17:40 GMT – AFP IS CLOSING THIS LIVE REPORT after Prince William’s wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to a girl, the couple’s second child and British royal family’s new fourth in line to the throne.
After the baby was delivered at 8:34 am this morning, the beaming pair left St Mary’s Hospital in central London in the evening carrying the newborn princess as hundreds of well-wishers screamed their support and amid a flurry of flashes from the assembled crowd of photographers.
A relaxed-looking Kate wore a yellow patterned dress and cradled the sleeping baby wrapped in a white blanket in her arms in front of the Lindo Wing of the hospital, where she had given birth to her first child, Prince George, nearly two years ago.
William was present for the birth and the as yet unnamed princess weighed eight pounds and three ounces (3.7 kilos).
He drove his wife and daughter to Kensington Palace, the couple’s official residence, in a Range Rover after carrying the baby in a car seat.
Read on to find out how a historic day for the royal couple unfolded.
17:16 GMT – Kate, William emerge – Prince William and his wife Kate have emerged from St Mary’s Hospital in central London with their newborn daughter, to screams of delight from hundreds of onlookers.
The beaming couple waved to the crowd, Kate wearing a yellow patterned dress and cradling the princess wrapped in a white blanket.
17:11 GMT – KATE, PRINCE WILLIAM LEAVE HOSPITAL WITH NEWBORN PRINCESS –
17:07 GMT – George’s third public appearance – Prince George’s appearance with his father Prince William as he entered St Mary’s Hospital this evening was just his third in public.
The first was on July 23, 2013 when he was shown to the world wrapped in a white blanket in the arms of his radiant parents — aged just 27 hours.
George’s second public engagement came three months later at his christening, followed by a family tour of Australia and New Zealand in April 2014 where the chubby-cheeked royal stole the show.
In New Zealand, he was seen playing with other babies in the residence of his great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II’s governor-general.
On a visit to a Sydney zoo, he showed particular interest in a bilby, or rabbit-bandicoot — an endangered animal.
Besides these appearances, the royals have occasionally released official photographs of the young prince.
– Duchess leaving hospital ‘this evening’ –
16:34 GMT – Duchess leaving ‘this evening’ – “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge will be leaving St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington this evening,” says an official statement from Kensington Palace, Prince William and Kate’s London residence.
“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their daughter will travel home to Kensington Palace.”
Prince George has now returned to Kensington Palace, the statement added.
“Their Royal Highnesses would like to thank all staff at the hospital for the care and treatment they have all received.
“They would also like to thank everyone for their warm wishes.”
15:55 GMT – ‘One of each’ – More from Dickie Arbiter, former press secretary to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and author of “On Duty with the Queen”, who says he thinks the royals will be pleased Kate has given birth to a girl.
“[Princess] Diana told me time and time again that she would love to have had a daughter,” Arbiter tells AFP’s Alice Ritchie.
“William will be pleased that he’s got a daughter and Diana — looking down from up there — will say, ‘Well done my boy’.
“The Prince of Wales said he would like a granddaughter and he’s got a granddaughter now. He’s got one of each.”
15:27 GMT – William returns with George – Prince William has returned to St Mary’s Hospital with his son Prince George, AFP’s Robin Millard reports, with the earlier cheers from the assembled crowd turning to ear-splitting screams.
William puts the little prince down on the ground and both future kings wave to the onlookers, William guiding his young son along the pavement before before picking him up and carrying him into the entrance of the Lindo Wing.
A taxi drives past with “Congratulations it’s a girl” on its electronic advertising board.
– Prince William ‘very happy’ –
15:00 GMT – Prince William emerges – Prince William emerges from the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital to huge cheers from the assembled crowds, television pictures show — but no sign of Kate or their new daughter.
William jumps into one of two offical-looking Range Rovers parked by the hospital and is driven away, apparently to see his son Prince George, stopping only to mouth he is “very happy” to onlookers and the media.
