Duchess Kate Middleton gives birth to royal baby boy, Britain jubilant

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, delivered a baby boy at St Mary`s Hospital here.

Zee Media Bureau

London: Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, delivered a baby boy on late night Monday at St Mary`s Hospital here.

"Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24pm (local time). The baby weighs 8lbs 6oz," the Kensington Palace said in a statement.

The baby was born in the private Lindo Wing of the hospital in central London.

Prince William was with his 31-year-old wife when she delivered their child at the hospital in Paddington, where his mother, Princess Diana, gave birth to him in June 1982.

The cost of a suite at the unit is GBP 6,265 for a one-night stay with no complications and GBP 2,200 for each extra night.

All rooms have satellite TV, wi-fi, radio and a safe. The wing also offers a "comprehensive wine list".

Fresh bouquets of flowers are delivered every day and blackout curtains ensure total privacy.

Gynaecologists, paediatricians, midwives, nurses, breast -feeding consultants and nursery nurses are all on hand.

The Lindo wing was opened in 1937.

Queen Elizabeth II`s eldest granddaughter, Zara Phillips, who announced her own pregnancy this week, was also born there in 1981.

Prince Cambridge, as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is to be known until being officially named.

The royal couple`s first child, who under new laws to succession will remain third in line to the throne after Prince Charles and Prince William, was born with the Duke of Cambridge present beside Kate as she delivered the baby.

The palace statement said that the Duchess and the baby were "doing well" and would stay in hospital overnight.

"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 statement said.

Kensington Palace issued the information to the press, deciding to break with the original decision to make the formal announcement only as a typed medical bulletin signed by doctors to be displayed in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.

The royal couple`s press secretary then stepped out of the hospital to hand over the official bulletin to be transported to Buckingham Palace by car for a liveried footman to post the official announcement on the traditional easel.

"Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well," read the simple message informing the world about the newest royal baby boy.

The delivery followed hours of labour since the Duchess was admitted to the hospital at 06:00 hours (local time) this morning.

It is believed the baby boy was born through a normal delivery but further details are awaited.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Twitter: "I`m delighted for the Duke and Duchess now their son has been born. The whole country will celebrate. They`ll make wonderful parents."

Labour leader Ed Miliband, also writing on Twitter, said:
"Many congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. I wish them and their son all happiness and good health."

It is believed Kate will be discharged with the baby on Wednesday for the traditional picture at the doorstep of the hospital.

The royal easel of announcement is the same one used to announce the baby`s father, Prince William`s, birth in 1982.

Fountains and key landmarks are set to be illuminated and the news that "it`s a boy" is being broadcast on giant screens all over central London.

The Greater London Authority had ordered the fountains of Trafalgar Square to be lit in pink or blue, depending on the gender of the newborn.

The London Eye is also expected to be illuminated, this time in patriotic red, white and blue, while a 62-gun salute will be fired at the Tower of London.

There was widespread speculation of the gender of the royal baby, as if it was to be a girl, the child would have made history by becoming the first female firstborn of a future monarch to take precedence over a younger brother.

Kate was taken to the hospital in the early hours of this morning by car from the palace to St Mary`s.

The couple did not know the sex of their first child before the birth.
The world`s press has been camped outside St Mary`s for days in anticipation of the birth.

The due date had never been officially announced but had widely been expected to be mid-July.

Royal vehicles were seen at a back entrance to the hospital at about 06:00 am (local time) when Kate was brought to the hospital, with the announcement coming from Kensington Palace 90 minutes later.

The couple travelled to the hospital without a police escort, their spokesman said.

The Duchess was tended by a top medical team led by the Queen`s gynaecologist Marcus Setchell, who delivered the Countess of Wessex`s two children. Alan Farthing, the Queen`s current gynaecologist, assisted in the delivery.

There is a strong police presence around the hospital and two police officers are guarding the entrance to the private wing.

There had been tremendous enthusiasm globally over the birth of the royal baby and the media frenzy outside the hospital has been unprecedented.

Bored journalists had dubbed their vigil outside the hospital as "the Great Kate Wait".

Last week, the Queen joked about the imminent arrival of
the newest member of her family, saying she hoped the baby was born before she went on holiday to her private Balmoral estate in Scotland.

Prince William has been with his wife on annual leave and will have two weeks` paternity leave from his job as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is likely to carry out any christening, had earlier in the day, sent his best wishes to the couple.

"My thoughts and prayers are with Kate and the whole family on this enormously special day," tweeted Reverend Justin Welby.

The new royal baby is the Queen`s third great-grandchild.

The couple announced in December last year that they were expecting their first child after the Duchess was admitted to hospital suffering from severe morning sickness.

Since the announcement, the Duchess has carried out 19 days of public engagements before going on maternity leave in the middle of June.

Kate`s final public appearance before the birth was at the Trooping the Colour ceremony in June.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were married at Westminster Abbey in April 2011, watched on television by hundreds of millions of people around the world.

With PTI inputs