Catherine, the duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to a baby boy Monday morning at the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s hospital, the same place where she had her other two children, according to Kensington Palace. Her husband, Prince William, 35, was by her side.
“The baby weighed 8lbs 7oz,” Kensington Palace said in a tweet. “The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.”
According to tradition, news of the birth will be displayed on an easel in front of Buckingham Palace.
In the line to succeed great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, the baby is behind grandfather Prince Charles, father William, brother Prince George and sister Princess Charlotte. A 2013 act of Parliament removed preference for male heirs.
The baby knocks Prince Harry down a notch in the succession to the throne. Next month, Harry will marry American actress Meghan Markle.
Despite being overshadowed by that other upcoming royal event, the clamor surrounding the birth of the royal baby has ratcheted up in recent weeks.
Kensington Palace said the baby was due in April, but they never dished on the exact due date. But earlier this month, yellow signs appeared outside the Lindo Wing announcing parking restrictions from April 9 to 30 because of an “event.” As students of royal baby births know, this was code for the Royal. Baby. Watch. Is. On.
A clutch of die-hard royal fans quickly changed into Union Jack-themed attire and made a beeline for St. Mary’s hospital, a short drive from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s home at Kensington Palace. For days now, they have slept on benches and in tents outside the hospital, opined on baby names with journalists, and stared at the door to the private maternity unit where Kate will give birth.
“If it’s a boy, they could call it Philip Michael. Philip after the duke and Michael after Catherine’s father,” mused John Loughrey, 63, before the announcement. “If it’s a girl, would be nice if they called it Elizabeth, after the queen, or Victoria or Mary,” he said.
The former chef, along with a handful of other hardcore royal fans, has been sleeping in a red tent outside the Lindo Wing since April 9. He also said that the staff at the hospital has been generous, offering them showers, coffee and food.
To be sure, the royal baby fever never really rose to the soaring temperatures reached when Kate, as the duchess is also known, gave birth to her first child. Yes, the British satirical magazine Private Eye memorably published “Woman Has Baby” on its front cover in response to the birth of George, but its delightfully ironic response was to be expected.
In 2013, the nation was gripped by the news of the birth of George, and journalists from around the world camped outside the hospital for the “Great Kate Wait.” The day of the birth was greeted by prime-time specials and wall-to-wall media coverage. And that was just in the United States.
But a royal baby is still a royal baby, even if it’s the third one. Attention will soon shift to the name of Baby Cambridge, which may not be announced immediately. George was two days old when the world learned of his name.
Luckily, British bookies, who will take bets on nearly anything, are here to help fill that void. Arthur, Albert and Jack are top picks. And to be fair to the bookies, George and Charlotte were two of their top picks for the other Cambridge children.
Rupert Adams, a spokesman for the bookmaker William Hill, said that for George, the bookmaker took in about 1 million pounds ($1.4 million) in bets; for Charlotte, it was about 800,000 pounds ($1.1 million).
“We’d be chuffed if we got 600,000 this time,” he said. “It is the third child.”
Last year, William quit his job as an air ambulance pilot, and he and Kate packed up the family from their residence in Norfolk and moved to Kensington Palace, in central London. George started school last year in Battersea, south London, and earlier this year Charlotte started at a nursery near the palace.
Within seconds of hearing that Kate had been admitted to hospital, Twitter erupted in celebration. The hashtag #RoyalBaby began trending in Britain.
As royal baby fever soared in Britain, some seemed a little less fazed. “The Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant? I didn’t know,” wrote one Twitter user.
The Washington Post’s Jennifer Hassan in London contributed to this report.
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