14:46 GMT – Lindo Wing crowds – Several hundred people are now congregating outside St Mary’s Hospital, AFP’s Robin Millard reports, hoping to catch a glimpse of Kate, Prince William and their new baby daughter on their emergence from the building, which may be imminent.
Many are waving British flags handed out by a newspaper.
One woman is strolling around in a Union Jack three-piece suit and top hat while other women have flags stuck in their hair.
People pose for selfies in front of the Lindo Wing of the hospital as the town crier has a rest from official duties after his raucous announcement of the birth this morning.
“There are lunatics here. We are surrounded by lunatics,” says one elderly lady observing the scene.
The hospital patients are now intermingling with the royal watchers. One woman with a black eye is wandering about with a British flag.
14:00 GMT – Young royals’ appeal – Dickie Arbiter, former press secretary to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and author of “On Duty with the Queen”, a memoir of his 12 years in the Royal household, says a new member of the royal family will “appeal to the youth of the country”.
“It’s just a bit of good news amid the gloom of the election,” Arbiter tells AFP’s Alice Ritchie.
“People like the idea of celebrating, whether it’s the birth or the Jubilee — it’s being part of history.
“People are fascinated by the royals. They don’t go about talking about them but when there’s something to celebrate they come out and celebrate.
“The monarchy has been going for 1,000 years, it’s not finished and it’s not starting — it’s continuing.
“But we have an ageing monarch – [Prince] Charles is 66 and people like the idea of youth. Young royals appeal to the youth of the country.”
– Field gun salutes –
13:40 GMT – Field gun salutes – The birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s second child will be marked by field gun salutes in London’s Hyde Park and at the Tower of London at 2:00 pm on Monday, the Ministry of Defence has said in a statement.
Soldiers from the army’s regular and reserve units will take part in these celebratory ceremonial events.
The soldiers, along with 71 horses and field guns of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, will ride out in procession from their base in Wellington Barracks and make their way past Buckingham Palace, up Constitution Hill to Wellington Arch, and ride round into the north of Hyde Park to deliver the salute.
The field guns — six First World War-era Ordnance Quick Fire 13-pounders — will fire blank artillery rounds at ten-second intervals until forty one shots have been fired.
At exactly the same time, a 62-gun salute by the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) will take place at the Tower of London.
12:50 GMT – Succession laws – The birth of Britain’s royal baby girl is a cause for celebration among campaigners who have pressed for an end to male primogeniture as the princess benefits from an historic change in the succession laws.
Prince William and his wife Kate’s daughter, who was born at 8:34 am this morning, is the first major royal who cannot be overtaken in the line of succession to the throne by any future younger brothers.
Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced on March 28 that laws to end centuries of male primogeniture had taken effect, following the enactment of the required laws in Australia.
The princess is fourth in line to the throne, after Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest son Prince Charles, Charles’s eldest son Prince William, and her older brother Prince George.
She would have assumed the same position in the succession order under the old rules, but now cannot be shunted down the list should William and his wife Kate have a baby boy in the future.
– Proclamation –
11:45 GMT – ‘Unforgettable’ – The official announcement of the royal birth has been presented in a brown wooden frame outside Buckingham Palace in central London, AFP’s Maureen Cofflard reports.
The proclamation was placed on the golden trestle as a large crowd of curious onlookers took photos.
“It’s an unforgettable day,” says Joy Buttinger, a nurse living in Linz, Austria after seeing the notice.
“It’s unexpected and brilliant.”
“She’s our princess, congratulations from Canada,” says Lydia Wilkins from British Columbia, now living in the city of Bristol in western England.
“My best friend in Vancouver is absolutely obsessed so I texted her live about it.”
11:32 GMT – Gilded trestle – A gilded trestle has been set up inside the gates of Buckingham Palace ahead of the presentation of official birth notice, AFP’s Maureen Cofflard reports from the Queen’s offical residence in central London.
