Here’s how royal births changed after one doctor came along

The new royal baby, the third child of Prince William and Kate Middleton, is here, and the Internet is ecstatic. Like his brother Prince George and sister Princess Charlotte, the new little prince was welcomed into the world at St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington. But compared to most of the royal family history, these events were outliers. (Need a primer on who’s who in the royal family? Check out our royal family tree.)

The birth of a royal child was always considered an event, but the specific setting of it was very different for several centuries. On June 21, 1982, Prince William made history by becoming the first royal baby born in a hospital. Prior to William’s birth, heirs to the throne were born in palaces, castles, and other royal estates, frequently in front of bystanders, who would serve as witnesses to confirm the legitimacy of the birth.

Related: Meet the new prince! 

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Meet Britain's newest prince!
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Meet Britain's newest prince!
TOPSHOT - Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born son, their third child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on April 23, 2018. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: The newborn son of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge as they depart the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018 in London, England. The Duchess safely delivered a boy at 11:01 am, weighing 8lbs 7oz, who will be fifth in line to the throne. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge holds her newly-born son, her third child, as she and her husband Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (unseen) show him to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on April 23, 2018. - Britain's Prince William accompanied his wife Catherine as she left hospital after giving birth to a baby boy, the couple's third child who is fifth in line to the British throne. (Photo by John Stillwell / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge departs the Lindo Wing with her newborn son at St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018 in London, England. The Duchess safely delivered a boy at 11:01 am, weighing 8lbs 7oz, who will be fifth in line to the throne. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: The newborn son of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge as they depart the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018 in London, England. The Duchess safely delivered a boy at 11:01 am, weighing 8lbs 7oz, who will be fifth in line to the throne. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge depart the Lindo Wing with their newborn son at St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018 in London, England. The Duchess safely delivered a boy at 11:01 am, weighing 8lbs 7oz, who will be fifth in line to the throne. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge depart the Lindo Wing with their newborn son at St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018 in London, England. The Duchess safely delivered a son at 11:01 am, weighing 8lbs 7oz, who will be fifth in line to the throne. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge leaves with her new baby from the Lindo Wing, St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge departs the Lindo Wing with her newborn son at St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018 in London, England. The Duchess safely delivered a boy at 11:01 am, weighing 8lbs 7oz, who will be fifth in line to the throne. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge departs the Lindo Wing with her newborn son at St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018 in London, England. The Duchess safely delivered a boy at 11:01 am, weighing 8lbs 7oz, who will be fifth in line to the throne. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their newborn son outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, pose for photographers with their newborn baby boy outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018 in London, England. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's third child was born this morning at 11:01, weighing 8lbs 7oz. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge depart the Lindo Wing with their newborn son at St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018 in London, England. The Duchess safely delivered a son at 11:01 am, weighing 8lbs 7oz, who will be fifth in line to the throne. (Photo by Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/ WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, pose for photographers with their newborn baby boy outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018 in London, England. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's third child was born this morning at 11:01, weighing 8lbs 7oz. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, depart the Lindo Wing with their newborn son at St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018 in London, England. The Duchess safely delivered a boy at 11:01 am, weighing 8lbs 7oz, who will be fifth in line to the throne. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
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It wasn’t until 1936 that the practice of having an Anglican archbishop and other officials present at the birth was phased out. Privacy proved to be more paramount than some 17th-century aristocrat rolling over in his grave about monarchs switched at birth.

In the 1970s, one of the former royal gynecologists, John Peel, published a widely circulated and influential report which convinced many British women to phase out home births for hospital births, and sure enough, the royal family followed suit. The man responsible for the big switch to royal hospital births was John Pinker, Queen Elizabeth’s surgeon gynecologist.

Pinker followed the advice of his predecessor and eventually was able to put the long-standing royal birth tradition to bed. Pinker would deliver Prince William at St. Mary’s, and then go on to deliver eight more royal babies in his tenure. Princess Diana would enjoy much more privacy than the regal women before her, having an entire hospital wing to herself.

