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British RoyalsFeatures

A future king makes his debut: the moment Charles and Diana presented baby William to the world

Photo: Charlie Proctor/Royal Central

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. As the Duke of Cambridge marks his fortieth birthday, we rewind to his 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. He has since stood on the same steps three times as he and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, presented their own children for the first time.

Forty years on, the moment where the world met William for the first time remains a celebrated image in his royal story.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton, a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. June has been a reporter, producer and editor, picking up several awards over the years. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.