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Royal Pictures from history: Diana and Charles present William to the world

A picture is worth a thousand words and sometimes captures the essence of a moment more than the most perfect prose. The royal story is filled with images that tell a tale all of their own. In this occasional series, Royal Central looks at some of the best known pictures in regal history and today we rewind almost four decades to a very famous debut in London.

The picture – June 22nd 1982, St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London

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The story

The birth of a son to the Prince and Princess of Wales made headlines around the world. Their baby boy was second in line to the throne from the moment of birth and guaranteed a new line of succession. The little prince’s arrival, at 9.03pm on June 21st 1982 weighing 7lbs 1.5oz, was greeted with widespread celebration and everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of the royal infant who was born, one day, to be king.

Less than 24 hours after becoming a mother for the first time, Diana left hospital with her baby boy. But as she appeared on the steps of the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, she and her husband took everyone by surprise. For it was the royal dad who presented their baby son to the world for the first time.

William, whose name still hadn’t been announced at that point, was carried into the public eye by the Prince of Wales who then passed the sleeping second in line to the throne to his mum. The moment doting dad Charles nestled his firstborn son into Diana’s arms became an iconic image in the history of the House of Windsor.

What happened next?

Prince William’s childhood was documented in endless detail and by the time he next appeared on the steps of the Lindo Wing, to visit his baby brother Harry following his arrival in September 1984, he was one of the most famous people in the world. And despite the sadness that affected parts of his childhood, including the very public split between his parents and his mother’s early death in a car crash in Paris in 1997, the moment where the world met William for the first time remains a celebrated image in his royal story.

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