Our royal birth reports span 300 years but happy news is just the same

In the Belfast News Letter 279 years ago, to the month, there was a report of a royal birth.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 24th April 2018, 10:48 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th April 2018, 11:36 am
Morning View
Morning View

The report was published in the edition dated March 23 1738, which for reasons that are now hard for most of us to understand was equivalent to April 3 1739 in the modern calendar (the then Julian calendar was used, and the new year began at the end of March).

The report read:

“Yesterday between twelve and one o’Clock her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales felt some Labour Pains, upon which Mrs. Cannon, her Royal Highness’s Midwife, was sent for, who was of Opinion that her Royal Highness would soon be delivered, whereupon his Royal Highness the Prince sent a Message, by the Lord of the Bedchamber in waiting, to his Majesty, to acquaint him therewith; upon which his Majesty sent a Message to the House of Peers, on receiving of which the House immediately adjourned, and the Right Hon. the Lord High Chancellor... and Peers of his Majesty’s most Hon. Privy Council, and some of the Lords the Bishops repaired to Norfolk House, where her Royal Highness was happily delivered of a Prince, about Two o’Clock in the Afternoon; and her Royal Highness and the new-born Prince,were last Night judged to be in a fine Way of doing well.

“And last Night there were ringing of Bells, Bonefires, and illuminations throughout the Cities of London and Westminster, and an uncommon Joy appeared on this happy Encrease [sic] of the Royal Family.

This was the birth of Prince Edward, Duke of York and Albany.

He was second son to Frederick, Prince of Wales, who was estranged from his own father, King George II. Frederick died before his dad, and did not make king, so his eldest son – Edward’s brother– became George III, ‘the king who lost America’.

Yesterday Kensington Palace said Kate Middleton was in labour, and then revealed that a prince was born at 11.01am: “Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.”

The message came via Twitter, but otherwise the news is remarkably similar to the report of almost 300 years ago.

And the public interest in this happy moment seems just as great.