Update: 3:50 p.m. Officials announced the birth of the royal couple’s baby boy to the media on Monday instead of first formally declaring it on an easel in front of Buckingham Palace. The easel announcement had been a tradition for every new member of the royal family.
Kate Middleton gave birth to a baby boy at 4:24 p.m. local time in London. Shortly after, a courier riding in a Jaguar delivered the doctor’s certificate to Buckingham Palace for placement on the easel.
The world’s wait might soon be over.
Royal baby fanatics are one step closer to seeing the new baby after Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, went into labor early Monday morning in London, according to a palace spokesperson. Middleton and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, announced their pregnancy on Dec. 3, 2012, after she was admitted to the hospital for morning sickness. They were married on April 29, 2011.
The baby’s great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, is the constitutional monarch of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms. Monarchs acting as heads of state currently reign in 28 other sovereign nations, including Greenland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland, Thailand, and Cambodia.
With each new member of the royal family comes traditions:
Media from all over the world have camped outside of St. Mary’s hospital for weeks. Now that Middleton went into labor, the media are watching the door to the Lindo Wing of the hospital. But rigid traditions will prevent the media from immediately knowing details about the child.
There is, however, a live-stream video set up outside the wing. Reporters and cameramen are waiting for something–anything–to happen so they can spread the news via social media.
Dad in the delivery room
Unlike many royal fathers before him, Prince William will be in the delivery room while Middleton endures labor. The tradition was broken in 1982 when Charles, Prince of Wales, remained in the delivery room while Princess Diana gave birth to Prince William.
When Charles was born, his father, Prince Philip, was playing squash while the queen (then Princess Elizabeth) was in labor.
Until Prince Charles was born in 1948, home secretaries were present during the birth of the royal baby, Martin Bashir, who is from Britain, said Monday on Morning Joe.
When the baby is born, a messenger will drive from the hospital to Buckingham Palace with a doctor’s certificate that includes the infant’s gender, weight, and time of birth. The news will then be broadcast to the world when the note is posted on a wooden easel stationed on the palace’s forecourt. Once the news is posted, officials and the media will spread the word via the Internet and social media.
Extensive canon fire–62 shots from the Tower of London and 41 from Green Park near Buckingham Palace–will welcome the baby. The canon fires unofficially begin a city-wide celebration.
Earlier this year, the prime minister announced that he had approached the queen’s 15 Commonwealth nations about the rules of succession, Bashir said. Officials agreed the rules should be changed, but the action has not yet taken effect. The first-born child, rather than the first-born son, would inherit the throne.
As a result, the couple’s child will be third in line to the throne after William and Charles. The child will bump William’s brother, Prince Harry, to fourth in line. If the royal couple has a girl, she will be the sixth woman to be crowned in her own right. The correct title when referring to the child will be His Royal Prince or Her Royal Princess (name) of Cambridge.
The child will one day be the king or queen.
Almost 100,000 individual bets have been placed around the world since betting opened, according to Ladbrokes.co.uk. The bets include gender and baby names. Alexandra is currently the winning girl’s name and James the boy’s name.