The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have had a baby boy. The baby was born at 4.24pm on Monday but not announced until 4 hours later. This was to allow the family to spend time together - which we think was a fantastic idea. Prince William said simply, "We could not be happier."
The big news is that the new little prince is a very healthy weight - 8lb 6oz. Although the average weight of a baby born in the UK is around 7lb 8oz, the average weight of a baby born around the due date is 8lb 2oz. The additional few ounces of the royal baby may be due to the fact that he was born around a week after his due date. The last few days in the womb is when a baby can put on additional weight quite quickly.
In a statement released by the Palace, the Duchess and baby are said to be doing well and would stay in hospital overnight.
About an hour later, the official notice was placed by a footman on a gold coloured easel in the grounds of Buckingham Palace.
Prince Charles also released a lovely 'grandad' statement. "Both my wife and I are overjoyed at the arrival of my first grandchild. It is an incredibly special moment for William and Catherine and we are so thrilled for them on the birth of their baby boy.
"Grandparenthood is a unique moment in anyone’s life, as countless kind people have told me in recent months, so I am enormously proud and happy to be a grandfather for the first time and we are eagerly looking forward to seeing the baby in the near future."
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Kate in labour
Kate Middleton arrived at about 6am this morning at St Mary's hospital and the palace confirmed she was officially in labour.
She was in the reliable hands of Marcus Setchell, who delivered the Countess of Wessex's two children. Mr Setchell apparently delayed his retirement after being asked by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to oversee the birth of their first baby. He also apparently said that he's laid off drinking any alcohol for the past month in readiness for this big day.
There was no sign of urgency or panic when Kate was driven calmly to hospital by car. Husband Prince William, a Royal Air Force search and rescue helicopter pilot based in north Wales, was by her side. Media reports suggested he was on helicopter stand-by all weekend.
Although her due date was never officially announced, it was thought to be mid-July, which meant that Kate was potentially more than a week overdue.
There were suggestions that Kate was about to be induced, which normally takes place during the second week after due date. However,Kate appeared to have gone into labour naturally. And then, the world's media had to sit and wait. As we know, babies can take their time to emerge - even royal ones.
And of course, the royal baby will be immediately subjected to the full glare of the medIa, as happened even before conception...
Is she or isn't she?
Rumours about the royal baby started almost as soon as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got married in 2011 and any slight hint of a pregnancy led to intense speculation. The Duchess was said to have clutched a handbag across her stomach at a Gary Barlow concert in December of 2011 which sent the rumour mill into overdrive speculating that she was hiding an early pregnancy from the public gaze. Of course, she wasn't pregnant!
The makers of the Kate Middleton dolls were even reportedly swamped with requests from the US to make a pregnant version of the Duchess in 2011!
The royal couple, and indeed the entire royal family were in the public eye more than ever in the summer of 2012 for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and so the rumour mill started up again with a friend of the couple revealing that the couple were set to announce baby news. That wasn't true either...
An early announcement
It wasn't until December 2012 when we got an offiicial announcement from St. James' Palace. The Duchess of Cambridge had been admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in central London with very acute morning sickness (hyperemesis) where she stayed for a few days.
The pregnancy was still in the very early stages - she was under 3 months pregnant at this stage. Clearly the Palace felt that with Kate in hospital, they couldn't keep the story out of the press and so went public earlier than most pregnant women like to.
Of course, rumours had still been circulting - this time about Kate Middleton's hint of a tummy and the fact she had chosen a soft drink instead of a glass of wine at an official function.
Prime Minister David Cameron took to Twitter to congratulate the royal couple. "I'm delighted by the news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby. They will make wonderful parents," he tweeted.
Hint of a bump at 4 months
In February this year, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge jetted off to the island of Mustique in the Caribbean for an early babymoon break before the arrival of the royal baby. Kate's parent's Carole and Michael joined the couple too.
