- Royal babies are born rich and famous and many special customs mark their births and childhoods.
- Typically, the royal births are announced on an easel outside Buckingham Palace, followed by gun salutes.
- Other traditions include wrapping the newborns in a merino wool blanket and using a pram by “Silver Cross.”
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Special traditions mark the births and childhoods of royal babies, who are born rich and famous.
From Queen Elizabeth to Prince William to Lilibet Diana, the newest child of Meghan and Harry, we decoded royal baby customs that have been passed on for at least five generations.
Title or no title, royal babies generate millions of dollars in revenue simply by existing.
The royal family is valued at $88 billion. Upon his birth, Prince George added more than $100 million to the economy through the sales of memorabilia and goods like strollers and blankets. Now he’s worth an estimated $3 billion.
His younger sister, Princess Charlotte, is worth even more — an estimated $5 billion — because of her fashion influence. The clothes she wears mean a lot of money for the fashion industry.
And even without a title, Archie is still worth an estimated $1.5 billion.
With all that money comes special traditions that start even before they’re born.
Typically, the queen is the first to know about the pregnancy.
Prince William used an encrypted phone line to deliver the good news to his grandmother. The UK prime minister is also one of the first to learn the news.
But Buckingham Palace never even officially announced Queen Elizabeth’s pregnancy in 1948; instead, it said she wouldn’t be taking engagements for a few months.
Gender reveal announcements have long been a no-no until after the baby’s birth.
Meghan Markle broke this tradition when she told Oprah Winfrey on national television that the couple was expecting a girl.
Queen Elizabeth had all four of her children at home and took them out to the balcony of Buckingham Palace for their debuts.
The royal births are announced on an easel outside Buckingham Palace, followed by gun salutes. A town crier also announces the exciting news. And local establishments celebrate, too.
Princess Diana didn’t announce the sexes of her children until they were born, but she did help modernize things by giving birth in a hospital. In fact, she was the first to stand outside the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital in London for a photo op holding baby Prince William.
Years later, Kate Middleton followed in her footsteps — and even seemed to pay homage to Diana’s outfits.
But it’s still quite different from the average hospital birth. Royal physicians — a gynecologist and a doctor — deliver the baby. The official royal doctors have been part of the royal family for hundreds of years. The team is made up of multiple healthcare professionals in all different specialties.
The royals wrap their newborns in a merino wool blanket made by the small family business GH Hurt and Son. The company has been making luxury knitted-lace shawls for more than a century and has produced blankets for three generations of royals.
The public has to wait a couple of days before learning the baby’s name.
And there’s a lot of meaning behind it, usually honoring multiple members of the family. William, for example, has four names, while his children each have three.
The royals usually choose common shared family names, but the further down the line of succession, the more acceptable it is for a royal to grant their child a unique name.
Another naming tradition is that most royals don’t have a surname.
William and Kate’s children use Cambridge unofficially when surnames are required, like at school. Archie’s last name is Mountbatten-Windsor, which is a common one used by royals without a royal highness title.
And the babies ride in the “Rolls-Royce of prams” — one of the most iconic royal traditions. Even baby Queen Elizabeth had one, and so did baby Prince Charles.
The strollers are made by Silver Cross, and the oldest dates back to 1877. It can cost up to $4,000.
Recently, royal moms have opted to use more modern ones, which can be pricey, too. Archie’s bugaboo cost more than $1,300.
The Duchess of Cambridge used the classic pram for special occasions, like her children’s christenings. For that occasion, royal babies wear a special gown, the first of which was made in 1841 for Queen Victoria’s oldest daughter, Victoria. It was made from white silk with a handmade lace overlay. A replica was made in 2004.
The Archbishop of Canterbury performs the christenings for royal babies. Justin Welby is the most senior bishop in the Church of England.
Royal babies also get baptized with water from the same site in the Jordan River where Christians believe Jesus was baptized. And they always use the same bowl, called the Lily Font. Queen Victoria commissioned the silver font in 1840 for the birth of their first child.
The babies are issued passports at birth, but they don’t begin traveling immediately. But they do often go on tours when they’re as young as a year old, beginning their work responsibilities early on.
And royal babies don’t always receive their titles automatically; they have to wait until the Queen grants them one after they are born.
That’s because of King George V, who restricted the number of family members who could have a royal title. His rule means that the titles prince and princess go to the queen’s children and the grandchildren of her sons, as well as the oldest son of her oldest son.
Since Harry is the second son, his children are not guaranteed titles. But neither was Princess Charlotte — so then, why is she a princess? The answer is actually quite simple: Queen Elizabeth issued a public proclamation that removed the first-kid-only rule. A question that remains, then, is why she didn’t bend the rules for Meghan and Harry’s son, Archie.
Without a title, Archie lost out on a royal security detail. It’s estimated that a 24/7 security detail could cost up to $4 million a year.
Meghan and Harry say they are currently paying for their family’s security out of pocket, using Harry’s inheritance from Princess Diana.
They may have lost out on other perks when they took a step back — members of the royal family traditionally have live-in nannies.
They go through more training than your average caretaker.
Maria Borrallo, William and Kate’s nanny, went to the prestigious Norland College in Bath, where she was trained in understanding royal customs, defensive driving, martial arts, and escaping kidnappers.
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