On Monday around 6 a.m. GMT, Kensington Palace announced that Kate Middleton went into labor at St. Mary’s Hospital in London. But as the world waits the 12+ hours before the royal baby announcement, what’s in store for the Duchess of Cambridge after the baby is born?
"Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted this morning to St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London 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," the palace said in a statement.
While the world has drastically changed since the last royal birth of Prince William in 1982, the Palace will still regale the world with its traditions following the birth of the royal baby. So what’s to come for Middleton and Prince William, both 31, the soon-to-be new parents?
When Will The Royal Baby Be Born?
The average estimate time frame for a first-time mother to give birth naturally is about 12 hours, according to medical experts. Kensington Palace made the official announcement at 7:30 a.m. GMT through its Twitter account, but The Daily Mail reported Middleton was admitted into the hospital at 5:30 a.m. GMT. While it has not been confirmed by the Palace, Middleton could deliver the baby by early afternoon local London time or early evening. For those on the east coast of the U.S., the big news could come as early as 12:30 p.m. EST.
When Will Kate Leave The Hospital?
According to medical experts, Middleton can leave the hospital from the moment she gives birth or up until days later, depending on how the birth went. "If she has a straightforward natural birth, then there's absolutely no reason why she couldn't be out within a day," ABC News' Royal Contributor Victoria Murphy said. "She will obviously have the option to stay for as long as she wants, but she'll have the best care wherever she's going back to."
Even if you aren't in London, you can catch a glimpse at the action. From now until Middleton and family leave the hospital, you can watch a live stream video below of the front of St. Mary's Hospital where Middleton is expected to emerge.
Who Finds Out First?
The birth of the royal baby will not be made public until the Queen and other members of the royal family are briefed first. The Daily Mail reported that William will call the Queen himself first, even before his own father, when the baby is born. Prince William may even speak on the steps of the hospital to inform the public that the baby has arrived.
“While it is a deeply personal and private event, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge realize this is a time of national celebration and that there will be vast interest in the baby. They realize many people will want to share in their happiness,” a spokesman said.
How Will The Birth Be Announced?
The official birth announcement for the royal baby will be as traditional as it gets. Once the baby is born, the medical staff helping deliver Middleton’s baby at St. Mary’s will sign an announcement that will be transported by car from the hospital to Buckingham Palace. When the proclamation arrives, a Palace footman will hang the note in front of the gates of Buckingham Palace onto an easel, the same which was used to announce Prince William’s birth 31 years ago. The announcement will contain information about the baby’s gender, weight and time of birth, but likely not his or her name.
“We wanted to retain some of the theatre of the notice,” a Palace spokesperson said before the birth. “It is quite important to us that this is done properly and with the degree of dignity that the event demands. This is the birth of a child who will be in line to the throne. It is a rare occasion and it is nice to be able to do it with some historical precedence.”
However, if Middleton gives birth between 10:30 p.m. and 8 a.m. local time, social media will be the only means of communication.
The announcement will also be paired with a 62-gun salute by the Ministry of Defense from the Tower of London and a 41-gun salute from Green Park, near Buckingham Palace to welcome the baby.
What About Social Media?
In this day and age, it’s hard to escape the immediacy of social media when it comes to sharing breaking news. However, the Palace reportedly has it down path to coordinate delivering the news in the traditional fashion on the easel as well as Twitter, Facebook and the like. Middleton and Prince William reportedly are fans of using modern technology to share the birth news and have ordered an email blast and social media updates along with the formal gate announcement. "I also think they will utilize things like Twitter, social media and the website, as well," ABC News' Royal Contributor Victoria Murphy said.
When Will The Name Of The Baby Be Released?
Princess Diana did not announce her son’s name in 1982 until one week after the child was born. However, when Prince Harry was born two years later, his name was announced as part of the official note hung outside of Buckingham Palace. So far, it is unclear whether William and Kate will announce the name and gender simultaneously, but it could take a while.
“It took William and Kate three weeks to tell us their dog's name, so I'm not holding out hope that it will happen too quickly,” ABC Royal Expert Victoria Arbiter told Yahoo.
Will The Baby Have A Last Name?
Regardless of its first name, it will not have a last name. According to CTV News, members of the royal family do not require a surname. The royal baby will, instead, be called His or Her Royal Highness Prince or Princess (name) of Cambridge. If a last name is needed, any members of the royal household can use Mountbatten-Windsor, the surname adopted 53 years ago.
Could The Baby Be King Or Queen Someday?
The royal baby will be third in line for the throne, behind its grandfather, Charles, Prince of Wales, and its father, Prince William. Check out IBTimes’ infographic picturing the British line of succession for the child.
When Does The World Get To See The Royal Baby?
Just as Princess Diana did in 1982 and again two years later with Prince Harry, Middleton is expected to follow tradition by showing the baby to the world as she emerges from St. Mary’s Hospital. According to ABC News, upon her release, Middleton will exit in plain sight from the front door of the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s, where she along with Prince William and their new baby will be photographed. ABC News reported this exit will allow the royal family to control the photo opportunity as well as an immediate moment for the public to see the most talked about childbirth this year.
After all of the excitement wears down, the royal baby will grow up with its parents in Kensington Palace. The baby will be christened following its birth, as early as days after or up to several weeks later. It is likely to take place right at Buckingham Palace, since the Queen was christened in the private chapel and William and Charles in the Music Room. Prince Harry, though, was baptized at Windsor Castle's St. George's Chapel. The ceremony will be small and private, closed off to the media and attended by a close circle of family and friends.
The child will likely go to a traditional school. While the Queen was home-schooled, both Kate and Will, along with William’s father Charles, all went to school. Author of the upcoming book “William & Kate: The Next Chapter” told Yahoo that the royal couple will elect to not have a nanny for the child, according to Kate’s wishes to care for the baby without hired help. "They're saying they don't want one, but I think it will be difficult for her to go forward without a nanny," Jobson said. "I don't see how she can do without one because of her responsibilities."