Why Queen Elizabeth II Hid Her Baby Bump

Queen Elizabeth II didn’t embrace her baby bump like Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle did during their pregnancies. Learn why she hid her baby bump during her pregnancies with her and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh’s four children — Charles, Prince of Wales, Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex — ahead. 

Queen Elizabeth II’s experience as a pregnant woman demonstrates just how much times have changed. When she became pregnant with her first child, Prince Charles, she hid her baby bump under loose-fitting blouses, boxy coats, and eventually retreated from public life when her bump became so pronounced she could no longer hide it. This became the norm for Queen Elizabeth II who went on to have three more children.

Why Queen Elizabeth II hid her baby bump

The practice reflected the time period and the general attitude toward pregnancy. From the time she had Prince Charles in 1948 all the way to 1964 when she welcomed her youngest child, Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth II, and Buckingham Palace kept the pregnancies very low-key.

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II. | Samir Hussein/WireImage

It demonstrates how pregnancies weren’t necessarily as celebrated as they are today. People — royals included — are more open about pregnancies today than they have been in the past. 

Queen Elizabeth II didn’t exactly announce pregnancy

According to The New York Times via Express, Buckingham Palace released a perplexing statement announcing the royal wouldn’t be seen in public. “Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth will undertake no public engagements after the end of June,” the statement read.

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles. | Derek Berwin/Fox Photos/Getty Images

They didn’t come out and say the expectant mother was, in fact, pregnant. Instead, they released a weird statement saying she wouldn’t be making appearances. 

Queen Elizabeth II’s experience contrasts young royals

Take Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex. Their experiences being pregnant — three times for Middleton, one for Markle — differ drastically from Queen Elizabeth II’s. 

They along with their significant others — Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex — announced they were expecting with statements (much less cryptic than Queen Elizabeth II’s pregnancy announcements if you could call them that) sometimes in the form of an Instagram post. 

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Just one week ago, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex asked that you kindly consider supporting various organisations around the world in lieu of sending gifts for the upcoming arrival of their first born. Not only did many of you lend your support, you took action. Their Royal Highnesses wanted you to know the impact of your support – the direct effect your donation, energy, and action made! YOU chose to be part of the collective good, and you have made a real difference. Whether a $5 donation, £1000 contribution, offering to volunteer, or spreading the word – you’ve played your part. And on behalf of The Duke and Duchess (and Baby Sussex), we thank you so much. YOUR IMPACT: @thelunchboxfund will now be able to provide a minimum of 100,000 additional hot nutritionally fortified meals to children in dire need across South Africa @littlevillagehq received donations from all over the world (from UAE to Hong Kong and the US), they’ve increased their monthly donors, had a surge in volunteer applications, and re-energized their hard working team of 200+ staff and volunteers @wellchild can now provide 300+ additional hours of specialist care by a Well Child Nurse for a child with serious health needs, allowing families to stay together at home vs in hospital @Baby2Baby have received over 5,000 products to disperse to children in need, including cribs, books, backpacks, diapers and have received monetary donations from around the globe – from Guadalajara to Italy. You made this happen. Thank you.

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Middleton showed off her baby bump during public appearances and talked about expecting a child along with Prince William on many occasions. The same goes for Prince Harry and Markle when they publicly announced they were expecting baby Archie. They attended events together with Markle rocking her baby bump. 

Markle and Middleton took maternity leave but didn’t retreat into hiding like Queen Elizabeth II did when she had her four children. 

Not only did Queen Elizabeth II go out of her way to not be photographed pregnant, but no photographs of her with Prince Charles were published until his christening a month after his birth on Nov. 14, 1948. 

Prince Philip not present at the birth of Prince Charles

Queen Elizabeth II delivered Prince Charles without Prince Philip in the delivery room, something that would make heads turn today. Reportedly, Prince Philip had been playing squash when Prince Charles was born. Back then, it was typical for men to sit in the waiting room during the birth and then celebrate by smoking a cigar. 

This is another example of how much times have changed since Queen Elizabeth II had children. Prince William was in the room with Middleton when she delivered all three of their children in the Lindo Wing of London’s St. Mary’s Hospital. Prince Harry did the same with Markle and baby Archie.