royal-hospitals

Inside royal baby hospitals: where Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and Sophie Wessex gave birth

Royal mums don't always follow family tradition

Sharnaz Shahid

A new baby is a special moment in any family, and it's a particularly momentous occasion for the British royals.

Over the past few decades, members of the royal family have chosen a select few hospitals to welcome their newborns, often emerging within hours of their child's arrival to proudly present their new bundle of joy to the waiting world.

The 'posing on the steps' moment gives well-wishers the first opportunity to catch a glimpse of the baby in front of the hospital, where the happy royal couples stand for the photographers and the delighted fans.

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From Duchess Kate and Duchess Meghan to Princess Diana and Princess Anne, as well as the Countess of Wessex, here we take a look back at where royal mums welcomed their babies.

A look inside royal baby hospitals...

St Mary's Hospital

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Prince William and Kate debuted all three of their children on the Lindo Wing steps

To date, this is where most of the British royals have welcomed their children. In previous years, the royals would traditionally have home-births. The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester set a precedent by welcoming their children, Alex Ulster and Lady Davina Lewis, at St Mary's Hospital.

Then in 1977, Princess Anne welcomed the Queen's first grandchild, Peter Phillips, and created what became a birthing location steeped in royal history. In 1981, the Queen's daughter gave birth to her second child, Zara Phillips - which was the first time a royal and their baby were pictured on the actual wing steps.

READ: Royal baby hospital photos - from Kate Middleton to Princess Diana and more

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The world-famous Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital, London

This was then followed by Princess Diana and of course, the Duchess of Cambridge. In total, 12 royal births have taken place here. In recent years, with the births of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, Kate has picked the Lindo Wing as her birthing location.

The exclusive maternity ward has a range of high-profile patients and prices start at £5,900 for a one-night stay - and can rise to £6,275 for a deluxe package. If you wish to stay an additional night, it can cost you £1,175. The price for a stay in one of the unit's suites is available on request, but it thought to be closer to £7,500.

Features in the package include: midwifery care, theatre fees, routine midwife appointments, blood tests, paediatrician fee for first baby, nursery care, meals, celebration afternoon tea and accommodation for the partner. The Lindo Wing is part of St Mary's Hospital, which was first founded in 1845. Pippa Middleton also gave birth to her son here in 2018.

The Portland Hospital

Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew shunned St Mary's hospital for London's most exclusive maternity hospital, the Portland, which is located near Regent's Park.

Favoured by celebrities, this place became the go-to place for Sarah and Andrew, who welcomed Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, in 1988 and 1990 respectively. Nine years later, the Queen's niece, Lady Sarah Chatto, gave birth to her son Samuel at London's Portland Hospital.

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Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson welcomed their daughters at the Portland Hospital

More recently, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan welcomed their first child, Archie Harrison at the Portland. Early reports stated that Meghan had planned a home birth in Windsor, but it was later revealed that the couple had been whisked to London in the night by their security team, and had stayed at the hospital overnight until their son was born at 5.26am.

Later that same day, the couple returned to Frogmore House with their new arrival and a beaming Prince Harry later appeared in front of the press, confirming the baby was a boy. He said Meghan and his son were doing "incredibly well", adding that they were still thinking about names for the infant.

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The Portland is loved by many celebrities

The Portland is Britain's only private maternity hospital, where everyone from Victoria Beckham to Claudia Schiffer has paid a premium price for the ultimate pampered birth. Thanks to their five-star catering, state-of-the-art facilities, the undivided attention of a consultant and silver hand-crafted baby mementos, this can set parents back tens of thousands of pounds.

WATCH: The royal family's best maternity looks through the ages

CEO of Portland hospital, Janene Madden, has previously said of the experience: "What I can advocate about here is that it is like having a holiday. You get to use the nursery, your baby is only brought back for feeding time, so after two or three nights here you leave here feeling really fit and well and ready to face this challenge as a new mum. It's how it should be."

She added via The Mirror: "We have princesses from the middle east who deliver here quite regularly. We have celebrities and individuals of very high net worth and they are used to getting what they want. If they want ten additional rooms or 20 additional rooms we will provide it. As long as that woman or husband can pay for what they are requesting we will do our best to provide that."

Frimley Park Hospital

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The Countess of Wessex opted for NHS Frimley Park Hospital

Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey is where the Countess of Wessex gave birth to her children Lady Louise Windsor and James Viscount Severn.

With her daughter Louise, Sophie had to undergo an emergency caesarean section; the little girl was born ten or 11 weeks premature and Edward had to rush back from Mauritius. Four years later, Sophie chose to have her son James at the same hospital.

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The Earl and Countess of Wessex chose Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey for their children's births

READ: 10 times royals shared a chuckle with their children – Duchess Kate, the Queen and more!

In 2014, Sophie made an emotional visit back to the NHS hospital, where she was honoured to open its new neonatal unit. Hospital CEO Andrew Morris gave a speech in which he talked about the vital work the hospital had done in saving babies' lives. The Countess welled up as she listened to Andrew's speech and unveiled a plaque to mark the new neonatal ward.

"The service you provide is paramount and can literally make the difference between life and death, I can attest to that!" said Sophie, whose life was in danger when she gave birth to Louise.

"It is rare to have the opportunity to thank people for the huge difference they have made at an important time in your life so I am so pleased to be here and to be able to say thank you in person." Sophie's children were the first royal youngsters to be born at an NHS hospital.

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