- The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a baby girl at 8.34am, Kensington Palace has confirmed
- She was admitted to the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital at 6am this morning and was delivered shortly afterwards
- Prince William accompanied his 33-year-old wife to the hospital while Prince George remained at Kensington Palace
- The little girl is fourth-in-line to the throne and will be known as Her Royal Highness Princess (name) of Cambridge
The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a baby girl, Kensington Palace has announced.
The princess was born at 8.34am this morning weighing 8lbs 3oz, with the Duke of Cambridge present for the birth.
Kensington Palace announced the birth shortly after 11am this morning, some five hours ‘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.
‘Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.’
New mother: The Duchess of Cambridge, pictured here in Margate (left) and London (right) last month, has given birth to a girl
Kate, 33, was last seen at Buckingham Palace after using the Queen’s swimming pool with her son, Prince George, on April 29 (above)
Royal fans celebrate after hearing the news that the Duchess of Cambridge had given birth to a baby girl at 8.34am today
William and Kate’s new daughter, a younger sister for Prince George, who was born at the same hospital in July 2013, is fourth in line to the throne.
Although she is unlikely to ever become queen, it is not unheard of for a second child in the direct line of succession to accede to the throne.
Mostly recently the Queen’s own father, King George V1, replaced his elder brother, King Edward V111, who abdicated over his love for the ‘unsuitable’ American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
Thanks to a recent change in the law, the couple’s daughter cannot be superseded in her claim to the throne by any younger brother who may yet come along.
The Succession to the Crown Act, passed in 2013, means that male heirs no longer precede their elder sisters in the line of succession
A 2012 intervention by the Queen also means that the new baby will automatically become an HRH – Her Royal Highness – and be permitted to take the title of princess.
As the second child of the second heir to the throne she would, until then, only have been a Lady.
Her arrival will shunt his uncle, Prince Harry, down to fifth in the order of succession. Her great uncle, Prince Andrew, will fall out of the top five for the first time to sixth.
Many royal watchers had been desperately hoping for a girl – the last to be born in the direct line of succession was Princess Anne back in 1950.
Both Prince Charles and William’s late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, both openly longed for a girl to add to their family.
Indeed when congratulated by a member of the public about the news that he would become a grandfather again last year, he said candidly; ‘It’s wonderful to be a grandfather again. I’m looking forward to it. But I hope it will be a girl this time.’
Kate herself has said William was hoping for a daughter, although his brother, Prince Harry, joked William probably doesn’t realise what he is taking on
News of her birth came in the form of a press release to media organisations followed by a formal – and very modern – announcement two minutes later on the palace social media channels on Twitter and Instagram.
However it was made public only after the Queen and other family members had been informed, including Prince Charles, now a grandfather twice over, the baby’s uncle Prince Harry, who is currently on an army detachment in Australia, and, of course, Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, who will play a dominant part in their new grandchild’s life.
Welcome to the world! Like her elder brother Prince George, the new arrival was ushered into the world at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington
Kensington Palace had barred journalists from camping outside the hospital in advance in an attempt to retain what it described as the ‘privacy and dignity’ of the event.
Hospital authorities were also said to be keen to avoid what had been described as the ‘media circus’ around Prince George’s birth.
Instead media crews were invited to set up only after the Duchess had been admitted, having been driven from her home at nearby Kensington Palace.
Prince William had faced a potential two-hour dash to the hospital to be with his wife if she suddenly went into labour while he was away training in his new role as a pilot for East Anglia Air Ambulance.
But earlier this week it emerged that he had completed the initial stage of his training ‘earlier than expected’ and is now taking six weeks’ unpaid leave until it resumes on June 1.
The happy coincidence meant that he could be with Kate and George in the run up to the new baby’s arrival and can take a hands-on parenting role in the coming weeks.
In recent days the Duchess, who carried out her last public engagement in March, had been taking her mind off the impending birth by spending some time with her parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, at their sprawling Georgian mansion in Bucklebury, Berkshire.
On Sunday she and Carole took her eldest son, Prince George, for a visit to nearby Bucklebury Farm Park where youngsters can meet a variety of animals from lambs to wild boar and enjoy a large outdoor playground. The little prince is a frequent visitor to the park with both his mother, nanny and grandmother.
Kate appeared unbothered by her pregnancy, according to onlookers, as she carried George, accompanied by a low-key Scotland Yard security detail.
William, Kate and George returned to London on Sunday night but have kept a low profile since.
