Ever since Meghan Markle announced her pregnancy in October, the nation has been on tenterhooks. Will it be a boy or a girl? Will he or she have a traditionally royal name, or adopt something from Meghan’s American heritage? While there are so many questions we are awaiting answers for, would you also believe there are a number of customs and traditions that must be adhered to? Here we will share five of them.
- The gender is never announced
This one may have been quite obvious, considering Meghan and Harry haven’t revealed anything yet. But generally speaking, while the Royals may announce a pregnancy, they never announce the baby’s gender before birth.
In the case of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, they never found out the gender of George, Charlotte, or Louis. However, in the case of Queen Elizabeth II, her pregnancy wasn’t announced officially and instead, the British media received a statement from Buckingham Palace revealing Elizabeth (who was a Princess at the time) would “undertake no public engagements after the end of June”.
- Home births were the norm, but now take place in a hospital
Most royal fans will be fairly familiar with the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington. It’s where the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to George, Charlotte, and Louis, and where Diana Princess of Wales had both her boys. Famously, the mothers have been photographed at its entrance, which is instantly recognizable. The wooden doors and iron gates set against the red-brown brick and gated windows have provided the backdrop to many a royal baby debut. It is therefore assumed that St. Mary’s is where we will see Baby Sussex very soon – if Meghan follows this new(ish) tradition.
- The Monarch must be the first to know
When a child is born into the royal family, the Queen must be notified first – even before the new baby’s grandparents – before the news is made public knowledge. When Prince George was born, Prince William called Elizabeth II on an encrypted phone. Traditionally, the news is announced by a written statement, attached to the railings of Buckingham Palace – but the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge broke this mold when announcing the birth of first child George, opting for the rather less regal platform, Twitter. However, the announcement was still made at Buckingham Palace, too. The gender of the baby and the time of delivery is usually all that is revealed.
- Royal babies have at least three names
When it comes to Royal baby odds, it’s fairly easy for the bookies to choose some likely picks – not only do the majority of names have a history attached to them, but royals choose at least three names.
The three children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have three names: George Alexander Louis, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, and Louis Arthur Charles. However, Princes William and Harry have four names: William Arthur Philip Louis and Henry Charles Albert David. It will be interesting to see what Baby Sussex will be called, but if we take the three favorites for girls’ names, she will be Diana Grace Victoria and for boys’ names, he will be Charles James Arthur.
- The Tower of London sets off a 62-gun salute
Okay, so this one isn’t just limited to royal births, there are salutes to mark the Queen’s and Duke of Edinburgh’s birthdays, the Queen’s coronation and other special occasions. The very specific number of 62 includes 21 rounds of a basic salute and 41 additional shots as the Tower is considered a Royal Palace and located within London. The whole salute takes around 10 minutes and can be viewed by the public for free from Tower Hill, although you can also purchase a ticket for a closer view inside the Tower. The gun salutes always take place at 1 pm, unless stated otherwise. In case you’re wondering, the next planned gun salute is May 15 for the State Opening of Parliament – but we imagine Baby Sussex will arrive before then.