After months of anticipation, the royal baby and future heir to the throne has been born.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton and Prince William, both 31, welcomed a baby boy on Monday at 4:24 p.m. The child, which weighed 8 lbs., 6 oz., was born at the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington. The hospital is the same place where Princess Diana delivered Prince William in 1982, followed by Prince Harry in 1984.
"Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24 p.m.," a statement from the Palace said. "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 & families have been told and are delighted. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well and will remain in hospital overnight."
Kensington Palace first announced that Middleton had gone into labor on Monday during the wee hours of the morning. As media waited in a frenzy, William and Kate reportedly arrived at the hospital at 6 a.m. local time. But it wasn't until about 90 minutes later that the palace released an official statement.
"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 traveled 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.
The announcement from the palace came just after 8:30 p.m. local time. A proclamation bearing the palace insignia signed by the medical staff was displayed at the gates of Buckingham Palace on a golden easel minutes after the Twitter blast from the official Twitter account. The historical birth announcement on paper was chosen by the palace to keep with tradition, as the easel was last used to announce Prince William’s birth.
“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.”
The official title for the baby was announced earlier this month by the palace, in a change administered by Queen Elizabeth herself. “The royal couple's child will officially be known as His or Her Royal Highness Prince or Princess of Cambridge," a rep for the palace said in a statement.
In terms of the line of succession to the British throne, the royal baby is third in line, behind his grandfather, Charles, Prince of Wales, and his father, Prince William. The baby’s uncle, Prince Harry is now pushed to fourth in line. If William and Kate have more children, Prince Harry’s place will fall even further down the line.
The British government ruled in October 2011 that female heirs will have equal rights as males in succession to the throne. Previously, male heirs, even if younger than females, would have priority in the succession line. Queen Elizabeth II, however, was crowned in 1953 only because she didn't have any brothers.
William and Kate married in April 2011 after a 10-year on-and-off relationship in one of the most watched weddings of all time. Held at Westminster Abbey with a reception at Buckingham Palace, Middleton donned a white lace dress designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen as the duo exchanged vows and officially became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The palace first announced that Middleton was pregnant back in early December. However, the happy news came with a bit of sadness when Buckingham Palace paired the pregnancy announcement with word that the Duchess was hospitalized for a type of dangerous morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum.
"Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby," the spokesperson said in a statement. "The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry and members of both families are delighted with the news."
"The Duchess was admitted this afternoon to King Edward VII Hospital in Central London with Hyperemesis Gravidarum," the palace spokesperson continued. "As the pregnancy is in its very early stages, Her Royal Highness is expected to stay in hospital for several days and will require a period of rest thereafter."
The Duchess was planning to announce she was pregnant once she was three months pregnant, but her condition and hospitalization forced her to announce sooner. Middleton stayed in the hospital for a mere three days before being released and made her first public appearance pregnant about two weeks later.
After much speculation, reports later emerged that the royal baby would be born on Saturday, July 13, after Middleton reportedly disclosed the due date to her family and friends. The palace, however, shot down rumors of the exact date, saying the Duchess was merely due in July sometime.
“We have only said that the Duchess is due in July. Anything further would be speculation,” the palace spokesperson said.