|Page 1 of the New York Times November 15, 1948|
November 14, 1948
Princess Elizabeth, the heiress presumptive to the British throne, gave birth to a son. The news was released in an official announcement from Buckingham Palace.
"Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh was safely delivered of a Prince at 9:14 P.M. today. Her Royal Highness and her son are both doing well."
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were in the palace for the birth of their first grandchild. Their younger daughter, Princess Margaret, who moves down to third in the line of succession, was out of the palace for evening.
Queen Mary, who lives at Marlborough House, "hastened over and received her full share of cheers." When she returned to her home at midnight, her "car was surrounded by a frenzied crowd," reported the New York Times.
The Home Secretary, James Chuter Ede, was the first person to "be officially notified. [ The newspapers reported that this was the "first time in centuries that a Home Secretary was not in official attendance at a royal birth," as King George VI had "abolished the ancient custom." Yes, it is true, that the King ended the custom before Elizabeth gave birth, but the final royal birth for the Home Secretary was on December 25, 1936, when the Duchess of Kent gave birth to Princess Alexandra. The formality was dispensed during the second world war for the births of Prince William of Gloucester (1941), Prince Michael of Kent (1942) and the Duke of Gloucester (1944).]
Mr. Chuder Ede immediately informed the Lord Mayor of the news of birth. "Telegrams and messages" were sent to the rest of the United Kingdom and to all the Governors of the Dominions.
The New York Times described the birth as the "biggest news in the world to millions of persons." As "affair of state," the birth of a prince is considered a :"great national and imperial event."
What "counts most of all" is that the infant prince will succeed his mother on the throne. This birth is seen as a "long historic tradition and a great wave of simple human joy."
The Princess' gynecologist, Sir William Gilliat, arrived at the palace last night at about 10:00 p.m. Earlier this evening Sir William summoned his assistant, John H. Peel and the the royal family's physician, Sir John Weir. An anesthetist V.F. Hall was also called. The doctors arrived shortly after 7:30 p.m. The baby was born less than two hours later, thus assuming that the princess "had a relatively easy time of it."
The news of the birth was made public at 10:10 p.m.
The Press Association's Court Correspondent reported: "The new royal baby was described to me by one who has just seen him as a 'lovely boy, a really splendid baby.'"
A large crowd waited outside Buckingham Palace. A royal page slipped out the palace and whispered the news to a police constable, who made the announcement to the crowd: "It's a boy!"
The crowd broke into "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." There were also cheers "We Want Philip, We want Philip, we want Philip," which continued for about five minutes.
No members of the Royal Family appeared on the palace's balcony, as it was "not considered for Philip to make a public appearance despite the urging of the crowd."
The huge crowd went wild," reported the Washington Post, after hearing the news. The baby's father, the Duke of Edinburgh, was playing squash when he was told by the doctor that he was a father. He immediately rushed to his wife, who was still under an anesthetic. He was then taken to see his newborn son, who had been taken to the palace nursery.
The Duke of Edinburgh then brought the King and Queen to see their first grandchild. Queen Elizabeth "embraced her son-in-law and the King shook his hand warmly."
A bottle of champagne was opened after 81-year-old Queen Mary arrived. The "first health" to the infant prince was drunk by the Duke and his staff.
The Washington Post's reporter commented that "many years may pass" before the new prince "ever touches a scepter. King George is only 53 and in excellent health. Princess Elizabeth at 22 is apparently assured of a long life, too."