Here are the bizarre rules Kate Middleton will have to follow when she gives birth
This is a big year for the British royal family - with two weddings, foreign royal tours and a 70th birthday for Prince Charles on the cards. However, perhaps the most exciting event to take place is the birth of Prince William and Kate Middleton's third child. Prince George and Princess Charlotte's new sibling is due to make their entrance into the world in April 2018 and millions are ready to meet the baby who will become fifth in line for the throne.
However, as you might expect, royal births aren't your standard deliveries. In fact, there are certain rules and regulations in place that the Duchess of Cambridge will be expected to adhere to, as dozens of others have before her when any royal baby has been born. And, surprise surprise, they're all a bit bizarre. What, did you think that the royal family were normal or something?
Will Kate give birth at home?
Traditionally, royal babies are always born in royal residences: Elizabeth II was given birth to by the Queen Mother at a private family home in London, and later gave birth to her sons Charles, Andrew and Edward in Buckingham Palace and her only daughter, Princess Anne, at Clarence House, also a royal property. However, Princess Diana broke the mould by giving birth to both Prince William and Prince Harry at St. Mary’s Hospital and Kate continued this new tradition by having George and Charlotte at the same hospital. However, rumour has it, she is considering reverting to royal tradition and having her and William's third child at home.
A royal source allegedly told the Express: "Above all they have agreed that having a home birth would save a massive intrusion into the day-to-day running of any hospital where she gave birth. They were very concerned about the chaos caused with the first two children as hundreds of press and public camped outside for several days, and they would like to avoid a repeat if they could."
There is an obscene amount of help on hand
According to reports, when Kate gave birth to George in 2013 and Charlotte in 2015, both times there were two obstetricians, three midwives, three anaesthetists, four theatre staff, two special care baby unit staff, four paediatricians, one lab technician (in case of blood tests) and three to four hospital managers" present to help out. Midwives, who are sworn to secrecy, are apparently on call for up to three months before the birth. Consultant anaesthetist Dr Johanna Bray explained to the Daily Mail: "You never know when you need to be called, you need to be in town, and available. If you are at a party you need to have your car keys at the ready. No drinking!"
The Queen has to be the first to know
The monarch in power at the time of the birth is traditionally always the first to know about the new addition to the family. For example, it was reported that Prince William rang his grandmother on an encrypted phone when Prince George was born. Afterwards, the Royal couple’s private secretary will inform the Prime Minister, currently Theresa May, and a small number of other highly placed individuals, including the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The town crier will announce the news to the world
While normal families phone around, or perhaps send a picture in the family WhatsApp group, to announce the arrival of a little'un, the British royal family do things a bit differently. Births are announced to the world by the town crier, a person employed to make public announcements in the streets or marketplace of a town. When Kate and William's third baby comes along, Tony Appleton will notify the world, afterwards posting a news bulletin on the time and the date of the baby's birth outside Buckingham Palace. The medieval tradition started centuries ago and was created because many citizens could not read or write, but is still followed even nowadays. These days, the palace also shares the news on Twitter and Facebook.
The royal birth will be saluted
While most babies get a teddy bear and a few balloons, the royal baby will receive a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London in honour of their birth, as well as another 41-gun salute from Green Park, near Buckingham Palace. The two events are meant as a sign of welcome for the new royal baby and help the public celebrate the birth. The Union Jack flag is also flown from government buildings across the country.
But royal rules don't stop with the birth, you know. Any child born into the Windsor family has to follow royal protocol...
The children will have to dress appropriately
Ever notice how George and Charlotte look like they would fit in well back in the Victorian era? Well, there's a reason behind their clothing choices. Age-old etiquette rules govern what the royals must wear when seen out in public. For example, Prince George is always seen in shorts and reportedly not likely to wear trousers until he is seven or eight. Etiquette expert and coach William Hanson told The Sun Online: “Not only does The Duchess of Cambridge have to worry about dressing herself but she has to dress her own children appropriately. She has to find a balance between royal tradition, heritage and more proletariat customs, such as the ‘suburban’ habit of making young boys wear trousers."
They can't fly with their father
Royal protocol dictates that heirs can never fly on the same plane as each other. For Prince George, Princess Charlotte and their new brother or sister, this means that they can never fly with their father due to the risk of there being a fatal crash and Britain losing many of the royal heirs. However, these days, the Queen has the final say on the matter, with her sometimes allowing exceptions. For example, William was able to travel with Prince George on a flight to Australia in 2014.
Charlotte won't wear a tiara until she gets married
As cute as it would be to see Princess Charlotte donning a sparkling diamond tiara, it is something that won't be happening anytime soon. Officially, only married ladies can wear the Queen's jewels so Charlotte may be waiting decades until she can wear them proudly. Furthermore, this means that, while Kate Middleton can wear tiaras, Meghan Markle will have to wait until she gets that ring on her finger.
They must stop eating when their grandmother finishes her meal
According to royal tradition, everyone at the dinner table must stop eating when the monarch finishes his or her meal. This is bad news for George and Charlotte, who will have to stop eating when their grandmother the Queen finishes her dinner. But, then again, who knows if this royal tradition is adhered to all the time. I'm sure the Queen will be willing to make an exception and let her grandkids finish their meal.
They must have no political affiliations when they grow up
While most young people are allowed to develop their own political opinions as they grow up, the royal children, unfortunately, will not be able to do so. Royal family members are allowed no political affiliations and are obliged to remain neutral, so there will be no student marches or political Facebook rants for them.
The royal side of life isn't half different, eh? However, royal protocol certainly doesn't stop here. In fact, every member of the royal family has strict guidelines to follow in every area of life. But in the modern age, these royal regulations are increasingly getting ignored. For example, take Meghan Markle: the Suits star who is due to marry Prince Harry this year has been tearing up the royal rulebook at every opportunity.
Featured illustration by Egarcigu