Aside from suffering again from the debilitating ante-natal vomiting condition hyperemesis gravidarum in the early stages, the Duchess has apparently enjoyed another healthy pregnancy.
At Easter she was seen energetically running about with George at a farm park in Norfolk, close to the couple’s home, Anmer Hall, with her bump barely showing still.
William’s determination to be at the birth, as he was at George’s, is in contrast to other royal fathers. Prince Philip was enjoying a game of squash when his first-born son, Charles, was delivered.
The couple’s new daughter will be the Queen’s fifth great-grandchild – of which four are girls – and a great-great-great-great-great grandchild of Queen Victoria.
Now that a public announcement has been made by Kensington Palace, the traditional notice of birth will be placed on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace by the Queen’s staff, just as they did when Prince George was born in 2013 and other royal babies before him.
The notice will, like last time, be printed on cream notepaper by Royal Warrant holders The Wren Press and feature the names of the medical staff who attended the birth.
It will be ceremoniously brought down the hospital steps by a palace aide and handed to a footman, who will then escort it by car across London to the Queen’s official residence.
It is not yet known whether little George, who will turn two in July, will go to the hospital to meet his new sister before the family eventually depart.
But sources say they will return to Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace for ‘a few days’ to recuperate before travelling to Norfolk to set up home at Anmer Hall, their new country estate.
‘The family will return to Kensington Palace where they are expected to stay for at least a couple of days. After their time at Kensington Palace the couple will return to their home in Norfolk,’ an aide revealed.
It will be while the couple are at Kensington Palace that an announcement will be made about the new baby’s name.
Kate, who undertook her final public duty last month, has not specified how much maternity leave she intends to take or indeed when her first public engagement after the birth might be. But an aide added: ‘As you suspect with two very young children her focus will be on her family over the summer.’
Officials have also dismissed recent claims that the couple plan to employ a maternity nurse in addition to their existing nanny, Maria Borrallo.
‘At this stage the Duke and Duchess do not intend to take on any additional staff’ said one.
The couple have proved to be fiercely protective about their eldest son’s privacy and are likely to be no different with their daughter.
One photographer who recently shot pictures of Prince George playing in a London park was threatened with legal action.
The future king has not been seen in the flesh by the British public since the day he left hospital, although a number of carefully-selected pictures have been released.
A spokesman for the couple said recently that they had been ‘touched’ by the public reaction to the birth of their new baby.
In a statement about the impending royal arrival, he said: ‘The Duke and Duchess are hugely grateful for the warm wishes they have received from people throughout the UK and indeed around the world over the last few months.
‘They know that people are excited Prince George will soon have a little brother or sister and it means a great deal to them that so many will be celebrating this important moment for their family.
‘They are very appreciative that so many people share their excitement as they await the arrival of their second baby.’
Kensington Palace were forced to reveal news of the Duchess’s condition several weeks earlier than planned last September after she once again developed Hyperemesis Gravidarum, the same chronic ante-natal sickness that saw her hospitalised while she was expecting George.
This time she was treated by doctors at Kensington Palace, although sources told the Mail that her condition was ‘just as severe as before’.
As a result the Duchess, who was barely six weeks pregnant at the time, was forced to cancel a string of planned public engagements, including her first solo foreign visit to Malta, and palace officials decided they had no choice but to make news of her condition public.
She was not well enough to undertake public engagements until the end of October when she and her husband officially greeted the President of the Republic of Singapore on behalf of the Queen at the start of a state visit to London.
Kate told them that she was delighted to ‘be out of the house’.
Fortunately she made a full recovery and continued with a light diary of public engagements until March this year, setting the fashion world alight with a range of stylish maternity outfits that ranged from a £35 polka dot dress from online retailer ASOS to a £995 silk chiffon dress by Erdem, with coats by Mulberry, Seraphine and Alexander McQueen – all with her trademark high heels.
William, who is one of two children while his wife is one of three, said recently that he was looking forward to the birth but described the arrival of his second child as a ‘game changer’.
HOW THE LINE OF SUCCESSION WILL NOW LOOK
1. The Prince of Wales
2. The Duke of Cambridge
3. Prince George of Cambridge
4. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s second child
5. Prince Henry of Wales
6. The Duke of York
7. Princess Beatrice of York
8. Princess Eugenie of York
9. The Earl of Wessex
10. Viscount Severn
11. Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor
12. The Princess Royal
13. Mr Peter Phillips
14. Miss Savannah Phillips
15. Miss Isla Phillips