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In photos: A royal maternity wear retrospective

In previous generations, so-called "bump watches" were nothing like they are now, when every maternity dress worn by Kate Middleton has been scrutinized, and the size of her growing belly - analysed. Yet, even if they are harder to find, images of pregnant royals have been captured on film. Here's a look at royal maternity fashion over the past half-century or so.

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Here, Queen Elizabeth (then known as Princess Elizabeth) leaves Londonderry House on October 20, 1948 in London after attending the wedding and reception of Lady Margaret Egerton and John Rupert Colville (not shown is her husband, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, seated next to her in the car). The wedding and reception marked Elizabeth's last public appearance before the birth of her first child. Prince Charles was born just over a month later on Nov. 14, 1948. Although the future Queen did not let pregnancy get in the way of her royal duties, privacy was a top priority and photos such as these were rare.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Gorgeous and glamorous Grace Kelly (the American actress who became Princess of Monaco) famously tried to hide her growing stomach by using a Hermes bag to shield it from prying paparazzi. She also applied her chic taste to her own maternity style, debuting fabulous coats during her three pregnancies, which have served as inspiration to fashion designers today. This file photo taken January 7, 1957 in Monaco shows Princess Grace preparing clothes for her second child, Crown Prince Albert of Monaco, shortly before his birth.

AFP

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Princess Anne opted for comfort and style during her two pregnancies. in this photo, she is pregnant with her second child, Zara Phillips, and chatting to an official at the Badminton Horse Trials on April 13, 1981. Her husband, Mark Phillips, won the Horse Trials for the fourth time. The princess reportedly didn't believe in getting new maternity wear, choosing instead to alter clothing she already owned.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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When the Princess of Wales was pregnant with Prince William in 1981, she was very aware of the public interest in her pregnancy. "The whole world is watching my stomach," Diana famously said. Here, British actress Elizabeth Taylor, left, chats with Princess Diana after a charity premiere of The Little Foxes on March 8, 1982. Prince William was born June 21, 1982.

CAULKIN/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Diana's pregnancy style was characterized by smock dresses and loose gowns, embellished with ruffles and polka dots. Diana's pregnancy style was characterized by smock dresses and loose gowns, embellished with ruffles and polka dots. Here she is in a June 20, 1984 file photo next to her bodyguard, Barry Mannakee.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Shown here during her pregnancy with Prince Harry, Diana is at Windsor, England, on July 29, 1984, where Prince Charles was competing in a polo tournament.

JOHN REDMAN/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, leaves her car at Smith's Lane, Windsor, Sunday, July 10, 1988, after arriving to watch polo. Her first child, Princess Beatrice, was born a month later.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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As was the style back then (see: Diana), she often wore oversized dresses during her pregnancy, and wasn't afraid to break out the odd sailor themed getup. Here, the Duchess of York is joined by her stepfather Hector Barrantes to watch a polo match at Windsor, Wednesday, June 15, 1988. Her first daughter, Princess Beatrice, was born August 8, 1988.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Dutch Prince Constantijn escorts his pregnant wife Princess Laurentien as they arrive at the Nieuwe Kerk for the marriage of Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Maxima Zorreguieta in Amsterdam February 2, 2002. The couple now have three children.

CHRISTIAN CHARISIUS/REUTERS

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Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium arrive with their dog, May 7, 2001, at the Royal Palace of Laeken, near Brussels prior to holding a news conference and officially announcing that Princess Mathilde is pregnant and expecting the birth of her first baby in November 2001.

ETIENNE ANSOTTE/AFP

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Princess Mathilde and her husband, Belgian Crown Prince Philippe, arrive to attend the military parade in Brussels July 21, 2005. The couple have four children.

FRANCOIS LENOIR/REUTERS

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Princess Letizia has been called Spain's answer to the Duchess of Cambridge. Stylish and gorgeous and married to Spain's Crown Prince Felipe, the former news anchor has two daughters. Here she is before an official dinner at the Royal Palace in Madrid, Monday, Jan. 29, 2007.

DANIEL OCHOA DE OLZA/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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