Related: See how childbirth has changed over the years

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Childbirth over the years
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Childbirth over the years
A woman being helped to give birth, on a birth chair, by two midwives, each pulling on a cloth wrapped around the mother's belly, California, USA, circa 1840. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Albert the Great, De Animalibus, folio 145, Difficult childbirth, 15th, FranceParis, Bibliotheque Nationale. (Photo by Photo12/UIG/Getty Images)
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A wet nurse holds a newborn baby surrounded by the birth mother and the new siblings. (Photo by Jonathan Kirn/Corbis via Getty Images)
Lucy Baldwin (1869 - 1945, centre), the wife of former British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, with a baby born by caesarean section, at Queen Charlotte's Hospital, London, 7th February 1930. With her are the surgeon (left) and anaesthetist, who performed the operation. Baldwin is the founder of the Anaesthetics Appeal Fund of the National Birthday Trust Fund (N.B.T.F.), which campaigns for wider provision of analgesia in childbirth. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
July 1939: In an effort to make childbirth as painless as possible, a patient inhales analgesia during labour whilst a nurse looks over her. (Photo by London Express/Getty Images)
Soldier's Son: Pregnancy And Childbirth In Wartime, Bristol, England, 1942, Sister Gwendoline Murphy hands a screaming two-day-old Peter Winston Stacey to his mother Irene for feeding at Southmead Hospital in Bristol. The babies sleep in multiple cots in the nursery and are brought back to their mothers at feeding time, 7 September 1942. (Photo by Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer/ IWM via Getty Images)
Three pyjama-clad little boys are introduced to their newborn baby sister, Janet Lewington, by the midwife after a home delivery in Mottingham, Kent, 4th August 1946. Original Publication : Picture Post - 4201 - A Baby Is Born At Home - pub. 31st August 1946 (Photo by Merlyn Severn/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A nurse in the maternity unit of a hospital keeps an eye on the pressure from the oxygen cyclinder, as they care for a lillte baby girl. January 1949. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
An expectant mother using an inhaler to take the pain killing drug trilene during labour, watched by a hospital midwife. 29th March 1949. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
A nurse handing a newly born baby to its mother, 1956. Original Publication: Picture Post - 9111 - Analgesia - unpub. (Photo by Grace Robertson/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
28th May 1965: Three pregnant women relax in medical 'space-suits' in an attempt to ease childbirth and raise the intelligence of their offspring. A suction pump next to the chairs lowers pressure inside the suits, while a gauge in front of them gives a constant reading. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Felix Gaillard, His Wife And Her Daughter Isabelle In 1958. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
The newly born Letts quintuplets in their incubators at University College Hospital. Father John Letts surveys his instant family of quintuplets as they lie in their incubators at University College Hospital. December 1969 Z12130-010 (Photo by WATFORD/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
Midwife May Guthrie-Lacy photographs the 287th baby which she has delivered at Lytham Hospital. Two day old Nicola Manton and her mother 23 year old Christine will join all the others happy snaps in May Lacy's albums. December 1969 Z12345-002 (Photo by WATFORD/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
The Davis quintuplets and their parents, Jerry and Debbie Davis, pose for a family portrait, their first since the quintuplets' birth on July 18. The quintuplets' names are (left to right) Christa LeJune, Casey Clifton (the only boy), Chanda Jannae, Charla Rae Ann, and Chelsa Lynnae.
JUN 4 1977, JUN 14 1977; St. Luke's Hospital (Gen) Birthing Room.; (Photo By Ernie Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Maternity Department, Tenon Hospital In Paris, France. (Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)
CANADA - JANUARY 08: New to the world: Mary Dininio of Stroud; Ont.; laughs with joy yesterday moments after giving birth to son Myles; as husband Michael looks on at Women's College Hospital. (Photo by Keith Beaty/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
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Some royal traditions, like why Prince George is always wearing shorts or the royal family autograph policy, seem destined to stay in place for a while. But it’s probably for the best that this one went out the door. Just one less job for the archbishop to worry about.

[Source: Mental Floss]

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