Countdown to the Royal birth! FEMAIL brings you everything you need to know about the arrival of Kate and Wills‘ firstborn
By Katy Winter Daily Mail PUBLISHED: 22 July 2013
It has finally happened: the Duchess of Cambridge has gone into labour. Of course, any woman who has experienced the joy of three days worth of contractions will know that Kate’s baby still may not put in an appearance today… or tomorrow.
But no doubt the Royal family (the Queen has a holiday to go on, after all) and the medical staff attending the birth will be on tenterhooks.
From every last detail inside the Royal delivery suite to provisions for a medical emergencies and the preparation of canon fire once the baby arrives, the Royal birth has been a maelstrom of protocol, tradition – and meticulous planning.
The hospital was chosen long ago – it is the same as the one where William and Harry were born. The nursery has prepared – and Kate has been spotted shopping for interiors multiple times over the last few months.
The gynaecologists are on hand, the parents – and siblings – are poised for action.
So just what goes into the arrival of a Royal baby? As Kate prepares for the birth of our future monarch, FEMAIL brings you all you need to know about the birth of William and Kate‘s first child…
LIVE: Royal baby latest
The lead up to the big day: Every possibility planned for
- Kate will give birth in a suite at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, the same hospital where Diana gave birth to William in 1982 and Harry in 1984.
- The private room in the Lindo Wing where Kate plans to have her baby at St Mary’s is the height of luxury, with an en suite, wireless internet and champagne available.
- In preparation for the birth the Duchess has had one-to-one sessions with Christine Hill, the no-nonsense doyenne of antenatal experts.
- The obstetric physiotherapist and mother-of-three became the ‘must-have’ guru after the retirement of her friend and former associate, Betty Parsons, who ‘prepared’ the Queen when she was expecting Prince Edward. The 65-year-old paediatric physiotherapist said royal parents-to-be Kate and William made a ‘very strong team’.
- Although security fears meant the pregnant Duchess was unable to join one of Ms Hill’s famed antenatal classes, Kate made two private visits to her London practice. The 31-year-old, who Ms Hill describes as a ‘delightful girl’, visited once by herself, and once with husband Prince William at her side to to hear some wise words from the expert, who is the author of two successful books on pregnancy.
- Sources have revealed that Kate has also had private pregnancy yoga sessions at Kensington Palace to prepare for the birth.
- The Duchess will have one of six delivery suites available in the private Lindo wing of the hospital, which cost an average of £4,965 a night.
- Lindo Wing, where a suite for a natural birth costs up to £10,000, has long been a Royal favourite and was opened by the Queen Mother in 1937.
- Large and bright, the rooms feature ‘soothing’ block colour murals by London-based artist Julian Opie.
- More like a hotel than a hospital, the rooms feature all the mod-cons such as internet and satellite TV as well as an extensive wine and champagne list. There is an en-suite bathroom and a reclining chair for William to relax in.
- Extra supplies of Kate’s blood type have reportedly been ordered in case of an emergency.
- Around 350 premature or sick newborn babies are cared for each year by the multidisciplinary team. The Lindo Wing was re-opened in June 2012 after extensive refurbishment.
- Security surrounding the birth is unsurprisingly incredibly tight, with armed police expected to stand guard at the hospital entrances once Kate is inside.
- Kate is expected to be taken into the Lindo through one of three side entrances to avoid the already waiting press.
- Parking on the road outside has been suspended for what Westminster Council unsentimentally calls ‘EVENT S0601867’.
- The front windows have been hastily ‘frosted’ in recent weeks for fear that people could see in.
- William, who may well be at the couples home in Anglesey, north Wales performing his duties as an RAF search and rescue pilot, is expected to rush to Kate’s side as soon as possible. There has been speculation that he will travel back by helicopter, although this has not been confirmed by Palace officials, who have only said that he will cover the cost of transport himself.
- Kate will be one of relatively few royals in history to give birth in a hospital, with home births being favoured by the monarchy until recently. Queen Elizabeth was born at her private family home, 17 Bruton Street in London, and gave birth to her sons Charles, Andrew and Edward in Buckingham Palace and Princess Anne at Clarence House.
The birth itself: Kate’s not too posh to push
- Obstetrician Marcus Setchell, who turns 70 this year and was formerly the Queen’s gynaecologist will deliver the baby.
- When Kate goes into labour, Dr Setchell will be alerted on his specially-encrypted mobile phone by the Royal couple’s private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton.
