ABOUT THE ARTWORK
"When the Queen’s parents suggested she move to a quieter room away from the crowds of well-wishers heard from the front of the Palace, she refused, insisting 'I want my baby to be born in my own room, amongst the things I know.'"
Prince Edward was born 10 March 1964 in the Belgian Suite at Buckingham Palace, attended by midwife Helen Rowe and ob-gyn John Harold Peel. The last of Queen Elizabeth II’s children, it was the first to be active and conscious, at a time when “twilight sleep” - knocking out the mother and delivering via forceps - was beginning to phase out.
All the Queen’s children were Royal homebirths. Her first birth in 1948 had already marked the end of centuries’ long tradition of Royal observation. Historically, at a birth of any potential heir to the throne, the room would be crowded with ladies-in-waiting, midwives, servants and doctors, near crushing Marie Antoinette to death in 1778.
With the birth of her fourth and final child, the Queen was said to lay down the terms for how she wanted to deliver, breaking yet another tradition by having her husband present. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, had always been a nervous expectant father and historically had chosen to spend the Queen’s labours swimming and playing squash. This time he stayed at her bedside holding her hand, the first male Royal partner to be present in the room in years.
In our modern form of collective mass-observation, the whole world watched the two Royal births of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2013 and 2015 through the paparazzi lens trained on the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s hospital. A third Royal baby is expected in April 2018, and rumour has circulated that Prince William and Kate Middleton are strongly considering a Palace homebirth that would restore the tradition after 54 years.