Why Royal Women Were Told to Drink Alcohol Immediately Following Childbirth

Members of the royal family usually abide by long-standing traditions and protocol but much has changed over the years when it comes to royal women giving birth to future heirs. In the past, royal births only took place at home, without modern medicine, and women drinking alcohol afterward for a specific reason.

Royal babies were always born at home until this royal changed that

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and their children Prince Charles and Princess Anne
Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and their children Prince Charles and Princess Anne | AFP via Getty Images

For centuries royal women always had their babies at home. Queen Elizabeth II was born at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair in the house of her maternal grandparents. And all of the queen and Prince Philip’s children were born in a palace.

Prince Charles was born in Buckingham Palace as were both of his brothers, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, but Princess Anne was not.

The Princess Royal was born at Clarence House, which is another one of the family’s royal residences located in London. According to Town & Country, the reason she was born there is because at the time Buckingham Palace was undergoing renovations to repair the damage it sustained during World War II.

However, this rule changed when Princess Diana opted to have Prince William in St. Mary’s instead of at home, making him the first British heir to the throne ever born in a hospital.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana at St. Mary's Hospital with Prince William
Prince Charles and Princess Diana at St. Mary’s Hospital holding newborn Prince William | © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Why new mothers were told to drink wine following the birth

According to The Loop, the royals ladies did not have painkillers during the at-home births until 1853 when Queen Victoria requested her doctor give her chloroform while she was in labor with her eighth child.

Prior to that, during the Regency period, royal women in England were advised to drink alcohol to help survive childbirth. They opted to drink a concoction called a “caudle.” Author Diane Morris noted that a caudle was a ”warm drink made by mixing a thin gruel of oatmeal with wine or ale, spices, and sugar.”

The advice to do so was given by a physician named Dr. Edmund Chapman who wrote: “The woman is to drink freely of white-wine caudle and chicken broth; the latter of which is more necessary after a great loss of blood. If she continues to have an immoderate discharge, her caudle is to be made with red wine, instead of a white.”

Queen Elizabeth II drinking champagne
Queen Elizabeth II drinking champagne | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

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Who is the first to know when a royal baby is born

If you’re wondering who is the first person notified after a royal gives birth, that would be the monarch.

Today, Queen Elizabeth II must be alerted before siblings, friends, and even the child’s grandparents. After the birth of each of his children, Prince William, for example, reportedly contacted the queen right away via an encrypted phone to share the news.