Shortly after the sunshine break, the Duchess was back to her royal duties and continued with public engagements around the country. But one thing left most mums-to-be in awe (and us) - the Duchess' flawless maternity style, rocking everything from a tartan cape to a classic blue evening gown. She even picked up a dress from TopShop for her maternity wardrobe
We got our first look at Kate's bump when she visited a South London rehab facility when she was around 5-months pregnant. She wore a tight-fitting MaxMara wrap dress which showed off her burgeoning baby bump beautifully. And so "Royal Baby Bump Watch' began....
A slip of the tongue?
In March, Kate Middleton was rumoured to have almost said that she is expecting a baby girl after seemingly stopping herself from saying the word ‘daughter’.
The Princess, who was visiting Grimsby on royal duties, was given a teddy bear by an adoring fan to which Kate said, “Thank you, I’ll take that for my d…” the Telegraph reported.
Picking up on the ‘d’ word, Sandra Cook, who was in the crowd, said, “I said to her, ‘You were going to say daughter, weren’t you?’” After Kate denied that she knows the sex of her first child with husband Prince William, Sandra teased, “Oh, I think you do.” To which Kate reportedly replied, “We’re not telling.”
Shortly after this, another rumour started circulating that The Duchess had taken up pregnancy yoga, according to "a source close to the Duchess".
Reports suggested that Kate, who’s always been super-sporty, had hired a personal yoga instructor so that she could keep in shape.
“Kate has a yoga instructor visit her at the palace,” the source told US Weekly, adding that Kate and William's dog Lupo was also helping the Duchess stay active, with Kate taking Lupo for walks a few times a week “to increase her heart rate a little.”
Stopping flying at 5 months
We were told in March that The Duchess' global trips were being put on hold as as Kate was well into her second trimester.
The Duke and Duchess' principal private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton said, "I'm not anticipating the Duke and Duchess taking on overseas tours because of her baby," reported Marie Claire.
Following on from this, we heard that the Duchess was planning her baby shower with her sister Pippa. It was reported that Kate broke with royal tradition and had the 'do’ thrown by party planning sister Pippa rather than Buckingham Palace’s usual organisers.
Baby name dilemmas at 6 months
We learned more about the royal baby due date in April when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Scotland.
Chatting with the crowds at a homeless shelter in Glasgow, the pregnant Duchess happily divulged details of her due date, baby name choices and her “really bad” handiwork.
When presented with a woollen bear she joked, “I’ve been trying to knit myself, and I’m really bad! I’ll save it for the big day.”
She then admitted she was finding baby name choices “very difficult”, saying, “We have a shortlist for both (girls and boys), but it’s very difficult. My friends keep texting me names!”
Kate, who was sporting suitably Scottish plaid outerwear, also spoke about her due date, revealing, “It’s around mid-July but apparently babies have their own agenda.”
Speculation frenzy while Kate goes home to wait with mum and dad
At 8 months pregnant the Duchess of Cambridge made her final public engagement before taking her maternity leave in mid June. Appearing in Southampton at the naming ceremony of the Princess Cruises’ new Royal Princess, Kate looked beautiful - with no bloating and pregnancy puffiness on show - and very stylish in a Hobbs mac and black fascinator.
Since then, anyone and everyone has been taking it upon themselves to give advice to the royal couple, Katie Price advised the Duchess to do what she wants, Beverly Turner has urged her to breastfeed, David Beckham has said that the royal couple will make amazing parents and even suggested they name their baby David if it's a boy and the Finnish Government has sent the royal couple a special baby box.
Betting on baby names has gone crazy and speculation on the gender of the baby has been just as bad. We even discovered that couples are delaying naming their own babies until the royal baby name has been announced!
While Kate disappeared off to spend the final few weeks with her parents, a new city of journalists, photographers, TV crews and ladders developed outside Kate's planned maternity hospital, St Mary's in Paddington, London. The world had to wait... and wait... and wait.. while Kate's apparent due date (13 July) came and went. But at least we had the sunshine!
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