The Weirdest Royal Pregnancy Rules From History That Are Way Too WTF For Today
Thank goodness Meghan doesn't have to deal with any of this nonsense.
Since marrying Prince Harry back in May this year, Meghan Markle's life has changed irrevocably. The ex-actor-turned-fully-fledged royal must now adhere to a whole new set of rules and regulations, from always wearing stockings to curtsying to her sister-in-law, Kate.
Sometimes, mistakes do happen -- case in point the tag-dag incident in Tonga on Thursday -- but it just shows that Meghan is human and tbh it makes us love her that much more.
The pressure on Megz to follow all that protocol each and every day must be a bit exhausting, especially now the Duchess is expecting a bub.
The mum-to-be must be sighing in relief, then, that she doesn't have to deal with any of the weird and often downright gross customs that pregnant queens and princesses were faced with in times gone by.
Below are some of the wildest royal pregnancy traditions -- we're talkin' about drinking icky potions, giving birth in front of an audience and some strange superstition about pictures of birds. Yup.
Let's go back in time when ...
A nice cup of dragon's blood was what the doctor ordered
In medieval England -- around the time when Henry VIII was doing his thing -- it was commonly believed that pregnant women were able to harm or even kill their own baby with their thoughts.
To keep their dangerously potent minds under control royal court doctors would prescribe queens and princesses unusual potions that likely did nothing except cost a lot of money.
One such concoction consisted berries, frankincense, myrtle and dragon's blood -- resin from a plant called Dracaena -- all boiled up in chicken broth. Yum.
Pies, milk and fish were off the menu
But, according to physicians in the mid 16th century, toast was okay. As was wine, in which the toast was dipped. Wine for pregnant women. How far we have come.
Mums-to-be weren't allowed to dine on salads, lentils and beans -- go figure -- but orange juice and egg yolks were deemed "appropriate." Riiiiiight.
Sneezing helped childbirth
A 17th century medical text called Observations In Midwifery encouraged women in labour to sniff powders that made then sneeze to basically pop the baby out.
'Magical' pieces of cheese and butter were inscribed with "strange mystical combinations of letters and symbols" and fed to expecting mothers to protect them and their baby during childbirth.
You had to stay in bed for aaaaaaages
It was very common for perfectly healthy pregnant female royals to take to their bedchambers toward the end of their term and not come out until the baby was born.
The practice of 'confinement' was to ensure the safety of both mother and child and typically started two weeks before the expected due date, but could begin earlier depending on how important the mother -- and the heir they were carrying -- were seen to be.
Pictures of animals and birds were bad
When Charles VII of France's daughter suffered through a particularly hard childbirth in the mid 1450s it was the tapestries hanging on the wall of her bedchamber that were to blame. They depicted "figures, animals and birds" which were far too mentally and emotionally stimulating for the poor princess, causing her to become distressed.
Quick, get the dragon's blood!
The ideal wall hangings for confinement and birthing chambers were devoid of all imagery, and were simply there for the functional purpose of insulating the room and blocking out sunlight. Cozy, huh?
Birth was a spectator sport
After what could be weeks of confinement and with only their ladies-in-waiting for company, pregnant royals and noblewomen were suddenly surrounded by male doctors, priests, courtiers, officials and miscellaneous onlookers as soon as their contractions started.
The rowdy crowd was there for a few reasons, mainly to look after mum and bub's health, but also to witness the actual moment of birth. Like, when the baby quite literally came out. Just to be sure that nothing sneaky happened -- this was a time when baby girls were swapped out for baby boys to provide kings with a legitimate heir, you know.
Until very recently, government officials were still required to witness the birth of a royal baby. The home secretary was present during the Queen Elizabeth II's birth in 1926, but thankfully the custom was retired shortly after.
Feature Image: Getty