BREAKING NEWS: Duchess of Cambridge is admitted to hospital as she goes into labour
- Duchess of Cambridge planning to give birth to the royal baby naturally
- Baby to be born at Paddington hospital where Princess Diana had children
- Prince William is also at the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in London
- Royal couple still do not know the sex of the baby, third in line to throne
- Mother Carole and sister Pippa will probably be with Kate, 31, during labour
- Birth to be announced on document displayed on Buckingham Palace easel
The Duchess of Cambridge is in the early stages of labour and has been admitted to hospital as she prepares to give birth to the future king or queen.
Prince William is with his wife at the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London, where he himself was born in 1982.
Palace officials chose to make the announcement that Kate has gone into labour public in an attempt to balance her ‘dignity’ with the fact that social media makes it almost impossible to keep her baby’s imminent arrival a secret.
‘The Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted this morning to St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London in the early stages of labour,’ a royal spokesman said.
‘The Duchess travelled by car from Kensington Palace to the Lindo Wing with The Duke of Cambridge‘.
The couple’s child will become third in the line of succession, displacing Prince Harry to fourth and the Duke of York to fifth.
As a result of recent, long-anticipated changes in the law, the baby will also be made an HRH (His or Her Royal Highness) and given the title Prince or Princess of Cambridge.
If she is a girl she will, one day, become Queen, just as a boy will become King.
He or she is also destined to become a future head of the armed forces, supreme governor of the Church of England and head of the Commonwealth, which covers 54 nations across the world, and subsequently head of state of 16 countries.
The birth is also a momentous event for the present Queen personally.
The last time a still-serving monarch got to meet a great grandchild born in direct succession to the crown was nearly 120 years ago.
Queen Victoria, who reigned until 1901, was still sovereign when her great grandchild Edward VIII, who later abdicated, was born third in line in 1894.
William and Kate’s baby will be the great great great great great grandchild of Queen Victoria and the present Queen’s third great grandchild.
The couple still do not know the sex of their baby, bucking the trend of 75 per cent of British parents who now choose to discover the gender of their child.
On their way: Carole Middleton, left, is thought to be with her daughter while Kate’s sister Pippa, right, is also believed to be heading to hospital to support her sister through labour
Gone quiet: In the run-up to the birth, Kate was last seen officially at the Trooping The Colour parade in mid-June, while Prince William has also kept a low profile since attending a wedding alone on June 22
Sources close to the new royal mother-to-be suggest that she is definitely not ‘too posh to push’ and wants – unless nature intervenes – to opt for a natural birth rather than an elective caesarean section like many celebrity figures.
The Royal Household’s official surgeon-gynaecologist, Alan Farthing, the former fiancé of murdered television presenter Jill Dando, is the consultant gynaecologist at St Mary’s and will be assisting with the labour.
He will be led by the Queen’s own surgeon-gynaecologist, Marcus Setchell.
The joyous arrival of Baby Cambridge will set the seal on an immensely happy – and settled – period for the Royal Family, after several decades dominated by highly public marital strife.
More pertinently, it will be time of immeasurable joy for first-time parents William and Kate, who have made no secret of their desire to start a family.
In an interview to mark their engagement in 2010, Kate said of the importance of family to her: ‘Yes. It’s very important to me. And I hope we will be able to have a happy family ourselves.’
Starting a family: The Duchess of Cambridge, seen on a visit to a children’s hospice in Hampshire, is about to become a mother for the first time
When asked about his future plans in the military, William added in an interview last year: ‘More importantly, I’d rather like to have children. So that’s the key thing really.’ He also revealed that he would like two children.
It is believed that the Duchess fell pregnant last October, within days of returning home from the couple’s hugely successful Diamond Jubilee tour on behalf of the Queen to Asia and the South Pacific.
Kate was particularly keen to have her family around her as anxious father-to-be William, 30, is on duty in North Wales, where he is still working as a Search and Rescue pilot at RAF Valley on Anglesey.
William is said to be determined to make it to the delivery suite, following in the footsteps of his own father who broke royal tradition to be with his wife, Diana, Princess of Wales, for the birth of both their children.
As a result, plans have been formulated by palace aides to whisk him down to London by helicopter so he can be present at his son or daughter’s birth.
Previous heirs have been born at home or Buckingham Palace.
Having a giggle: As the champagne smashed on the ship Kate laughed and jumped a little, and despite her loose coat she couldn’t hide how pregnant she was
When the Queen was born in her grandparents’ London home in Mayfair, the home secretary Sir William Joynson-Hicks waited in the next room as part of an age-old custom designed to prevent a substitute baby being smuggled in.
