The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are no doubt excited to welcome their first child, with royal watchers eagerly waiting to celebrate another milestone. Over the past few decades, members of the British royal family have emerged from hospital within hours of their child's arrival, proudly showing off their new bundle of joy to the waiting world. However, it is yet to be revealed where Meghan plans to give birth. Will she pick St Mary's hospital, the location her sister-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, chose for all three children? Or will Meghan opt for the celebrity go-to choice Portland hospital, where the likes of Sarah Ferguson, Victoria Beckham and Kate Winslet have given birth?
The 'posing on the steps' moment gives well-wishers the first opportunity to catch a glimpse of the newborn in front of the hospital, where the happy royal couples stand for the photographers and the delighted fans. From Kate to Princess Diana and Princess Anne, as well as the Countess of Wessex, here at HELLO!, we take a look back at where the world was introduced to many of the royals babies.
St Mary's Hospital
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. 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.
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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.
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.
The Portland is loved by many celebrities
This 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.
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
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. The NHS hospital is roughly 16 miles away from Windsor or a quick 30-minute drive – so a good option for Meghan. 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.
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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