With the birth of royal baby Monday, the world’s eyes turned yet again to the now familiar steps of the Lindo Wing in London’s Paddington district, as the Duchess of Cambridge emerged, effortless in red, hair freshly blown dry, with her newest addition tucked neatly in her arms. So why the heck is Kate heading home from the hospital just seven hours after giving birth — wearing stilettos no less? In the event you weren’t glued to a live feed from the steps of the hospital (you weren’t?), we’ve broken down everything you need to know about the royal arrival:
Why do Prince William and Kate emerge on the same steps after each birth to greet the world?
The newest prince, like his older siblings and indeed his dad, William, and uncle Harry, was born in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in London. The wing is a private, high-end maternity facility located inside the hospital that has “overseen private births for generations of families since 1937,” according to its website. The facilities features hotel-like amenities including large suites, and meals prepared in dedicated kitchens.
When the royal babies are born, they emerge, with their parents onto the wing’s now-famous steps, where they are welcomed by a swarm of reporter and well wishers, who are camped out awaiting them. Diana and Charles greeted fans on the same steps after William’s arrival in 1982.
Fun fact: According to the New York Times, those camped out in anticipation of the royal arrival Monday got a few false alarms as other new parents — neither William nor Kate — emerged, car seat in hand.
Does Kate always go home so soon after giving birth?
As hard as it is to imagine getting out of bed a few hours after labor — much less donning a fancy frock and some heels — it’s not unheard of for Kate. After Prince George’s birth in 2013, she spent the night in the hospital, according to People. But when his little sister, Charlotte, was born two years later, mom headed home after just 10 hours. That would make this latest departure a record, clocking in at less than seven hours after Kensington Palace announced the birth of the new royal.
Why was Kate wearing red?
That’s anybody’s guess, though some have speculated that her outfit choice has less to do with the baby’s gender (she famously wore a blue dress after the birth of Prince George in 2013) and more to do with the fact that today is St. George’s Day in England. A national day of remembrance, St. George’s Day commemorates the patron saint of England, but in recent times has become more of celebratory holiday where the English often wear red in a nod to the country’s flag.
And for those who have asked, her latest going-home dress, like the two before it, is reportedly a Jenny Packham design, punctuated with a Peter Pan collar.
And what in the world is up with those high heels?
This too has a precedent. After both previous births, Kate emerged, hair freshly blown out, feet firmly planted in (impressive-looking) high heels. We’re not quite sure how she does it, but Vogue described today’s shoes as “simple Gianvito Rossi stilettos.” Our takeaway: Get this woman some PJs and a warm bed -- or at least some comfy flats.
Why don’t we yet know the baby’s name?
Like so much of what happened on Monday, the lack of a name to accompany the royal birth announcement is all part of a plan. There are expectations and traditions to take into account.
In the case of their two older children, William and Kate waited two days before sharing the royal monikers, according to Town & Country magazine. George’s 2013 name (George Alexander Louis) was shared through an official announcement from Clarence House. Two years later when Charlotte (Charlotte Elizabeth Diana) was born, the name was announced on the Kensington Palace Twitter account. That would put the money on Wednesday. And in case you’re wondering, the names Arthur and Albert are still leading the British betting pools.
Cynthia Needham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @cynthianeedham.