A member of the palace staff in black tailcoat and red waistcoat erected the trestle to delighted cries of onlookers who had gathered to see the changing of the guard, while barriers are put up to keep people at a safe distance from the gates.
– Gucci or Chanel –
11:21 GMT – That’s a big one! – More excited reaction from royal fans outside the Lindo wing of St Mary’s Hospital.
“Eight pounds three ounces? That’s a big one, and big for Kate!” says Josie Rosa, 82.
“A girl is lovely — she can stop now, can’t she?”
As a woman from the bookmakers walked past with a board showing ‘Alice’ was the odds-on favourite name, Rosa said: “Alice is an old-fashioned name, that’s my mum’s name.”
Her niece Karen Reardon, 51, replied: “Well they’ve got to have an old-fashioned one, haven’t they? They’re not going to call her Gucci are they, or Chanel?”
11:04 GMT – Miliband wishes – After his earlier silence on Kate’s admission to St Mary’s hospital, reaction now from leader of the main opposition Labour Party Ed Miliband, just five days before Britain goes to the polls in a closely contested general election on May 7.
“Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess on the birth of their daughter. Wishing them lots of joy and happiness — and hopefully some sleep!” says a message on Miliband’s offical Twitter account @Ed_Miliband.
10:42 GMT – Die-hard fans – Die-hard royal fans are now singing ‘happy birthday’ outside St Mary’s, AFP’s Alice Ritchie reports from the central London hospital.
“It’s so exciting! It’s like a memory of Princess Diana,” says Sadie Moran, 45, waving a Union Jack flag.
“I’m sure Prince William will be so happy. It’s like a new beginning. What an amazing day. We’re just waiting for a name now.”
“It’s fabulous news, it’s a girl!” says Michelle Lassiter, a 55-year-old charity worker.
“And born so quickly! It’s wonderful news.” Asked for a prediction on a possible name for the royal baby, she replies: “Elizabeth!”
10:26 GMT – Clegg congratulations – Congratulating the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their daughter, Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg has released a statement:
“I want to congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their new baby daughter. This is great news and an exciting time not only for them, but also Prince George. Miriam and I wish them all the very best as their family grows.”
10:24 GMT – ‘Doing well’ – “The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth,” the statement from Kensington Palace announcing the birth says, referring to Prince William by his formal title.
“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.”
– Palace statement –
10:18 GMT – Cheers at hospital – Cheers from the die-hard fans outside the hospital, with people shouting “it’s a girl, it’s a girl!”.
“I’m so pleased, and that was quite quick!” said Margaret Tyler, 71, who has been here for 11 days but has not slept out.
“William wanted a girl and Diana wanted a girl. I think it’s just nice for George to have a little sister.”
She is wearing a Union Jack jacket with a Princess Diana badge pinned on the lapel.
10:14 GMT – It’s a girl – Prince William’s wife Kate has given birth to a girl, who will be fourth in line to the British throne, Kensington Palace says in a statement.
“Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a daughter at 8:34 am,” the statement says.
10:10 GMT – PRINCE WILLIAM’S WIFE KATE GIVES BIRTH TO A GIRL: PALACE –
09:28 GMT – Lines of photographers – Finnish tourist Tiina Hamalanen, 51, is taking photos on her smartphone of the lines of photographers assembled outside St Mary’s hospital, my colleague Alice Ritchie tells me.
“We heard it on the news that she’s in labour and we wanted to see. I think they’re a lovely couple, and a lovely family and it’s a fresh new start.
“It wasn’t part of our (holiday) plans but we realised that it might happen so it’s very exciting for us to be here at this moment.”
They aren’t staying to wait for the baby though.
09:21 GMT – ‘All think I’m batty’ – Michelle Lassiter, a 55-year-old charity worker, heard the news of Kate’s admission on the radio at 6:30 am this morning and came straight to London from her home in Guildford, south of the capital, AFP’s Alice Ritchie reports from outside St Mary’s.
