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Royal babywatch - 1284 style

As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spend another day on babywatch for child No 2, let's spare a thought for Eleanor of Castile and Edward I on the same day in 1284, also on babywatch. In their case it was for at least the sixteenth time - the first time having been some 29 years earlier. And the baby awaited would be, if a boy, the second in line to the throne after his talented 10 year old brother Alphonso, named for Eleanor's brilliant brother Alfonso X of Castile. Like the Duchess, Eleanor had a great fondness for domestic improvements, and she had moved for the birth from one building project, Conwy Castle, where her gardeners and decorators had been hard at work, to a more embryonic project - Caernarfon Castle. Here the Eagle Tower, the first part of the castle to be built, was only part way constructed, and she probably therefore spent her time in temporary wooden quarters constructed amidst the builders' mess. However - as always gardening mad -she had still managed to ensure that there was a lawned area for her to stroll upon if the weather permitted. Edward having finished the military stages of his Welsh conquest, would be able to spend time conferring with Eleanor's travelling goldsmith, in order to make sure that a satisfactory "push present" was forthcoming. And touchingly, even after at least sixteen births he was nervous for Eleanor, making larger than usual offerings in this week ...

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