.
The monarch described pregnancy as an ‘occupational hazard’ of
being a wife and in a letter to her daughter Vicky shortly after
marriage in 1858 asking her to dispel rumours that she was pregnant
already, she bemoaned the pitfalls of expecting a child.
She wrote: ‘What made me so miserable was — to have the two first years
of my married life utterly spoilt by this occupation! I could enjoy
nothing — not travel about or go about with dear Papa [Prince Albert].’
In a later letter she said that being pregnant and giving birth was akin
to ‘being like a cow or a dog.’
Queen Victoria pictured in 1890. She famously hated being pregnant but she went through nine pregnancies in 18 years
She is said to have been prescribed
cannabis to deal with the worst symptoms of pregnancy and the pain of
It wasn’t just morning sickness that made Victoria’s first pregnancy a
trial. Edward Oxford attempted to assassinate the Queen while she was
four months pregnant.
Enduring nine months of pregnancy did not ensure a happy ending for Victoria. She described newborn babies as ‘ugly’ and said
that even the most beautiful babies looked ‘frightful’ without any
She urged her first daughter to delay getting pregnant straight away and enjoy married life first.
said: ‘If I had had a year of happy enjoyment with dear Papa to myself
how happy I would have been! But I was three and a half [years] older;
and therefore I was in for it at once — and furious I was’
having been so frequently pregnant herself, Queen Victoria strongly
disapproved of women who were always expecting: ‘I positively think
those ladies who are always enceinte quite disgusting; it is more like a
rabbit or guinea-pig than anything else and really it is not very
nice….I know that Papa is shocked at that sort of thing.’
And there is no doubt that, according to Victoria, the trials of pregnancy were all the man’s fault.
She once said: ‘Oh! if those selfish men — who are the cause of all one's misery, only knew what their poor slaves go through!’
They may not have given birth to future kings and queens, but other notable Royals have enjoyed, or endured, pregnancy in the public spotlight.
Five generations of Royal births on from Queen Victoria, Princess Anne borrowed her great-great-great grandmother’s famous phrase about pregnancy being an ‘occupational hazard’
of being a wife during her second pregnancy in 1981.
She had already given birth to son Peter in 1977 and was expecting daughter Zara when she admitted that she is ‘not particularly maternal’.
She told filmmakers putting together a documentary on her then husband Mark Phillips that pregnancy is a ‘very boring six months’.
Bored: A heavily pregnant Princess Anne pictured at the Badminton Horse Trials in 1981. She was expecting daughter Zara at the time
The Princess Royal, then aged 30, didn’t let pregnancy stop her being active however as she claimed to be the ‘slave labour’ around the couple’s Gatcombe Park home while expecting.
A few years laters, the Duke and Duchess of York had their first child Princess Beatrice on August 8, 1988.
Prince Andrew's former wife Sarah Ferguson, known as 'Fergie', gave birth at the Portland Hospital in central London. She weighed 6lb 12 oz.
Celebrations began as soon as details of the birth were posted on the gates of Buckingham Palace in keeping with tradition.
An impromptu street party was held outside the hospital held by crowds waiting for news.
But it hadn't been the easiest of pregnancies for the Duchess who had a prang in her Jaguar while eight months pregnant and was diagnosed with high blood pressure and excess water retention over the course of the nine months – all of this while her husband was away with the Royal Navy.
Princess Eugenie of York, the sixth grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II was born on 23rd March, 1990 at the Portland Hospital in London. She weighed 7lb 1.5 oz.
She was introduced to an eager public for the first time on 30 March, 1990, when with her mother, she left the Portland Hospital.
'css' : “videoplayer-large”,
'autoplay' : false,
'muted' : false,
'adUrl' : “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/adssz=8×8&iu=%2F7023%2Fdm.video%2Fdm_video_femail&ciu_szs=&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=xml_vast2&unviewed_position_start=1&url=[referrer_url]&correlator=[timestamp]”,
'playerId' : “1989148206001”,
'playerKey' : “AQ~~,AAAAAFSL1bg~,CmS1EFtcMWELN_eSE9A7gpcGWF5XAVmI”,
'objId' : “rcpv31458”,
'videoPlayer' : “2008403660001”,
'width' : 636,
'height' : 358,
'linkBaseURL' : “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2242405/Kate-Middleton-pregnant-Bulimia-cannabis-minister-room-birth-Trials-traditions-Royal-mothers-Diana-Victoria.html”