If you think that royal baby mania is a new thing, think again. Seventy years ago this week, ahead of the birth of Prince Charles, the papers were filled with plenty of stories about his parents, their plans and a very regal pregnancy. As the then Princess Elizabeth prepared for the arrival of her first child, no morsel of information about her expected baby was too small to merit a mention.
On the day before Charles made his debut, his mum made the front of papers across the land. Readers were told that Princess Elizabeth, then aged 21, and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, had been seen heading out to dinner with friends just days earlier. Philip had taken the wheel for this excursion, driving his wife the short distance from Buckingham Palace to Chester Street in London where they were entertained by their friends, Lord and Lady Brabourne. Papers from Dundee to Birmingham carried details of the dinner date with headlines like ‘’Princess Elizabeth Leaves the Palace’’ making the front pages of many publications.
There was more news for readers following every moment of the last stages of this royal pregnancy. Some papers, including the Gloucester Citizen, reported that the princess had been ‘’following her usual routine’’ as her baby’s arrival drew closer, taking a stroll in the gardens of Buckingham Palace as she usually did in the morning. There were also details of her medical care with news that her team of doctors had been visiting her and that all was progressing well ahead of the royal birth.
Meanwhile, others reported on the crowds that were already starting to gather outside Buckingham Palace where the princess would welcome her first baby. The Liverpool Echo noted that people were already taking up their positions outside the London landmark to be among the first to hear news of the royal arrival as soon as it was announced.
They had a bit of a wait, as we now know. Princess Elizabeth gave birth to a son at 9.14pm on November 14th 1948. This week, the proud mama, now Queen, will welcome a host of guests, including European royalty, into Buckingham Palace to celebrate a milestone birthday for the son she welcomed amid royal baby mania seventy years ago.