How Britons Welcome a New Royal: Princess Charlotte

A radiant Kate greets the media and multitude of waiting fans outside of St Mary’s Hospital less than 12 hours after giving birth to her new Princess. The Duchess is wearing a custom silk buttercup-print Jenny Packham dress, the same designer she donned when leaving the hospital with Prince George. KG-C-03/Star Max/IPX/AP Images

When it was announced in late September The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were expecting their second child, Britons rejoiced at the happy news. Royal fever once again gripped the world with renewed fervor, just as it had before the couple's wedding, The Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the birth of Prince George. Bookies immediately began taking bets on both the gender and the name. By March, gamblers' interest in the unborn child had grown to a frenzy. Kate's final prenatal Royal appearance, in a vibrant pink topcoat, prompted the odds to shift drastically in favor of girls names with Alice, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Victoria and Alexandra topping the list of favorites. When Princess Charlotte was finally born (her full title is Her Royal Highness Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge), bookies all over the U.K. paid out.

As the Royal birth neared, excitement mixed with anxiety in the minds of Britons and Monarchy superfans around the world. Amid scares of an antibiotic-resistant infection at St Mary's Hospital, where Charlotte was scheduled to enter the world, one of the wards was completely shut down, and the patients were quarantined just days before Princess Kate's expected due date. The press even went so far as to wonder if Charlotte would be born outside the capital city. On April 21, Kate was spotted on a playdate with Prince George—whom his mother calls "Georgie"—in the town of Buckleberry. But back in London, physicians Alan Farthing and Guy Thorpe-Beeston were patiently waiting for Kate and Charlotte's big moment. The proud great- grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, was also waiting to approve the new Princess's full name: Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.

In truth, everyone was waiting. Nannies, stylists, cousins and a patient population couldn't wait to meet the new addition. On April 28, The Duke and Duchess sent fans camped out at the hospital pastries and coffee as a token of their appreciation. But on Saturday, May 2 at 8:34 a.m. local time (3:34 a.m. EST), The Duchess Kate gave birth to a healthy 8-pound, 3-ounce girl. The baby is fourth in line to the British throne after her grandfather, Prince Charles; her father, Prince William; and her big brother, Prince George. Though the wait for the baby's birth seemed to last a lifetime, her debut took relatively no time at all. Less than 12 hours after delivering, Kate emerged from the hospital with a glowing smile on her face, her newborn daughter in her arms and her husband by her side.

The Duchess of Cambridge's pregnancy was, as her first had been, marked by public interest in two distinct ways: Kate's remarkable stiff upper lip in the face of her debilitating hyperemesis gravidarum—an extremely acute and prolonged morning sickness—and her maternity wardrobe. As usual, her style managed the miraculous by navigating the conservative doldrums of Royal-Family dress, while still adding a bit of excitement. Even while sick, pregnant and responsible for the survival of a branch of the Royal Family tree, Kate kept her pretty head above water. It's a visual representation of the hope that The Duchess will raise Prince George and Princess Charlotte to have the same steadfast determination and unwavering vitality as their mum.


Monarchy enthusiasts from New Zealand to New York kept a watchful eye on the Royal bump from the moment the Duchess's pregnancy was announced. In April, when her belly was visible even through the thick hunting jacket photographers snapped her in, excitement about Kate's pregnancy reached unprecedented levels. While taking it easy with Princes George and William in the British countryside and enjoying their final moments as a Royal three, speculation rose that the new Royal would be born outside of London. When The Duchess returned to the capital on April 22, the eyes of the world followed suit, as fans anxiously awaited the moment when Kate, William and their yet-to-be-named baby girl would wave for the crowds gathered in front of the Lindo Wing (just as they had with George) to catch a glimpse of the newborn draped in a white knit blanket and hat. Now that Charlotte has finally joined William, Kate, George and the rest of the Royals, William and Kate's picture postcard family is perfect, complete with two kids and a dog.

This article appears in Newsweek's special edition, Princess Charlotte, by Issue Editor Lesley Savage.

James Whatling/Splash News/Corbis. Digital imaging by Eric Heintz