For Prince William and Kate Middleton, fans of the Duke and Duchess Of Cambridge, supporters of the British monarchy and royal watchers everywhere, the wait is once again over. Middleton gave birth on Monday April 23 to a healthy baby boy – her third child, her second son, Queen Elizabeth’s sixth great-grandchild, and fifth in line to the throne.
Kensington Palace announced the news about five hours after the royal couple travelled by car from their home to the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in central London. The new prince was born at 11.01am (1001 GMT) and weighed 3.8kg, with his father in attendance.
“The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news,” the palace said in a statement.
In a mix of modernity and tradition, the news was announced by the palace on Twitter first, then posted on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.
The baby is brother to four-year-old Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who turns three next week. Both were born at the same hospital, as were William and his younger brother Harry.
The prince’s name, still unannounced, has been subject to a flurry of bets. Arthur and James are among bookmakers’ favourites for the child, whose full title will be His Royal Highness, Prince Of Cambridge. Though Apr 23 was St George’s Day in England, it’s unlikely the boy will have that name – for obvious reasons.
The new arrival also bumps Harry to sixth place in the line of succession, after his grandfather Prince Charles, his father William, and his two older siblings.
Middleton, 36, carried out her last official engagement on Mar 22 before going on maternity leave. Like her previous pregnancies, she suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness.
Officials announced both her previous pregnancies before the traditional 12-week mark because she was too unwell to attend public engagements.
The baby’s delivery was overseen by a team of doctors including consultant obstetrician Guy Thorpe-Beeston and consultant gynaecologist Alan Farthing – who were also called in for the births of George and Charlotte – as well as the hospital’s midwives.
TV crews, journalists and an adoring public had camped outside the hospital for the “royal baby watch” since early April. John Loughrey, a veteran royal-watcher who had been parked there for two weeks, said the new arrival would be “very good for our country and of course Her Majesty the queen”.
“I’m so pleased it’s St George’s Day,” he said before the baby came. “St George himself would be very pleased if the baby’s born today.” – AP/Sylvia Hui, Jill Lawless