The birth of a royal baby is always a cause for national celebration.

But the arrival of a new prince or princess may affect British lives in unexpected ways long after the last street party is over and the bunting comes down.

Research suggests that births, marriages and deaths in the Royal Family have such a "significant impact on everyday life" they can even affect the gender of babies born to the British public. Experts found that the number of boys boomed after the birth of Prince William, while the death of Princess Diana seemed to raise the odds of having a girl.

While the idea that royal events can affect the gender of newborns may seem merely coincidental, other studies have suggested that major events from the World Cup to terrorist attacks can subtly alter the ratio of boys to girls. Maltese researchers who trawled through six decades of UK birth statistics found a striking dip in the number of boys born around the time of Charles and Diana's 1982 wedding. A smaller fall happened in 2011 when Prince William married Kate Middleton.


Academics say the stress caused by the feverish excitement that accompanies the long build-up to such events could lead to more miscarriages. Male unborn babies, which are more fragile, are more likely to be lost they say.

Similarly, shock at Princess Diana's death in 1997 may explain why the number of boys born fell in the following months, the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Reproductive Biology reports. However, at least one royal event was accompanied by a boom in baby boys. Head researcher Victor Grech, of the Mater Dei hospital in Malta, found that the number of boys born rose following Prince William's 1982 birth. He attributes this to 'increased coital rates associated with exuberance'.

Professor Adam Balen, chairman of the British Fertility Society, described the analysis as "fascinating" but flawed.

But Professor Allan Pacey, a leading fertility doctor based at Sheffield University, said the monarchy's influence may be greater than we realise.

He said matriarchal or patriarchal societies in animal populations can influence the gender of offspring. "So maybe the effect we see is down to the fact we have a Queen," he said. "Perhaps someone should revisit this when we get a king?"

- Daily Mail