All four of her children were born at either Buckingham Palace or Clarence House, with makeshift maternity wards set up and doctors brought in. Per custom at the time, Prince Philip wasn’t present for the birth of Prince Charles. To get rid of pent-up energy, he reportedly played squash outside until he was allowed to come in.
Princess Diana modernized many of the royal birth traditions by going to a hospital instead. Decades later, the Duchess of Cambridge chose the same place — the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital — for her first two pregnancies as well. Oh, and this time dad-to-be Prince William made the cut.
After becoming a mother for the first time at age 23, the Queen gave birth to Princess Anne just two years later in 1950. But her father’s subsequent death forced the young royal to then focus on her new role as sovereign. She waited until 1960 to welcome Prince Andrew and Prince Edward would arrive in 1964.
The Duchess had Prince George when she was 32, and gave birth to Princess Charlotte two years later on May 2, 2015. Now, the world is eagerly awaiting a third baby due in April 2018. That means all of the royal siblings will stay close in age — at least for now.
As a new monarch, she didn’t show much public affection for her two oldest children, once greeting a 5-year-old Charles and 3-year-old Anne with handshakes after a five-month tour. But the time Andrew was born, the Queen changed: “Evidence suggests she became warmer and more flexible as time went by,” historian Robert Lacy told Town & Country.
The Duchess faces less protocol than a reigning monarch, and modern norms allow her to act more naturally with her children. Not only does she soothe their temper tantrums and tote them around, but she and William often get on eye level. “This behavior shows that their children are their primary focus,” says body language expert Patti Wood.
Just like her own upbringing, the monarch often entrusted her children’s care to nannies and staff while she fulfilled her duties. Besides frequent visits to her husband’s posting in Malta, she and Prince Philip famously left on a six-month tour to Canada when Prince Charles was just a toddler.
The Duke and Duchess embarked on a Commonwealth tour of their own as young parents, but they chose to bring 9-month-old Prince George with them. His adorable antics in Australia and New Zealand stole the show.
Smart shoes, coats, and socks dominated the siblings’ wardrobes for public appearances, but the dress code before the Queen’s time used to be even stranger. Until the early 19th century, well-to-do boys would wear gowns or dresses until the age of 8, etiquette expert Grant Harrold tells BBC.
While the Duchess still follows British traditions (i.e. lots of shorts — even in cold weather!), she does let her toddlers get more relaxed on some occasions. Case in point: Prince George met the Obamas in his adorable — and now iconic — bathrobe.
The Queen faced criticism for her reserved nature with her children, but she didn’t comment much on the intense scrutiny. It’s clear that she takes the role very seriously though. Back at an awards ceremony in 2012, Kate Winslet told the Queen she “loves being a mum” even more than being an actress, to which the monarch reportedly replied: “Yes. That’s the only job which matters.”
The Duchess admits that motherhood, while “rewarding and wonderful” can be “a huge challenge.” “There is no rulebook, no right or wrong; you just have to make it up and do the very best you can to care for your family,” she said in 2017 at an event supporting mental health services for families.
Like royal children before him, Prince Charles had a governess (nicknamed “Mispy”) during his early years. He became the first one to receive education outside of the palace however, when the Queen enrolled him in Hill House School in 1957.
Just like Princess Diana, the Duchess decided to have her children socialize with other kids from an early age. Not only did she send both to preschool as toddlers, but she also took their photos on the first day!
Among the interests the monarch passed on to her kids was a love of horses. Anne even became an Olympic-level equestrian! The Queen also enrolled her children in Girl Guides and promoted plenty of sports such as polo.
A regular Wimbledon attendee, the Duchess apparently shares a penchant for tennis with her son. She’s also all about encouraging Prince George’s love for dinosaurs and anything with wheels, and Prince Charlotte’s natural knack for dancing.
This post originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.