04/09/1990 at 01:00 AM EDT
The headlines blared ATTAGIRL! The town crier marched about in the red regalia he reserves for special occasions, and a notice posted on the gate of Buckingham Palace read: "Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York was safely delivered of a daughter at 7:58 P.M. March 23, 1990. Her Royal Highness and her child are both well." While the trappings of the latest royal birth—the second daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York—seemed to unfold as tradition dictates, underneath all the formality was a note of concern for Fergie, who delivered the 7½-lb. infant by her first emergency cesarean section. "She's very well, she's fine, but she's tired," said Andrew, who sped in three hours from his naval base in Devonport to be at Fergie's side.
On the occasion of her sixth grandchild's birth, the Queen made a custom-breaking visit to Fergie, a move Elizabeth hasn't made since she visited her daughter, Princess Anne, in the hospital when her first grandchild, Peter, was born in 1977. Princess Diana learned of her new niece while flying back from an eight-day tour of Nigeria and Cameroon. She hurried over to the hospital dressed in casual khakis and a pink cashmere sweater. But Aunt Di's appearance was overshadowed by the baby's big sister, 19-month-old Bea, who clutched her father's hand and a nosegay of flowers upon entering the hospital and who, according to one report, greeted her new sis with "squeals of laughter."
Drawn to the hospital by all the commotion, Debbie Reddick, a Boston executive, said, "It's really exciting to be here for the birth of Fergie's baby. In the States we don't have royalty. The President is just one of the common folk."
By week's end all that was known about the newest Yorklet was that her hair was "dark," according to Andrew. The British public had neither a glimpse of the baby nor any idea of what her name might be. While bookmakers were taking 5-4 odds on Charlotte, the only sure wager was that the name would be one fit for a princess.