Sunday, 4 August 2013

Royal mummy tummies

It's official.  The mummy tummy that Kate showed off with pride outside St Mary's Hospital in Paddington on July 23rd as she presented Prince George of Cambridge to the world for the first time is the fashion statement of the year.  Vanity Fair has just included a snap of that tummy in its entry for Kate on this year's best dressed list. But why has it taken until 2013 for a royal woman to acknowledge that if you've just had a baby, you've still got a belly?  How did other future queen consorts fare in the out of hospital clothes stakes?

A yummy mummy with her tummy - Kate, William and George leave hospital
(photo Christopher Neve)
Maxima probably had the best idea.  She signed up to the Dutch tradition of letting dad present the baby to the press so out came Willem-Alexander with the newborn while mum put her feet up for five minutes.  Maxima made her first appearance with baby a few days later, sensibly sitting on a sofa while Queen Beatrix held the new heiress and conveniently covered up Maxima's middle with some strategic cradling. 
The first official photograph of Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands taken in December 2003. Proud granny, Beatrix, holds the heiress in front of Maxima's mummy tummy.
Mathilde also went for the sitting idea.  Her first appearance with baby Elisabeth was in a room at the hospital where the baby had been born by Caesarean section in October 2001.  Several days after the birth, the cameras were invited in to find a seated Crown Princess with husband and baby.
A future queen makes her first appearance - Elisabeth sleeps in daddy's arms while mummy keeps her tummy hidden by sitting down
Other princesses haven't gone for the seated route.  Mette-Marit did crouching for her first snap with baby Ingrid Alexandra.  Hats off to a woman who had just given birth for managing a squat.  As well as winning the admiration of mummies everywhere, she also kept her middle in a bundle that allowed no glimpse of a rounded tum.

Mette-Marit's son, Marius, holds little sister Ingrid Alexandra as his mum somehow manages to crouch at his side just days after giving birth

Others have had to stand to show off baby for the first time - Mary of Denmark was out of hospital within days of delivering Christian in October 2005 but the chilly autumn weather allowed her to wear a long coat which flapped elegantly around her middle and kept the tummy hidden.
A princess in green - Christian leaves hospital in October 2005 with mum hiding her tum in a very long coat
The long coat trick was also tried, with less success, by Letizia when she took baby Leonor home in November 2005.  The princess had been in hospital for over a week following her emergency c section and greeted the cameras for the first time in a cream trouser suit.  She still had it on for the first official photos, taken a few hours late, back home.
Mummy's tummy is peeking through under the big white shawl and long cream coat as Letizia and Felipe take baby Leonor home from hospital in Madrid in 2005
It was a future queen regnant who had the whole thing sorted to perfection.  When Victoria of Sweden left hospital in February 2012 just one day after giving birth to baby Estelle there was just one photo, released by the royal household after mum and dad had got baby safely home.  Victoria is in dark blue, Daniel holds the car seat and the whole thing is done at such a distance that you can make out faces only.  A few days later, radiant in peach and in head shot only, Victoria posed for official snaps.  Until Kate made mummy tummies a must have, that was the way to do it.
Victoria, Daniel and Estelle' s first appearance as a family

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