Fortunately, Kate will not have to suffer such ignominy as the birth of the Queen’s cousin, Princess Alexandra in 1936, was the last occasion a home secretary was present.
King George VI declared that a minister was needed only for those in direct line of succession, but by the time Prince Charles was born in 1948 it had been abandoned completely as constitutionally unnecessary.
The Home Secretary is now only required to notify certain officials including the Lord Mayor of London, while the Queen’s Private Secretary Sir Christopher Geidt informs Governor Generals overseas.
MailOnline understands that William himself is likely to phone the Queen before anyone else, even his own father, depending on what time of day the baby is born.
After this call a traditional and dramatic chain of events will be kick-started that will lead to the announcement of the future monarch’s birth – following exactly the same process as Prince William’s to retain ‘the theatre’ of a genuine royal occasion.
Growing: Kate is seen waving her ‘Baby on Board’ badge to the Queen (left) and later (right) in Grimsby at five months pregnant
Bump: The pregnant Catherine visits Hope House in Clapham in February (left), and then a Manchester school on St George’s Day (right) when six months pregnant
As soon as the baby is born, a proclamation signed by the doctors who delivered the boy or girl will be rushed from the ward.
The sheet of creamy A4-size Buckingham Palace-headed paper will be brought out of the Lindo’s front entrance by a press officer.
It will then be handed to a waiting driver and driven through the streets of London – escorted by police outriders – to the Privy Purse Door at the front of Buckingham Palace.
There it will then be placed on an easel, last used to announce Prince William’s birth, by the main gates in the palace forecourt.
A palace spokesman explained that the rather theatrical nature of the announcement was crucial to retaining a sense of dignity appropriate for the birth of an heir to the throne.
Historic: The same easel (left) will be used when the royal baby is born, and will hold the same kind of written announcement placed on display when William Wales came into the world (right)
He said: ‘We wanted to retain some of the theatre of the notice. It is quite important to us that this is done properly and with the degree of dignity that the event demands.
‘This is the birth of a child who will be in line to the throne. It is a rare occasion and it is nice to be able to do it with some historical precedence.’
It is understood Kate’s mother Carole and sister Pippa had planned to be at the hospital with her.
It is also hoped that William will make a short statement on the steps of the hospital after the good news has been declared – as will the Middletons.
Palace sources have also made clear the birth will not be made public until the Queen and senior members of the royal family have been informed.
The Middletons, in the unlikely event that they are not at the hospital, will also be informed of the birth in advance.
The procedure is to avoid announcing the birth on Twitter.
However if the baby is born between 10.30pm and 8am, the news will be sent out via press release with the easel being erected later that morning, at around 9am.
Prince William is due to take just two weeks’ statutory paternity leave – for which he will be paid £136.78 a week – before returning to his normal shift pattern.
His wife, however, will definitely not return with him to their home on Anglesey with the new baby.
A palace spokesman had said that there was ‘still some discussion’ about where Kate and their new-born will be based.
But the Daily Mail has already revealed that she plans to move in with her parents at their £4.8million Berkshire mansion for around six weeks after William returns to work, as builders are still putting the finishing touches to their new apartment at Kensington Palace.
Contingency plans were also put in place with other hospitals, such as the Royal Berkshire in Reading, on alert in case the Duchess went into labour while visiting her parents.
But as expected Kate was taken to St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.
She chose St Mary’s Lindo Wing, like the late Princess Diana before her, where a natural birth, staying in a private suite, is likely to cost up to £10,000.
The couple’s choice of the private wing is unsurprising, but nevertheless touching given the link with William’s late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
William has always, by and large, kept his feelings about his mother close to his chest – aside from admitting he gave Kate her engagement ring as a way of keeping her ‘close to it all’.
He became the first future monarch in history to be born in a hospital when he was delivered there on 21st June 1982, followed by his brother, Harry.
Royal babies past and present: Prince William, seen left and right in the arms of his mother Diana, became the first future monarch in history to be born in a hospital when he was delivered at St Mary’s in 1982
The Lindo underwent an extensive refurbishment in June 2012 and now provides what it boasts is the ‘highest quality of care’ for patients experiencing both ‘straightforward’ and complex pregnancies.
All rooms are equipped with satellite television, wi-fi, radio, a safe and a fridge. There is also a bedside telephone, internet access and a team of ‘catering staff’.
The hospital wing even offers its own wine list should patients and their guests wish to enjoy a glass of champagne to celebrate their baby’s arrival.
