To mark the arrival of His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge, The Royal Baby Book, a Souvenir Album is the official publication approved by the royal family. Published by Royal Collection Trust, it tells the story of seven heirs to the throne from Queen Victoria to Prince William of Wales through items from the Royal Collection, the Royal Archives and the private collections of members of the Royal Family. Intimate photographs and letters, favourite toys, prams and cots, and even the future King’s first pair of shoes shed light on the lives of these royal babies from birth and infancy to arrival at school. Many of the objects and documents are published here for the first time. The book concludes with photographs of the highly anticipated first public appearance of Prince George of Cambridge on the steps of St Mary’s Hospital.
Queen Victoria was born Princess Victoria to the Duke and Duchess of Kent at Kensington Palace at 4.15am on 24 May 1819. Her silver-gilt rattle, today in the Royal Collection, incorporates a coral teething stick, six bells and a whistle. It can be seen in the very first portraitofthefuturemonarch,paintedbyJohnFischerin1819. AsayoungchildthePrincess spent many hours playing with her dolls’ house and made over 100 outfits for her wooden dolls, several of which survive today.
Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert had nine childr en. Their first son, Prince Albert Edward, known as ‘Bertie’, the future King Edward VII, was born on 9November1841. AttheageofeightmonthsBertiereceivedhisfirstpairofshoes,madeof soft blue velvet with button ankle ties. Some months later, Queen Victoria wrote in her journal of her son’s first steps, ‘the Baby walked so fast & strongly holding on to his Father by only one hand’. Victoria fastidiously recorded her children’s infancy and childhood. She kept their first teeth, including Bertie’s two front teeth, in a velvet-lined casket. Locks of hair from each child are preserved in the heart-shaped lockets of a bracelet given to Victoria by Prince Albert.
On 3 June 1865 Prince George of Wales, the future King George V, was born to Albert Edward, Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra (the future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) at Marlborough House in London. At one month old, the Prince was christened in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. A velvet-covered copy of the ceremonial used for the service contains a hand-decorated sheet with a chorale written by his grandfather, Prince Albert. The book shows the infant’s first pair of booties, knitted in cream wool and decorated with pom-poms.
In 1892 Prince George was created Duke of York and the following year married Princess Victoria Mary of Teck (later King George V and Queen Mary). On 14 December 1895 at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate, their second son, Prince Albert, known to his family as ‘Bertie’, was born – he ascended to the throne in 1937 as King George VI. The infant Bertie was first photographed at one month old, and one of these photographs was pasted into his baby book by his mother. The appearance of his first tooth at seven months is also recorded, and Queen Mary continued to chart her son’s development until his 21st birthday in 1916.
Princess Elizabeth (Her Majesty The Queen), the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (formerly Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon), was born in the early hours of 21 April 1926 at No.17 Bruton Street. A page from the Princess’s ‘Progress Book’ notes that her length was ’20 inches’, her eyes ‘blue’ and her hair ‘fair and curly’. She was christened in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace on 29 May 1926, dressed in the christening robe made for Queen Victoria’s eldest child, Prince Albert Edward. The following year, Princess Elizabeth spent the summer at Glamis Castle in Scotland, visiting her maternal grandparents. Her mother noted, ‘Elizabeth is learning to walk – very dangerous!’ Throughout her childhood the Princess was photographed on numerous occasions by her parents. In one image she is seen playing with a toy horse, in another she sits on the pony given to her by her grandfather King George V to mark her fourth birthday.
Prince Charles of Edinburgh (His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales) was born to Princess Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace on the evening of 14 November 1948. The Prince was christened in the Palace’s Music Room by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the same christening gown that his mother Princess Elizabeth had worn.
Prince William of Wales was born to Their Royal Highnesses The Prince and Princess of Wales on 21 June 1982 at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington and was christened William Arthur Louis Philip in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace on 4 August. A watercolour painted by John Ward records the occasion and shows the Archbishop of Canterbury holding the Prince with his parents close by. Much of the Prince’s childhood was spent at Highgrove in Gloucestershire, the country home of The Prince of Wales, where he was photographed riding his pony Smokey and playing ‘dress up’ in the uniform of the Parachute Regiment. In 2011 Prince William married Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey. On 22 July 2013, following royal tradition, the official announcement of the birth of a son to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was taken from St Mary’s Hospital and driven to Buckingham Palace, before being placed on an easel in the Palace forecourt.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first child was born (22nd July 2013) at St Mary’s Hospital in London. The boy, has been named, George Alexander Louis weighed 8lb 6oz, and becomes third in line to the throne.