Chiswick's Heir Raising Royal Baby Book

Local journalist takes a look at royal births through the ages


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A Chiswick journalist has written a book to commemorate thebirth of the new royal baby.

Royal baby watching reached fever pitch this week as the media and public wait for the arrival of of the first child of Prince William and Kate. The new prince or princess , who will be third in line to the throne, will be known as HRH Cambridge.

Alison James who has lived locally for twenty years, and is herself a mother of three, has published The Royal Baby Book - a Heir Raising History of all things Royal Baby.

For the past two years she been uncovering an amazing array of facts around conception, birth and marriage dating to medieval times.

Prince William and Kate, known formally as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, announced last December that a baby was on its way after Kate was admitted to hospital for four days suffering from severe morning sickness.

Alison, who write mainly showbiz articles says: " I love history and this is a sort of 'history lite'- I wanted it to be fun for readers who don't even like history or who don't like royals as it's full of interesting facts and stories".

She intends to send a copy not only to William and Kate, but to Zara Phillips who has also announced that she is pregnant. Some of the interesting facts she uncovered include:

*Medieval Royal midwives broke their Ladies' waters with specially grown fingernails

* The shortest Royal labour has been 90 mins, the longest three days

* Prince Philip was playing Squash when Prince Charles was born

* Elizabeth II was always dressed in white as a baby

Alison has been working on the book since the Royal Wedding and did the bulk of the research in the evenings and weekends. When Kate announced her pregnancy she knew she had a tight deadline but finished it at the end of May.

She says that one of the most interesting topics to emerge from the research was the importance of members of the royal family as "trailblazers" for the rest of the population, and that is still very much in evidence, particularly where fashion is concerned.

"After Queen Victoria used chloroform during labour, other people started to use it as once a member of the royal family had done so, it became an acceptable thing to do. I found the book very interesting from a social history perspective."

Royal births are public events although Kate will not have to go through the trials of some former royal mothers who laboured in public view. Princess Diana broke with the tradition of the new baby being born in a royal residence, as both her sons were born in St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, with Prince Charles attending the births.

As a mother of three children, now aged 22, 17 and 12, Alison has plenty of advice for the new parents. "I would say that Kate should breastfeed her baby as it will help to keep the baby calm and it's good for women's health. The other advice I would give is to enjoy the experience of new motherhood rather than get too stressed."

She's also in favour of the couple choosing a traditional royal name - favourite ones from history include Eleanor, Berengaria, Phillippa, Adela, Isabella, Harold, Geoffrey, Eustace and Robert.

Alison says W4 is a fantastic place to live in for parents with babies and young children.

"There are so many coffee shops to go now for young mothers, and lots to do, far more than when my children were young. It's the best place to live".

"The book's got everything you've always wanted to know about how Royals throughout history have gone forth and multiplied", says Alison.

So if you have ever wanted to know which pregnant queen had a craving for cucumbers, or who was the youngest or oldest royal mother you can find it out from the book-

The Royal Baby Book, written by Alison James, designed by Charlie Noon, with illustrations by Jenny Phung, is available on Amazon, as an e-book, or by emailing Alison at royalbabybook@mail.com


July 12, 2013

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