The Royal Household’s official surgeon-gynaecologist, Alan Farthing (left), the former fiancé of murdered television presenter Jill Dando, is the consultant gynaecologist at St Mary’s and will be assisting with the labour. He will be led by the Queen’s own surgeon-gynaecologist, Marcus Setchell (right)
The bill for delivery is staggered per 24 hours – with a quick, natural birth costing £4,965. Staying in a suite – as the Duchess is likely to do – would cost an additional £1,000 plus per night on top of that, meaning the delivery could cost up to £10,000.
The child will be known as Prince or Princess, then their first name, followed by the words ‘of Cambridge’.
Buckingham Palace say that, as an HRH, the youngster does not require a surname, indeed William and his brother Harry were christened using just their first names.
Its website explains: ‘For the most part, members of the Royal Family who are entitled to the style and dignity of HRH Prince or Princess do not need a surname, but if at any time any of them do need a surname (such as upon marriage), that surname is Mountbatten-Windsor.’
However William has chosen to use the surname Wales professionally in the forces, as has Harry. His children might use Cambridge in the same way, or even Wales, too, as William still retains his title Prince William of Wales as well as that of the Duke of Cambridge.
The good news is that summer babies are thought to be more optimistic than those arriving in winter.
The new third-in-line-to the-throne is likely to be born under the star sign of Cancer, assuming its arrival falls between June 21 and July 22.
Cancerian babies – including Prince William’s late mother who was born on July 1 – are meant to be ‘soft, sensitive and affectionate’ as well as ‘imaginative, kind and gentle souls’.
KATE’S BUMPY PATH TO BIRTH: HOW THE DUCHESS’S PREGNANCY WAS ANNOUNCED EARLY AFTER BOUT OF SEVERE MORNING SICKNESS
Soon afterwards Kate was admitted to hospital and they had little choice but had to make the ‘reluctant and difficult’ decision to make the announcement.
The couple initially had ‘no plans whatsoever’ to announce the pregnancy until after she had had her 12-week scan, MailOnline understood at the time.
The 31-year-old was suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) – a rare and severe form of morning sickness believed to affect up to two per cent of women in pregnancy.
It is understood that Kate was put on a drip as she struggled to remain hydrated.
Attentive: The Duchess of Cambridge, pictured left at a reception in London in November, was rushed to the King Edward VII Hospital with acute morning sickness, and Prince William, right, stayed by her side
Members of the Royal Family – including the Queen and grandfather-to-be Prince Charles – were informed less than an hour before the statement was put out at 4pm that day.
Uncle-to-be Prince Harry, who is serving in Afghanistan, was told by email at his base and the announcement was also Tweeted by Clarence House, prompting the couple’s official website to crash.
It was believed that Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, became aware of their daughter’s news at the weekend, however.
She was staying with them in Berkshire when her condition deteriorated.
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) tends to be more common in young mothers, women who are in their first pregnancy, and those with multiple pregnancies.
Experts say it normally occurs during weeks six and eight of pregnancy, when the placenta takes over production of hormones from the ovaries.
Women with HG often lose weight – usually over 10 per cent of their body weight – and feel tired and dizzy.
At the time Kate looked particularly thin.
Victims may also find they are passing water less often than usual, and the main risk is dehydration which can lead to headache, palpitations and confusion.
After her release from hospital it was clear that the Duchess had been hit badly by the illness, which affects three in every one thousand pregnant women, and she was forced to rest quietly at their home in Kensington Palace for several more weeks.
As is usual, the illness appeared to have passed by 21 weeks of pregnancy, and Kate went on to be publicly active until the weeks before she went into labour.
The Duchess made a full recovery and continued with a light diary of public engagements until mid-June, setting the fashion world alight with her choice of elegant maternity outfits – ranging from Topshop dresses to bespoke Emelia Wickstead outfits.
The last time she was officially seen in public was at Trooping the Colour on June 15.
But her stay in hospital was marked with tragedy when a prank call made by Australian DJs Michael Christian and his co-host Mel Greig, who were working on Sydney’s 2Day FM radio station, rang the hospital pretending to be Prince Charles and the Queen and were put through to the Duchess of Cambridge’s ward at King Edward VII’s Hospital.
Jacintha Saldanha, a night sister, was the senior nurse on duty when she took a call at 5.30am from Australian DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who were pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles.
She unwittingly transferred the call to a colleague, who described in detail the condition of Kate, who was being treated for severe morning sickness.
Mrs Saldanha later committed suicide.