The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a baby boy, who is third in line to the throne, Kensington Palace announced tonight.
The new arrival weighed 8lbs 6oz (3.6kg) and was delivered at 4.24pm in the exclusive maternity wing at St Mary’s hospital.
In a statement, Kensington Palace said: “Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24pm. The baby weighs 8lbs 6oz.
“The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth.
“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.
“Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well and will remain in hospital overnight.”
The names of the baby will be announced in due course. A formal notice was being posted on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace this evening.
The duchess arrived at the Lindo wing of St Mary’s hospital, Paddington, in the early stages of labour at about 5.45am accompanied by the Duke of Cambridge, now on two weeks’ paternity leave from his job as an RAF search-and-rescue helicopter pilot.
The couple, travelling in a people carrier with two close-protection officers following behind in a second vehicle, pulled up at a side entrance to the Mary Stanford building, next door to the Lindo wing, at about 5.45am. Due to the early hour, they managed to enter without being photographed by the large media presence camped outside the building’s main entrance over the past two weeks.
Kensington Palace released a brief statement at 7.28am, signalling an end in sight to the Great Kate Wait, as it has been unofficially named by journalists. It said: “Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted this morning to St Mary’s hospital, Paddington, in the early stages of labour.
“The duchess travelled by car from Kensington Palace to the Lindo wing at St Mary’s hospital with the Duke of Cambridge.”
A spokesman added that the couple travelled from the palace, which is their London home, without a police escort. He added: “Things are progressing as normal.”
Within moments the news was being relayed around the world. As the hours passed, and hundreds of camera lenses were trained on the entrance to the west London hospital, TV anchors incessantly repeated the very few facts made available throughout the day.
Prince Charles, about to become a grandfather for the first time, was in York on a visit to the National Railway Museum, York Minster and later an abattoir.
As crowds shouted congratulations, and one joker piped up “It’s triplets”, Charles, who will be 65 in November, said: “I am very grateful indeed for the kind wishes for my rather slowly approaching grandfatherhood. Some of you may realise that with grandfatherhood comes, in four months’ time, old age pensionerhood.” But of birth developments, he had none to impart.
The Queen, who had no official engagements on Monday, arrived at Buckingham Palace from Windsor Castle mid-afternoon to be cheered by a five-deep crowd of well-wishers who had gathered for news of her third great-grandchild.
The baby is destined to be the 43rd monarch since William the Conqueror won the English crown in 1066, but is also 41st in direct line of descent from Egbert, King of Wessex, who ruled from 802 to 839.
Kensington Palace said It is the first time in nearly 120 years that a still-serving sovereign will meet a great-grandchild born in direct succession to the crown. Edward VIII was born in 1894, seven years before the death of Victoria. that it would announce details of the birth in a press release before a royal aide leaves the main entrance of the Lindo wing bearing a typed medical bulletin signed by the doctors present at the birth.
Kate, 31, is under the care of the Queen’s gynaecologist Marcus Setchell, 69, who has overseen royal births for two decades and delayed his retirement for this occasion, and surgeon-gynaecologist to the royal household Alan Farthing, 50. The announcement was made after the Queen and members of both families were informed. Media were informed by an emailed press release, then details were placed, as is more traditional, on a dark wooden frame on an ornate easel – also used to announce Prince William’s birth – behind the railings on Buckingham Palace forecourt.
Punters who have had a flutter on the royal name could be waiting a while for the bookies to pay out. William’s name was not released for a week, and his father’s for a month. The favourites are George or James for a boy. Whatever name is chosen, recent precedent indicates it is likely to have royal connections and there should be a vacancy – that is, it should not be in current use by a senior member of the family.
The newest royal will be styled HRH Prince (name) of Cambridge after the Queen issued Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm when Kate was about three months’ pregnant.
The decree declared: “All the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title and attribute of royal highness with the titular dignity of prince or princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honour.”
William, 31, is following in Charles’s footsteps by attending the birth. His grandfather, Prince Philip, played squash during Charles’s birth.
A normal delivery package at St Mary’s, including a one-night stay, costs £4,965, with an extra night in a deluxe room costing £1,050 plus consultant’s fees, which can be up to £6,000 depending on the care required. A suite of two rooms, with consultant fees, would be about £14,465.