The day began with the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge driving to St. Mary’s Hospital from Kensington Palace just before 6 a.m. London time. They drove up to a back door of the private Lindo Wing, avoiding a mob of media out front.
At 7:30 a.m. the palace issued a 45-word press release: “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted this morning to St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London in the early stages of labour. The Duchess travelled by car from Kensington Palace to the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital with The Duke of Cambridge.”
There were no further updates from the palace during the day and virtually no activity in front of the private wing.
Then, at 8:30 p.m., confirmation finally came via a press release that a boy – 8 pounds, 6 ounces – had been “safely delivered” at 4:24 p.m.
In the old days the announcement was made to the wider public by a reader on radio, but today that’s replaced by the Internet and social media: After the announcement was made, officials posted the news on Twitter to millions of followers worldwide.
No name was included. The baby’s names, the palace said, “will be announced in due course.”
The name game
Now that the baby’s gender is known, the biggest guessing game surrounding the royal birth is the name. Most royals have three to four first names, usually in a combination that honours previous monarchs or relatives. The queen’s full name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, after her mother, great-grandmother and grandmother, and William’s full name is William Arthur Philip Louis.
The bookmakers had the shortest odds on Alexandra, Charlotte, Elizabeth for a girl, and George or James for a boy. It could take a while for the public to find out the future king’s name. When William was born, it took a full week before his name was announced.
The child, however, will be officially referred to as HRH Prince of Cambridge. He will not necessarily have a last name, although it could be Mountbatten-Windsor, Wales or Cambridge.
George V adopted Windsor in 1917 as the family name and the Queen and Prince Philip use Mountbatten-Windsor, a combination of their last names. Prince William and Harry use the name Wales, taken from their father. Cambridge is the title Prince William and the Duchess (the former Catherine Middleton) were given after their marriage.
Welcome with a bang
A 62-gun salute will ring from the Tower of London on Tuesday – 21 because it is a royal birth, 20 because the Tower is a Royal Palace and 21 for the City of London, according to the BBC. There will also be a light display along the River Thames. The London Eye Ferris wheel was to be lit red, white and blue.
There are no other official celebrations planned until the christening, which will likely be in several months. That will be done by the Archbishop of Canterbury, although it is not clear where. Prince William was christened by the Archbishop at Buckingham Palace.
Father in delivery room
Prince William said he would be there with the Duchess when she gave birth, in line with the expectations of many modern parents – and he delivered on that promise. He follows in the footsteps of his father, Charles, who declared how much he relished being in the delivery room in a letter to his godmother, Patricia Brabourne. “I am so thankful I was beside Diana’s bedside the whole time because by the end of the day I really felt as though I’d shared deeply in the process of birth,” Charles wrote shortly after William’s birth.
Things were quite different when Charles was born. When the Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) went into labour, her husband, Prince Philip, was off playing squash in the palace – out of restlessness, not indifference, noted Charles’ biographer Jonathan Dimbleby.
Canada’s gift of books
The new royal baby boy will be receiving a gift of Canadian-themed childrens’ books from Governor-General David Johnston and his wife, who are also inviting people to sign a book of congratulations for the family.
The Governor-General has set up an electronic signature book, “Royal Baby Wishes,” on his website, where people can submit congratulations. Rideau Hall said the office will print and send all the greetings to the Royal Family in several weeks.
“Sharon and I have five wonderful daughters and 10 delightful grandchildren and know well the elation that a new arrival brings to a young family,” Mr. Johnston said in a statement. “We know that this happy event brings great joy not only to Their Royal Highnesses, but to the entire nation as well.”
With reports from Steven Chase and Associated Press