Things that probably helped Kate Middleton refuse painkillers during childbirth: the knowledge that her choice would ultimately be breathlessly reported in articles like this one. The Daily Mail reports that the duchess went the natural route during her 11 hours of labor, assisted by a rotating team of four midwives as well as three doctors (including the queen's gynecologist, who gave up booze to prep for the birth).
How big a feat was it? Might depend on the nationality of who you ask: A CDC report on 27 states found that 61% of US women had an epidural or spinal anesthesia in 2008; the Guardian reports that in 2007-2008, the epidural figure stood at just 33% for Brits. (Read more Kate Middleton stories.)