Letter from Queen Victoria concerning a chloroform asisted birth, 1859.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
In 1848 Queen Victoria first became interested in the use of chloroform as a pain-reliever during childbirth, but it was not until she gave birth to Prince Leopold in 1853 that she used it for the first time. The Queen was also administered the drug in 1857 when she gave birth to Princes Beatrice. Queen Victoria received the chloroform through an 'open-drop' method from the prominent physician Dr John Snow.