23 July 2013, 00:08

Royal baby: Kate Middleton gives birth to boy

принц Уильям Кэтрин герцогиня Кембриджская Кейт Миддлтон

Prince William's wife Kate gave birth on Monday to a boy, who becomes third in line to the British throne, ending weeks of feverish speculation about the royal baby. The couple's first child was born at 4:24 p.m. (1524 GMT), weighing 8 lbs and 6 oz. His name will be announced at a later date but bookmakers favour George and James.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: "Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24pm. The baby weighs 8lbs 6oz.

"The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth.

"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 and will remain in hospital overnight."

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are delighted at the news."

The new royal baby, third in line to the throne and a future king, is the Queen's third great-grandchild.

If the baby follows after the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge as king, he will be the 43rd monarch since William the Conqueror obtained the crown of England.

The baby's uncle, Prince Harry, now moves to fourth in line to the throne, while the Duke of York shifts down to fifth and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie to sixth and seventh place.

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.

Royal baby birth: everything you need to know

All media eyes are now on Prince William and his wife the Duchess of Cambridge in the anticipation of Kate’s delivery, as she was sent to London’s St. Mary’s Hospital early on Monday. Her pregnancy was confirmed by the Buckingham palace last December.

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton to deliver royal baby. LIVE REPORT

· Kate and William’s first baby, girl or boy, will automatically be in line to the throne.

· Kate and William claim they have no idea about the baby’s sex.

· Kate is expected to give birth in London’s St. Mary’s Hospital.

Look-alikes of Catherine and William outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in London, where the royal baby is to be born. Photo: AFP

On July 14, some media reported that the baby had arrived, claiming that Prince William was spotted at the hospital due to his plans to be present in the delivery room with Kate. Reporters said the couple had a son.

The Buckingham Palace could not be reached for comments.

This year’s royal birth announcement tradition was adjusted for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s firstborn, The Palace said.

Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, on June 4, 2013. Photo: AFP

· The Queen will be the first to know about the baby’s arrival.

· According to The Daily Mail, once the baby has been safely delivered, Prince William will call the Queen on an encrypted phone.

· At the same time, the Royal couple’s private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, will inform Prime Minister David Cameron and a small number of top-ranked officials, as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury.

· Back at Buckingham Palace, officials will notify the head of each of the 54 Commonwealth countries and the First Ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

· For the public, an official notice announcing the birth and the baby’s sex will be placed in a glass-fronted easel and attached to the gates of the Palace.

· A formal notice will be printed up on cream-colored Buckingham Palace letterhead, signed and sealed by the St. Mary’s medical staff. It will then be handed to a royal press officer.

· The officer will be police-escorted to Buckingham Palace, where the announcement would be read to the Queen and other royals. Only then it will be displayed on the Royal Baby Announcement Easel.

· After the easel is displayed, there will be 41 cannons fired from the Tower of London and Green Park.

· Close friends of the Royal Couple will see the newborn in hospital.

· The Queen will be waiting for the baby to be delivered to The Palace.

· After the announcement goes onto the easel, a press notice will be dispatched, and it’s expected to be placed on The Palace’s official webpages.

· Electronic announcement will bear the same legal force though it only complements the traditional procedure by no means substituting it.

Media pen outside The Lindo Wing of Saint Mary's Hospital. Photo: AFP

Will a new baby be an heir to the throne?

Traditionally, the firstborn male is the next heir to the British throne, but this royal child will be next in line thanks to a change in the rule of primogeniture agreed to by the 16 nations of the Commonwealth,

In line with the 1701 Act of Settlement, the crown passed to the eldest son and was only bestowed on a daughter when there were no sons.

All this changed in October 2011, when the leaders of 16 Commonwealth unanimously agreed to amend the succession rules.

The leaders unanimously agreed that sons and daughters of British monarchs will have an equal right to the throne. They also agreed that a future British monarch can marry a Roman Catholic -- something that was banned by The Act of Settlement.

The changes mean that Prince Charles's eldest sibling, Anne, might be in line to the throne in front of her younger brothers Andrew and Edward.

The UK is being somewhat old-fashioned in the issue while Sweden, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands have already progressed to gender equality in their royal succession rules. 

Voice of Russia, telegraph.co.uk, mirror.co.uk, Reuters

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