The 'bitter lessons' the royals learned from Prince George's birth

Danielle Stacey
Royal Correspondent

The Queen’s former press secretary has said the media won’t know the royal baby is on the way until the Duchess of Sussex is actually in hospital, because of the chaos outside the Lindo Wing around Prince George’s birth in 2013.

Dickie Arbiter says: “[Kensington Palace] learnt bitter lessons when Prince George was born.

“The media were camping outside the Lindo Wing in Paddington for about six or seven weeks.

“It was disrupting the hospital, disrupting ambulances, disrupting people wanting to go into the hospital for treatment or visiting.”

Hundreds of reporters, photographers and TV camera crews from across the world gathered outside the private maternity wing at St Mary’s hospital in Paddington, ahead of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge‘s eldest child’s birth.

Speaking on Yahoo UK‘s ‘The Royal Box,’ Mr Arbiter says: “The security services laid down the law when Louis was born that nobody was to go in the pens, they set the pens up, nobody was to go into the pens until the duchess was physically in the hospital.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge outside the Lindo Wing with a newborn Prince George in July 2013 [Photo: PA]

Parking restrictions and barriers were put in place outside the Lindo Wing in the weeks leading up to Prince Louis’ birth on April 23 last year, but royal aides didn’t allow any media to take their positions until Kate was in hospital.

The same guidelines were used for the birth of Kate and William’s second child Princess Charlotte in 2015.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting their first child within the coming weeks, but Kensington Palace have still not confirmed where the baby will be delivered.

The couple have reportedly chosen a maternity unit close to their new home Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, instead of the Lindo Wing.

The media outside the Lindo Wing following Prince George’s birth in 2013 [Photo: Getty]

One of the closest options for them is Frimley Park hospital in Surrey, which is around 16 miles from Frogmore Cottage.

It’s also where Sophie, Countess of Wessex had her two children Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn.

Mr Arbiter says: “The thing is with Frimley Park there’s a lot of private space around the main entrance, whereas at the Lindo Wing, it’s a public highway.

“This press pen was using part of the public highway and also they [the media] were utilising the cafeteria.

“They were lounging all over the place which meant that people going in to visit or going in for treatment couldn’t use the cafeteria, because there wasn’t any room.”