In fairy tale and princess-themed movies, special occasions are marked with a wave of traditions, grand announcements, and revelry. You wonder if things are really like that somewhere, for someone.

They are. For Britain’s royal family, the birth of a baby is a major event with ties to centuries-old customs. The popularity of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has spawned a new interest in the modern royal family and some of these customs.

With a new royal baby on the way, welcoming the child into the family will be marked with a host of traditions, both new and old. Take a peek at some of the ways the monarchy has handled births in the past, and what goes on today when a royal baby comes into the world!

  1. Home Births

    Before Princess Diana, mothers gave birth to royal babies at home with a doctor and midwives present. She changed that when she delivered both of her sons at St. Mary’s Hospital, sparking a new tradition. It’s the same hospital where Duchess Kate has also had her first two children.

  2. Delivery Room Witnesses

    To legitimize births, government officials had to be present in the delivery room with the mothers. In fact, Queen Elizabeth II’s birth was attended by the Home Secretary in 1926. The tradition dates back to the 1600s when rumors swirled about impostor babies being smuggled into the palace.

    Sounds like a movie plot, right? Witnesses are no longer a requirement for royal births!

  3. Crying Announcement

    How would you like to have a town crier announcing your birthday? In keeping with another old custom, royal births are announced by a town crier who dresses in period clothing and unravels a scroll to let the public know about the baby.

    How cool! In medieval times, much of the public couldn’t read so a crier served as the PR person for the palace. You may want to get yourself one for your next major event.

  4. Gun Salute

    To this day, births are celebrated with a 42-gun salute at the Tower of London and a 21-gun salute takes place at either Hyde Park or Green Park. A team of horses leads a procession with cannons in tow and usually a band too! Princess Charlotte was the last baby to be honored this way.

  5. Christening Ceremony

    One of the sweetest moments is the christening ceremony, where each royal baby has worn the same gown, handed down from the era of Queen Victoria. Aside from the royal fanfare, the wearing of a family heirloom is something we can all relate to!

 

Click on the video below to learn about other royal birth traditions and how much they’ve changed. It is likely that some of these traditions won’t be going anywhere because of the family’s royal lineage. It’s hard not to be excited about a new baby, whether you’re a royal or not, and it will be interesting to see the Brits celebrate the arrival of their next little royal, cannons and all!

Were you aware of these royal baby customs? Which one would be fun for you to have? Which would you rather not?