Lord Swraj Paul and his daughter Anjli (left), who is among the prominent Indians to have had her children at the Portland.


IN CHOOSING to have their baby at the Portland Hospital in London – confirmed in Archie’s birth certificate – the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were merely following the example of a number of prominent Indians, among them Lord Swraj Paul’s family. “I have not had a baby there for some time,” joked Swraj, 88. He added that his daughter Anjli used the Portland when she had her children, Shalin and Shaila. Swraj, who lives five minutes’ walk from the hospital, said: “It’s a very good maternity hospital.” Anjli confirmed: “It was more than 30 years ago, but it’s a lovely hospital. My nephew has just had his baby there.” Meghan did not have her baby at home at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, as she had apparently wanted, but in hospital because of possible complications she might have faced with the delivery at the age of 37, it was widely reported. Sunit Ghatak, who was a gynaecologist in private practice based at the Portland for more than 35 years until he retired in 2016, said it was in many ways “a celebrity hospital”. He spelt out the pros and cons of a home versus a hospital birth. “In the rich families in Calcutta in the old days, there were home births. A birth is a natural thing and even forceps were used, which we wouldn’t today,” he said. “It is a safe method of delivery for ladies where medically there are no contra-indications, such as blood pressure, diabetes and pre-eclampsia. But elderly mothers – anyone over 35 – had better avoid this. On the plus side, it is very satisfying for a lady to have her family around at the time of the birth.” But in the case of someone like Meghan, the risks can outweigh possible advantages, he suggested. Ghatak, whose son is the wellknown actor, Raj Ghatak, emphasised: “If there is foetal distress all of a sudden, transferring to a hospital for an instrumental delivery may take some time to arrange. “Caesarean section must not be done at home. Haemorrhage during or soon after may be a life-threatening hazard. “And the baby may need extra help soon after birth, which at home can be a problem.”