|Victoria, Princess Royal, 1842|
While, unlike the Duchess of Cambridge, Queen Victoria didn’t have the media camped outside the hospital or dogging her every move, she did not exactly have privacy, either. If you follow the link to the rest of the account (too long to post here), you may be surprised at how public the birth of her first child was.
The Court.The town was taken somewhat by surprise on Saturday afternoon, by the announcement that the Queen had given birth to a Princess. For although the event was expected to occur shortly, the wise in such matters had set it down for some days later. The ringing of bells, however, which spread from spire to spire, strengthened the report as it ran from mouth to mouth; and in a little while a royal salute from the Tower-guns confirmed it. In the evening, the following official announcement was published in a London Gazette Extraordinary—
"Buckingham Palace, 21st November 1840.—This afternoon, at ten minutes before two, the Queen was happily delivered of a Princess. His Royal Highness Prince Albert, her Royal Highness the Dutchess* of Kent, several Lords of her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, and the Ladies of her Majesty's Bedchamber, being present.
"This great and important news was immediately made known to the town, by the firing of the Tower guns; and the Privy Council being assembled as soon as possible thereupon, at the Council-Chamber, Whitehall, it was ordered, that a form of thanksgiving for the Queen's safe delivery of a Princess be prepared by his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, to be used in all churches and chapels throughout England and Wales, and the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, on Sunday the 29th of November, or the Sunday after the respective ministers shall receive the same.
"Her Majesty and the young Princess are, God be praised, both doing well."
The Court Circular contains the following official record of the circumstances and observances with which the event was ushered in—
Read the full account here.
*Spelling has not been corrected.
Illustrations courtesy Wikipedia: above, Winterhalter, Portrait of Victoria, Princess Royal, 1842, below:, Winterhalter, The Princess Victoria, Princess Royal as Crown Princess of Prussia in 1867.