Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's a boy!

November 3, 1961

Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, gave birth to a son this morning.   The child is fifth in line to the throne.  He will bear the courtesy title Viscount Linley

The infant was born at 10:45 this morning in a "white-walled bedroom at Clarence House, overlooking the Mall," reports the New York Times.

Crowds of Britons had gathered outside Buckingham Palace hours before, "standing in the pale, chilly sunlight."  They surged to the palace gate when an official "marched out at 11:40 to post the royal announcement."  Typed on Clarence House note paper, "it was couched in the terms demanded by tradition: "Her Royal Highness the Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, was safely delivered of a son at 10:45 A.M.  Both mother and baby are well."

Lord Linley weighted six pounds four ounces.  He has "fair hair and blue eyes."

The baby's father, Lord Snowdon, was "waiting anxiously outside the delivery room and was the first to be told."   Princess Margaret's older sister, Queen Elizabeth II, was holding an investiture at Buckingham Palace when she received a telephone call announcing the news of her first nephew.

Two hours later, "hatless and bundled in a fur coat,"  Queen Elizabeth was "driven through the jubiliant throngs at Clarence House to make the first royal call on her sister and the baby."

This is the first child for Princess Margaret and the former Antony Armstrong-Jones who were married on May 6, 1960.

The baby follows the Prince of Wales, Prince Andrew, Princess Anne and Princess Margaret in the line of succession.   The last royal birth at Clarence House was in August 1950 when the Queen, as Princess Elizabeth was living there, gave birth to Princess Anne.  Prince Charles and Prince Andrew were born at Buckingham Palace.

Princess Margaret and her husband live at Kensington Palace.  They drove to to Clarence House last night to join the Queen Mother. 

After his birth, the baby, whose names have not been announced, "was placed in a basketwork cradle, wrapped in white organza and tied with a blue ribbon, which had been given to the Princess by a blind craftsman who recently made it in Dublin."

Shortly after noon, the Queen Mother "drew aside the curtains of a second-story drawing room," where she was joined by Lord Snowdon, and both waved as the "crowd cheered."

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