Photos Show How Royal Motherhood Has Changed

The Queen gave birth to all of her children at home.

Queen Elizabeth with Princess Anne and Prince Charles as children


Princess Elizabeth with Princess Anne and Prince Charles.

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Queen Elizabeth was 22 when she had her first child, Prince Charles.

In an authorized biography of Charles, author Jonathan Dimbleby wrote that the prince was mostly raised by nannies and staff.

Queen Elizabeth watches Prince Charles drive a toy car at Balmoral Castle.


Queen Elizabeth Prince Charles driving in a toy car on the grounds of Balmoral Castle.

Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

“Such an upbringing was by no means rare in those days (at least those households that could afford the appropriate staff),” Dimbleby wrote in “Prince of Wales: A Biography.” “Although Prince Charles was not starved of parental affection, it was inevitably the nursery staff (interpreting the will of their employers) who taught him to play, who witnessed his first steps, who punished and rewarded him, who helped him put his first thoughts into words.”

The Queen still found quiet moments to spend with her children amid her busy schedule.

Queen Elizabeth with Prince Charles and Princess Anne at Balmoral Castle


Queen Elizabeth with Prince Charles and Princess Anne at Balmoral Castle in 1952.

Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth often spent vacations at Balmoral Castle, the royal family’s summer residence in the Scottish Highlands.

Princess Diana’s pregnancies were announced more clearly, and she made plenty of public appearances.

Princess Diana pregnant before the birth of Prince William in 1982.


Princess Diana on her last official engagement before the birth of Prince William in 1982.

David Levenson/Getty Images

”The Prince and Princess of Wales, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and members of both families are delighted by the news,” the palace’s official announcement read when Diana was pregnant with Prince William in 1981. “The Princess is in excellent health. The Princess hopes to continue to undertake some public engagements but regrets any disappointment which may be caused by any curtailment in her planned program.”

She broke from tradition and became the first royal to give birth in a hospital.

princess diana prince harry hospital


Prince Charles and Princess Diana with a newborn Prince Harry.


Diana gave birth to Prince William and Prince Harry at the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in London.

Diana strived to give her children normal childhoods with trips to Disney World and McDonald’s.

princess diana prince harry disney


Princess Diana and Prince Harry ride Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World in 1993.


In an HBO documentary called “Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy,” Prince Harry remembered his mother as “a total kid through and through.”

“One of her mottos to me was ‘You can be as naughty as you want, just don’t get caught,'” he said.

Since Diana’s death, both Harry and William have remained close with their grandmother.

Queen Elizabeth laughs with Prince Harry and Prince William


Queen Elizabeth with her grandsons, Prince William and Prince Harry.

Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Prince William told Katie Couric in 2012 that the Queen is a “very good listener.”

“If you ever have problems, she will listen, and she will try to help,” he said. “But otherwise she lets you get on with things, and carve your own path. Your successes are your successes, and your failures are your failures. But she’ll be there to help.”

In his interview with Oprah Winfrey last year, Harry said that he’s remained close with the Queen despite rifts with other royal family members, and speaks to her on


regularly so she can chat with his son, Archie.

“I’ve spoken more to my grandmother in the last year than I have done for many, many years,” he said. “My grandmother and I have a really good relationship and an understanding. And I have a deep respect for her. She’s my colonel-in-chief, right? She always will be.”

Kate Middleton continued carrying out royal engagements during her pregnancies, though she canceled appearances due to extreme morning sickness.

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry at an event. Kate Middleton is pregnant.


Prince William, Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry in 2018.


Middleton announced her first pregnancy earlier than other royals after she was admitted to hospital with hyperemesis gravidarum, or acute morning sickness, in 2012. Her subsequent pregnancies were also announced in tandem with canceling appearances due to hyperemesis gravidarum.

In a discussion about how parents have been impacted by the pandemic, Middleton shared that pandemic parenting has been exhausting.

Kate Middleton holds Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte


Kate Middleton holds Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte at a performance for frontline workers in 2020.


“I think as parents you’ve the day-to-day elements of being a parent, but I suppose during lockdown we have had to take on additional roles that perhaps others in our communities, or in our lives, would have perhaps supported us and helped us with,” Middleton said in the conversation, which was posted on The Royal Family YouTube page in January 2021.

She continued: “I’ve become a hairdresser this lockdown, much to my children’s horror, seeing mum cutting hair. We’ve had to become a teacher – and I think, personally, I feel pulled in so many different directions and you try your best with everything, but at the end of the day I do feel exhausted.”

As a working royal, Meghan Markle continued making public appearances while pregnant, and even went on a tour of Australia and New Zealand.

meghan markle pregnant baby bump


Meghan Markle in 2019.


Markle announced her first pregnancy on Kensington Palace’s official Instagram account. She and Prince Harry shared the news before their royal tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga in 2018.

Markle gave birth to Archie at Portland Hospital in Westminster, and Lilibet was born in California.

meghan harry cuddling baby


Meghan Markle and Prince Harry pose with their new son during a photocall inside Windsor Castle.

Dominic Lipinski – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Unlike Middleton, and Diana before her, Harry and Markle decided to skip the hospital photo-op and instead waited two days after the birth of Archie to introduce their new baby to the world.

“Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private,” Buckingham Palace shared in a statement before Archie’s birth. “The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family.”

Lilibet was born after Harry and Markle had stepped back from their roles as working royals, so there was no public introduction.

She has advocated for paid family leave in the US, and she wrote a bestselling children’s book based on Harry and Archie’s father-son bond.

Meghan Markle's picture book "The Bench."


Meghan Markle’s book “The Bench.”

Leon Neal/Getty Images

In October, Markle wrote a letter to Congress advocating for paid family leave.

“I’m not an elected official, and I’m not a politician,” she wrote. “I am, like many, an engaged citizen and a parent. And because you and your congressional colleagues have a role in shaping family outcomes for generations to come, that’s why I’m writing to you at this deeply important time—as a mom—to advocate for paid leave.”

In June, Markle published a picture book called “The Bench” inspired by Harry and Archie’s close bond. It became a New York Times bestseller.

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