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Revealed: Zara Tindall, Sophie Wessex and the Queen's dramatic royal births

Palace births aren't always plain sailing

royal babies
Sophie Hamilton
Parenting Editor
24 June 2022
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Welcoming your baby into the world is one of life's wonders - but it can also be very unpredictable. You may have a birth plan in mind, but your little treasure could arrive early, late or with a touch of drama.

MORE: 25 stunning royal mum moments: Princess Diana, Princess Eugenie and more

The royal family have also experienced some tricky births over the years, from premature babies, to surprise home births and long labours. They really are just like us when it comes to welcoming their newborns.

Read about the dramatic childbirth stories of four royal mums…

WATCH: 7 things you never knew about royal babies

The Countess of Wessex's delivery of Lady Louise Windsor

Prince Edward's wife Sophie experienced quite a traumatic birth with her daughter Louise – now age 17 - who was born a month early.

Unlike her royal counterparts, Sophie chose not to give birth to her babies at a London hospital such as St Mary's or The Portland, instead opting for a hospital close to home: Frimley Park in Surrey. Lady Louise arrived into the world by emergency caesarean section at 11.32pm on Saturday 8th November, weighing 4lbs 9oz.

The official announcement read: "Her Royal Highness and her daughter are both stable. As a purely precautionary measure, the baby was taken to the regional neonatal unit at St George's Hospital, Tooting."

baby lady louise

Countess Sophie had a tough time with her first birth

We know the premature birth of Louise was a shock to Sophie, as she spoke of the experience at a reception in India in 2019 while referring to a film highlighting the fight to tackle blindness in premature babies.

She said: "This is the third time I have seen this film A Life with Sight and each time I see it, it makes me cry. My daughter, Louise, was born prematurely and so every time I see anything to do with premature babies, it takes me back to those early days, the shock of her early arrival, and then the realisation that she had a sight issue, which we would have to manage."

Sophie came close to death during the emergency caesarean after she lost nine pints of blood through internal bleeding.

While baby Louise received specialist care at St George's Hospital, Sophie had to remain 35 miles away in Frimley Hospital, Surrey, for another 16 days. The separation from her firstborn and recovery from the birth was undoubtedly a difficult and upsetting period for the royal.

In 2014, The Mail reported on a return trip that Sophie made to Frimley Hospital to open the hospital’s new neonatal unit. She said: "The service you can provide can literally make the difference between life and death. I can attest to that."

Zara Tindall's delivery of Lucas Tindall

Zara and Mike Tindall's third child, Lucas, now seven months, gave the couple quite the surprise with his speedy arrival at their home in Gatcombe Park on Sunday 21 March, weighing 8lbs 4oz.

Dad Mike revealed how his wife gave birth to their son on the bathroom floor as there wasn't enough time to get to hospital.

zara mike tindall

Zara and Mike Tindall

Speaking on The Good, The Bad & The Rugb‪y podcast, he said: "Sunday got even better because a little baby boy arrived at my house," adding how little Lucas, "Arrived very quickly. Didn’t make it to hospital. On the bathroom floor."

He told listeners: "So yeah, it was running to the gym, get a mat, get into the bathroom, get the mat on the floor, towels down, brace, brace, brace."

Mike also added how his wife’s friend Dolly, who was also at the birth of their two daughters, Mia and Lena, was present: "She was there and recognised that we wouldn’t have got to hospital in time."

He added: "Fortunately the midwife who was going to meet us at the hospital wasn’t that far away so she drove up just as we had assumed the posit (position) and the second midwife arrived just after the head had arrived." Mike said that their daughters were elsewhere for the day because Zara had been having contractions through the night.

He also spoke of the pros of having a home birth, revealing: "The best thing about being at home, the best thing was, as soon as he’s wrapped up, he’s skin on skin, straight downstairs. TV room. Golf on. This is what we’re doing."

MORE: Royal children's talents and hobbies: Princess Charlotte, Prince George, Archie Harrison & more

LOOK: Royal kids' most mischievous moments

The Queen's delivery of Prince Charles

The British monarch had a lengthy labour with her firstborn, Prince Charles, who was born via Caesarean section on the evening of 14 November 1948, in the Buhl Room at Buckingham Palace.

According to Town and Country magazine, the room, which was ordinarily used as a guest room, was converted into a 'miniature hospital'.

Her Majesty was only 22 when she gave birth to Charles and in those days, one's husband did not usually attend the birth. Indeed, Prince Philip was not in the room for his firstborn's arrival – following a labour of 30 hours. To pass the time, Philip is said to have played squash with his private secretary in the palace until he got news of his son's arrival.

baby prince charles

Prince Charles as a baby

The Daily Mail revealed: "When the King's private secretary Tommy Lascelles brought the good news, Philip bounded upstairs into the Buhl Room, which had been converted into an operating theatre. He then held his firstborn, still wearing his sporting flannels and open-neck shirt."

Viewers of The Crown will have seen how the Queen reportedly underwent a birthing process called 'twilight sleep', in which she would be given a general anaesthetic for labour and the baby would be born using forceps.

This often controversial process is no longer used in childbirth, and by the time the Queen had Prince Edward, she had opted for other means of delivery.

The Queen Mother's delivery of the Queen

Did you know that our Queen arrived into the world much earlier than expected?

At 2.40am on 21 April 1926, Princess Elizabeth – who would later become Queen of England – was born at 17 Bruton Street of Mayfair, London.

The property was the home of her maternal grandparents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore, and it was there that Elizabeth, Duchess of York (later the Queen Mother) and her husband Albert (later King George VI) welcomed their little girl.

baby queen

A newborn Queen Elizabeth II

The website refers to a report by The Derby Daily Telegraph, which revealed that the Queen was due to arrive later in April but was born "a little earlier than was expected". The night before the birth "it became obvious that the important event was nearer than had been imagined" wrote the paper.

Unusually for the time period, the paper divulged the type of birth – a caesarean section – reporting, "previous to the confinement, a consultation took place… and a certain line of treatment was successfully adopted".

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