London: In a break from royal tradition, Kate Middleton plans to give birth to the future monarch of Britain near her family home, at a hospital where she and her sister Pippa were born.
Kate, now known as Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge, is seriously considering giving birth to the future monarch at a hospital near parents Michael and Carole Middleton`s house in the home counties, The Telegraph reported.
It had been widely expected that the third-in-line to the throne would be born in the Lindo Wing of St Mary`s Hospital in Paddington, where Diana, Princess of Wales gave birth to Kate`s husband William, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
"Kate`s family want the baby to be born at the Royal Berkshire Hospital," claims one of the couple`s friends.
"Their thinking is that she will be based at her parents` house during the later stages of her pregnancy and they do not want her to have to travel miles to Paddington when she goes into labour," the friend of the couple said.
The Duchess and her sister, Pippa, were born at the hospital in Reading, whose first patron was Queen Victoria. A 3 million pound midwife-led unit opened there last year.
Kate`s labour will be overseen by Alan Farthing, the Queen`s surgeon-gynaecologist. Farthing will be assisted by his predecessor, Marcus Setchell.
Farthing has a private Harley Street practice and works as a consultant at two teaching hospitals in London, Queen Charlotte`s in Hammersmith and St Mary`s.
However, he and Setchell will go wherever the couple choose.
The Duchess` experience of hospitals recommended by the royal family has not been entirely happy.
While she was being treated for severe morning sickness at the private King Edward VII Hospital, in Marylebone, members of staff, including an Indian-origin nurse, fell victim to prank radio callers from Australia.
Jacintha Saldanha, the Indian-origin nurse who put through the call from two radio presenters pretending to be the Queen and the Prince of Wales, killed herself days later.
However, friends insist that the tragedy is not a factor in the Duchess` plans.
Last weekend, it was reported that Kate intended to live at her parents` house in Bucklebury for at least the first six weeks after the delivery, which is due in July.
William and Kate`s London residence at Kensington Palace is not expected to be ready until at least September or October.
The Middletons have plenty of space to accommodate the couple.
A spokesman says an announcement about where the Duchess plans to give birth will be made "in due course".