The Royal Household’s official Surgeon-gynaecologist, Alan Farthing (right), the former fiancé of Jill Dando, will be led by the Queen’s own Surgeon-Gynaecologist, Marcus Setchell (left) during labour
Royal Births: A history in numbers
1926 Queen Elizabeth: 2:20 am
1948 Prince Charles: 9:14 pm, 7lbs 6 ounces
1950 Princess Anne: 11:50 am, 6lbs even
1960 Prince Andrew: 3:38 pm, 7lbs 3 ounces
1964 Prince Edward: 8:20 pm, 5lbs 7 ounces
1977 Peter Phillips: 10:46 am, 7lbs 9 ounces
1981 Zara Philips: 8:15 pm, 8lbs 1 ounce
1982 Prince William: 9:03 pm, 7lbs 1.5 ounces
1984 Prince Harry: 4:20 pm, 6lbs 14 ounces
1988 Princess Beatrice: 8:18 pm, 6lbs 12 ounces
1990 Princess Eugenie: 7:58 pm, 7lb 1.5 ounces
2003 Lady Louise: 11:32 pm, 4lbs 9 ounces
2007 James, Viscount Severn: 4:20 pm, 6lbs 2 ounces
- The six-and-a-half-mile journey from his home to the hospital should take no more than 20 minutes but he is entitled to use the green flashing light as a doctor on call on the roof of his car.
- He applied for practising rights at the unit before Kate’s pregnancy was confirmed and is expected to be assisted by his son, Tom Setchell, a gynaecologist and obstetrician at St Mary’s.
- Marcus Setchell delivered Lady Louise Windsor after the Countess of Wessex went into labour prematurely in 2003. He also carried out the Duchess of Cornwall’s hysterectomy.
- Overseeing the birth will be gynaecologist Alan Farthing, the former fiancé of murdered TV presenter Jill Dando.
- A senior midwife and nurse will be also be alongside them to complete the medical team, while Kate’s mother Carol and sister Pippa are also expected to be in the hospital along with William.
- It has recently been revealed that 58-year-old Carol received emergency midwife training at a British Airways training centre in 1976 so she may be able to offer her daughter advice, though she will not be officially helping with the birth.
- Following the precedent set by his father, William will remain in the room with Kate throughout the birth. Prince Charles broke with the Royal tradition by attending both hospital births of William and Harry. Previous royal births had happened in the Palaces, with the father not present at the actual delivery.
- In a letter he wrote to his godmother, Patricia Brabourne, Prince Charles expressed his joy at having been present at the birth of his sons, saying: ‘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.’
- When Princes Charles himself was born, Prince Phillip was reported off playing squash in the palace, and not by the Queen’s side.
Kate’s mother Carole (left) and sister Pippa (right) are thought to be attending the birth
- A Royal official used to have to be present in the room to authenticate the birth, an ancient tradition to ensure the heir had not been ‘swapped’, though this practice was abolished by George VI.
- Despite the numerous emergency contingency plans, Kate is reportedly planning a natural vaginal delivery.
- The royal couple are not believed to know the sex of the child and are to thought to have picked a shortlist of names for both sexes, only making the final choice once the baby has been born.
Meet the Royal baby
- The announcement of a Royal birth is a process steeped in tradition.
- While William is likely to personally call his grandmother the Queen, as well as possibly his father, stepmother and brother, it will be the couple’s private secretary who will notify a few official dignitaries such as the Prime Minister David Cameron and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
- This will be followed by an announcement of the birth on the official Twitter page and the heads of all 54 Commonwealth countries being personally informed by royal officials.
- As with William’s birth, an official bulletin will be signed by the medical team after the birth, which is delivered to a waiting driver who takes it straight to Buckingham Palace, escorted by police.
- This notice of birth will then be posted on the same golden easel used to announce William’s birth in the grounds of the palace.
- Visible by the public, the notice will share the sex of the new remember of the Royal family, the time of the birth as well as the birth weight.
- 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.
- The Duke and Duchess may also chose to announce the name, although this is unlikely, especially as they are said to not even know the sex of the child prior to the birth. William’s name was not officially announced until a week after his birth.
- A 41-gun salute will be performed in Hyde Park to mark the birth, consisting of empty chamber canons being fired by The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery.
- Prince William has announced his intention to take two weeks paternity leave from his RAF post to remain by Kate’s side.
- It is not known how long exactly Kate and baby will remain in hospital following the birth, but it is likely to depend on the birth itself and how ready the Duchess is to return home .
- While in hospital her own family as well as Prince Charles and Camilla and Prince Harry will be invited to visit and to meet the new arrival.
- When they are discharged the Duke and Duchess will take their new baby to the Middleton’s family home in Berkshire while the couple’s apartment at Kensington Palace is undergoing refurbishment.
- William and Kate are hoping to move into Apartment 1A, the 57-room residence once inhabited by Princess Margaret, with their new baby later this summer.
- Breaking with tradition, the couple intend to do the bulk of caring for their baby themselves, forgoing the usual royal nannies and instead merely opting for a housekeeper to help with domestic chores.
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