“I heard it on the radio, and I got up and came straight here. I can’t wait!” says Lassiter, sitting in a fold-up chair on the edge of the pavement, waving a Union Jack flag.
“I think it will come today — I hope so! But if I have to stay I’ll stay. Having it on a bank holiday was good planning. Mind you, I’ve been on standby all week just in case!”
She admits that her family and friends “all think I’m batty”.
But “it’s history in the making. I hope to see them as they come out onto the steps, I hope to see William and Kate and the baby, and maybe also the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall (Prince Charles and his wife Camilla)”
Predictions on the gender? “I think it’s a boy, and I think it will be called Albert after Queen Victoria’s husband.”
– Can’t wait –
09:12 GMT – ‘Kate’s here!’ – Davina Johnson, 34, gave birth one week ago to a baby boy and is staying up in the maternity wing of St Mary’s Hospital, AFP’s Alice Ritchie reports from outside the building.
She’s in the street in her slippers and dressing gown, with a plastic hospital wristband on her wrist.
“They came to do the ward rounds this morning and said, ‘Kate’s here!’. So I rushed down. The other mums are just as excited as I am. The maternity ward is packed to capacity. Everybody is talking about it, everybody is buzzing about it.”
She added: “We share the same midwives, and although they’re all very professional, I bet they’re hoping to be on that shift!”
08:48 GMT – Miliband silent – In contrast, no message has so far appeared from leader of the main opposition Labour Party Ed Miliband on the news of the impending royal birth, with the last tweet from his official handle @Ed_Miliband sent 19 hours ago.
08:40 GMT – Clegg best wishes – After Prime Minister David Cameron earlier conveyed his best wishes via his official Twitter account, his deputy and leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg also posts a message:
“Best of luck to the Duchess of Cambridge today, as she gives birth to her second child. The thoughts of the whole country will be with her,” says a tweet on Clegg’s offical account @nick_clegg.
– Sleeping bag –
08:26 GMT – 13 days – Sixty-year-old John Loughrey from south London is wearing a Union Jack top, a flag draped around tracksuit bottoms and a Union Jack beanie with royal family badges on it, AFP’s Alice Ritchie reports from outside St Mary’s hospital.
He looks exhausted.
“It’s not been easy, [waiting for] 13 days. I’ve been sleeping on a bench in a sleeping bag. I’m really tired — I’ve hardly slept really. But it’s worth the wait. I’m really excited.”
He waited eight days before the birth of Prince George, he says.
“We have to support the royal family. The whole world comes here. There’s always been royal fans, and we’re the 21st-century royal fans.
“There isn’t one like our royal family. That’s why people come here from all over the world, because they haven’t got one.”
08:10 GMT – Discount – The Lindo Wing charges around Â£6,000 a night for a delivery, although Kate will be getting a 10 percent discount for a second birth.
– Media and campers –
07:50 GMT – “Could be ages” – Three nurses coming off a night shift took a few moments to speak to AFP and take pictures of the media pack with their smartphones.
They have no plans to stick around, however.
“No! I’m back on nights tonight, and she could be ages,” says one.
07:47 GMT – “Still drunk” – So far it’s a few happy royal campers and a mass of international media, with no sign yet of the public.
One journalist admits: “I got up so early I didn’t have time to shower. To be honest I think I’m still drunk from last night.”
07:41 GMT – “I predicted it” – Alice Ritchie has found another long-term camper outside the hospital who says she predicted today would be the day.
Kathy Martin, 52, originally from Australia but who now lives in Kent, wrapped in a Union Jack, has been there for 12 nights and 13 days.
“I told them last night, I predicted it. I thought I’d better get a couple of hours’ sleep. Words can’t describe how I feel because its been a long, long time.
“I didn’t think it would go on this long. This is the longest time I’ve ever waited for a royal event.
“I’d love to see a girl. (Late princess) Diana (Prince William’s mother) always wanted a little girl. I think William would love to fulfil her dream for her.
