What Giving Birth Was Like For Royal Women Throughout History

Kate Middleton gave birth to her three children at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, but would you believe that bearing a royal in a hospital is a fairly new concept?

The first direct heir to the throne born in a hospital was Prince William in 1982. Royal family births have been steeped in tradition (and superstition) for centuries. Unlike today, royal women back then would have to give birth in front of an audience or in a dark, airless room! Read on to see what else history’s royal pregnant women had to endure…

You won’t believe what dangerous drug Queen Victoria requested when she delivered her eighth child!

It May As Well Have Been Televised

Marie -Antoinette, Queen of France, and her children: Louis-Joseph-Xavier-Francois (1781-1789), Louis-Charles de France (b. 1785; afterwards Louis 17) and Marie-Therese-Charlotte de France (born 1778; afterwards Duchesse d' Angouleme).
Culture Club/Getty Images

Marie Antoinette delivered her first baby in front of an entire crowd of people. Officials and courtiers alike were invited to view the birth of the baby, in order to ensure its gender and that it wasn’t switched out for another.

When Marie Antoinette was about to deliver, an announcement prompted people to flood into her birthing chambers to watch it all go down. King Louis XVI made an effort to secure her space with cords, but that hardly helped as some people were climbing the furniture to get a good look. Marie reportedly fainted from all the body heat.