Britain’s Prince William accompanied his wife Catherine Middleton as she left hospital Monday evening (April 23) after giving birth to a boy – the couple’s third child, their second son, and the fifth in line to the throne.

The baby weighed 8lbs and 7oz (3.8 kg) and was born at 11:01 am (1001 GMT), with Prince William present for the birth, Kensington Palace announced.

“The Duke and Duchess Of Cambridge and their son will travel home to Kensington Palace,” said the statement. “Their Royal Highnesses would like to thank all staff at the hospital for the care and treatment they have received. They would also like to thank everyone for their warm wishes.”

William and Kate stepped out of St Mary’s Hospital in London around 6pm to cheers from fans and global media outlets gathered outside. The couple’s other children – Prince George, aged four, and Princess Charlotte, two – had met their new brother earlier that afternoon before returning home.

Charlotte gave a wave to the assembled well-wishers as she entered the hospital after William had collected the siblings from school. Queen Elizabeth II, William’s father Prince Charles, and William’s brother Prince Harry were said to be delighted with the news.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May also sent a message of support saying: “My warmest congratulations to the Duke and Duchess Of Cambridge on the birth of their baby boy. I wish them great happiness for the future.”

Middleton, 36, was admitted early Monday morning to St Mary’s private Lindo Wing, where she had also delivered George and Charlotte. Her new baby was born on St George’s Day, a British national day.

Tony Appleton, a town-crier dressed in a flamboyant red uniform, announced the birth from the steps of the hospital to an adoring crowd. The news was also projected on a display screen atop the 189-metre BT Tower in London with the message, “It’s a boy!”

Royal fanatics who had camped outside the hospital for days cheered and popped Champagne at the announcement. “We’re going to celebrate with fish and chips!” said John Loughrey, wearing a Union Jack hat and clutching a plastic doll with a crown.

Maria Scott, 46, a housewife from Newcastle in northeast England, had been in place for 15 days. “It’s really important to show support because they need to know how much they are loved by the people. We’re very proud of our monarchy,” she said.

Name speculation

The boy is the sixth great-grandchild for Queen Elizabeth, who turned 92 on Saturday April 21, and her husband Prince Philip. The child will hold the title of Prince after the Queen changed the rules in 2012, to ensure that all of William’s children would be entitled to the style, not just his eldest son.

As with George and Charlotte, their parents did not know whether their third baby was going to be a son or a daughter. Meanwhile, bookmakers have Arthur, Albert, Frederick, James and Philip as their favourites for the new prince’s name.

The boy does not overtake Charlotte in the line of succession due to new laws agreed across the 16 Commonwealth realms, where Queen Elizabeth is the head of state including Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

A night at the Lindo Wing costs £7,500 (RM40,800) including a delivery package and two-room suite, excluding consultants’ fees.

The birth was overseen by consultant obstetrician Guy Thorpe-Beeston, the surgeon gynaecologist to the royal household, and consultant gynaecologist Alan Farthing, the Queen’s surgeon-gynaecologist. They were part of the trusted team who also delivered George and Charlotte.

Kate had suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form morning sickness, during all three pregnancies.

Gun salutes planned

William, who is destined to be King after his father Charles, met Kate at St Andrews University in Scotland. They married at Westminster Abbey in London on April 29, 2011, in a ceremony watched by two billion people worldwide. (Looking back on 7 decades of royal wedding dresses)

The royal couple helped breathe new life into Britain’s monarchy after years of crisis. Their baby’s birth will be celebrated with a 41-gun salute in London’s Hyde Park. The Tower Of London will also fire 62 rounds. – AFP