“But at the end of the day I hope Kate has a healthy baby and she’s healthy.”
– Royal superfan –
07:30 GMT – “Happy marriage” – Terry also has some comments about all the media attention: “In the old days they didn’t have the media they have today. They make it more exciting and they send the message across the world. I know people all over the world.”
Asked why he keeps doing it, Terry is unrepentant: “I should have more common sense, but for me, as my wife says, nothing’s going to change me. We’ve been married 53 years and if the royal family follow my footsteps they’ll have a very happy marriage”
William and Kate? “I think they’re a lovely couple.”
“I haven’t forgotten George — I’ve got him a little money box, red white and blue, with a fiver in it,” adds Terry sporting his pyjamas — a tracksuit with a Union Jack shirt over the top and a Union Jack hat with badges of the royal family on it.
He will, of course, be changing into his more formal Union Jack suit later
07:25 GMT – Superfan – AFP’s Alice Ritchie, outside the hospital, has been talking to royal superfan Terry Hutt, who celebrated his 80th birthday here on April 30 and has been camped outside for 13 days.
“My advice to the royal family is have your babies in the summer!” A reference to the chilly spring weather.
“I want a healthy baby. This time I think I’d go for a girl. It’ll be a lovely toy for George!”
– Names and wishes –
07:12 GMT – Baby’s name – The baby’s name may not be revealed for several days after the birth. Prince William’s name was not announced for a week, while the world had to wait one month after his father Charles was born.
George was named two days after his birth.
The baby will be known as His/Her Royal Highness Prince/Princess (name) of Cambridge.
07:10 GMT – Royal doctor – Guy Thorpe-Beeston, surgeon-gynaecologist to the royal household and a specialist in high-risk pregnancies, is leading the delivery team at St Mary’s hospital.
07:02 GMT – PM’s best wishes – British Prime Minister David Cameron has tweeted his best wishes to the royal couple.
“My best wishes to the Duchess of Cambridge, who is having her second child today. The whole country will wish her well.”
06:59 GMT – Loyal fans – Prince William and Kate sent pastries earlier this week to a camp of royal watchers waiting outside the London hospital where she will give birth to the couple’s second child.
“We’re getting close,” said Kathy Martin, 50, one of around a dozen of royalist faithful decked out in the colours of the Union Jack who have slept outside the London hospital for a week in tents and on benches.
06:54 GMT – First to be informed – Once the baby is born, Queen Elizabeth II, senior royals and Kate’s parents, the Middletons, will be first to be informed of the news.
The birth will be made public first on the monarchy’s Twitter and Facebook feeds, then in the traditional way, with a proclamation signed by royal doctors displayed on an easel in the Buckingham Palace forecourt — the same easel used to announce George and William’s births.
Cannons will be fired across London in celebration — 62 shots from the Tower of London and 41 from Green Park — and the Union Jack flag will be flown from government buildings across Britain.
06:49 GMT – Fourth in line – The new prince or princess — the couple said they didn’t want to know in advance — will be fourth in line to the throne after Prince Charles, Prince William, and the new arrival’s big brother George.
06:47 GMT – On leave – William is currently on leave from his job as an air ambulance pilot.
06:45 GMT – By her side – No news yet on who else is at the hospital but William is expected to stay by his wife’s side throughout the labour, as he did at George’s birth in July 2013.
06:37 GMT – WELCOME TO AFP’s LIVE REPORT as Prince William’s wife Kate is admitted to hospital in the early stages of labour with the couple’s eagerly awaited second child.
“The Duchess of Cambridge was admitted at 6.00 hours to St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London, and is in the early stages of labour,” the palace press office said in a statement.
“The Duchess travelled by car from Kensington Palace to the Lindo Wing at St Maryâ€™s Hospital with the Duke of Cambridge,” it said.
This will be the couple’s second child after Prince George, born in 2013.