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Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

The one night when Claridges Suite 212 was ceeded to Yugoslavia

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. We do this in a bid to be less polluting and tackle climate change while at the same time keeping a global outlook. Here's a tale of how to give birth in the UK but ensure that your passport has your preferred home land. It definitely helps if you are a mate of ChurchillWords from Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about my books and blogs).

WW1 changed the way the posh lived. Many no longer ran a London house, but they still wanted to come to London and be able to meet friends, live in comfort and be entertained. The answer was to make full use of hotels. The bright young things of the 20s lived it up at the Savoy, the Connaught, Claridge's and all those lovely huge hotels that are still going but are now just for the super rich (or for those willing to pay £450 a night for a room!).

Back in the day the partying never stopped at some hotels - like the Ritz. But it seems that Claridge's was the hotel aristocrats picked when they gave birth. 

As a timid hotel user (for instance I would never smash up a room or leave without straightening the bed clothes) I think choosing to give birth in a hotel bed is astonishing. Birth is a bloody business and yet clearly the hotel staff had to put up with it, and clean up well. Possibly giving birth at Claridge's was even encouraged. I understand my own dad was born there (and this was in the 1930s!).

This is why it was an extra irony that a young mum was asked to cover up while breastfeeding her 12 week old baby during a celebratory tea at Claridge's, see here.
A grand hotel - this one is the Midland in Morecambe. If only it could talk...

Take me to Yugoslavia
A much more famous birth happened when the young King Peter 11 of Yugoslavia - whose father had been killed at the start of World War Two - made his home as an exile, with his new wife, at Claridge's. On 17 July 1945 Churchill arranged for suite 212 to be ceded by the UK to Yugoslavia. Just for the day. This enabled Peter's heir Crown Prince Alexander to be born on Yugoslav soil. To add to the Yugoslav effect a box of Yugoslav earth was put under the birthing bed!


It'\s a lovely story, and perhaps offers a solution to many of the people who are now seeking dual nationality as a result of Brexit fears? My dad was Scottish, but his Claridge's birth makes my ability to adopt Scottish nationality (should it become available) or even play for Scotland slightly complicated. As a result Mayfair is my spiritual and sporting home...

Assuming Claridge's could arrange, here's a new game to play - which country would you opt to give birth in?

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