News World First birthdays, and how they were celebrated

First birthdays, and how they were celebrated

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Princess Elizabeth spent her first birthday in April 1927 apart from her parents. The Duke and Duchess of York were away on a six-month tour of Australia and New Zealand, leaving in January of that year and not returning until the end of June.

The young Princess stayed with her grandparents George V and Queen Mary and was looked after by her nurse Clara Knight, known by the nickname Allah.

Without the benefits of modern technology such as email and Skype, Elizabeth’s parents relied on letters for updates about their first-born child.

On the day she was finally reunited with her parents, when she was one year and two months old, the family took to the balcony of Buckingham Palace to wave at the cheering crowds.


When the Prince of Wales, then Prince Charles, was about to turn one, he weighed 24 1/2 lbs, had six teeth and could walk a few steps holding on to his play pen.

An official photograph taken for his first birthday in 1949 showed him sporting a full head of hair and an impressive quiff and wearing a dress-like smock.

King George VI was still on the throne but his health was failing, meaning Princess Elizabeth was called upon to perform public engagements in his place.

The Duke of Edinburgh was also often away at sea serving with the Royal Navy, meaning a young Charles spent most of his time with his two nannies Mabel Anderson and Helen Lightbody.

The family had moved from Buckingham Palace to Clarence House when Charles was eight months old and according to biographer Jonathan Dimbleby, the Prince learnt to walk using Jumbo, a much-loved blue elephant on wheels.


By the time the Duke of Cambridge, then Prince William, was one, he had already, like Prince George, been to New Zealand and Australia with his parents on an official tour – only the Waleses’ trip lasted six weeks.

There was no official photo for his first birthday, but a photocall was held for fair-haired William when he was 18 months old as he toddled round Kensington Palace’s walled garden wearing a navy blue snow suit.

The Duchess of Cambridge, then plain Miss Kate Middleton, lived in Berkshire when she was one, before the family moved to Amman in Jordan for her father’s job when she was two.

George Brown, a friend of the Middletons, told Vanity Fair magazine: “Catherine was a lovely little baby, cherubic and chubby-cheeked and so good. I remember she didn’t cry much at all. I think that was probably because Carole was so relaxed.”