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1977: Princess Anne gives birth to Master Phillips

Princess Anne has given birth to a boy - the first royal baby to be born a commoner for more than 500 years.

Both baby and mother are said to be in good health.

Princess Anne was driven to St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, west London at 0400 on Tuesday by her husband, Captain Mark Phillips.

He was with the princess when their son was born less than six hours later at 1046 in the hospital's maternity unit.

The royal gynaecologist, George Pinker, was also at the birth.

But fortunately for the princess the tradition requiring a government minister to witness royal births was ended before the birth of Prince Charles.

The name of the child, who weighed 7lb 9oz, has not yet been announced.

Shortly afterwards the princess telephoned her mother with the news and Captain Phillips rang his parents in Great Somerford in Wiltshire where the church bells were rung in celebration.

Official announcements of the birth were posted on the railings of Buckingham Palace and the Home Office in Whitehall.

A 41-gun salute was fired at the Tower of London to welcome the baby, who is fifth in line to the throne.

He was born plain Master Phillips because, in spite of being the Queen's daughter, Princess Anne possesses no hereditary title.

Both the princess and her husband are said to have rejected an offer from the Queen of titles which would have enabled their children to be born into the peerage.

The Queen was among the first to visit her daughter and new grandson in a private wing of the hospital.

She smiled broadly and waved to a crowd of about 200 people as she arrived.

Speaking to reporters as he left after visiting his wife and new son, Captain Phillips said he was "relieved it's all over and very pleased".

On being asked what his son was like Captain Phillips replied: "About the same as any other baby I should think".

In Context
The baby was named Peter Mark Andrew Phillips.

He was joined by a sister - Zara Anne Elizabeth - in 1981.

They are the Queen's only untitled grandchildren.

Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips divorced in 1992.

The princess married Commander Timothy Laurence - who once served as an equerry to the Queen - later the same year.

Captain Phillips remarried in 1997 and had a daughter, with his new wife, a former Olympic horse rider.

The baby, Stephanie, was Captain Phillips' third daughter - he fathered an illegitimate child during his marriage to Princess Anne.


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