'The Great Kate Wait': Duchess of Cambridge 'doing well' in labour at London's St Mary's Hospital

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Queen arrives at Buckingham Palace as Prince William waits by his wife's bedside.

The Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted to St Mary's Hospital in west London in the early stages of labour, Kensington Palace have announced.

'The Great Kate Wait', as many journalists referred to the final stages of the Duchess' pregnancy, is finally over after a brief statement was released at 7.30am. The palace confirmed that the Duchess was “doing well” and the birth was “progressing normally.”

The statement read: "Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted this morning to St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London, in the early stages of labour.

"The Duchess travelled by car from Kensington Palace to the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital with The Duke of Cambridge."

The Duke and Duchess were driven without a police escort before Kate was admitted to the Lindo Wing just before 6am on Monday, their spokesperson added.

"Things are progressing as normal," he said.

The Queen has now arrived at Buckingham Palace as Prince William waits by his wife's bedside.

St Mary's Hospital said they were "exceptionally proud" that a future heir to the throne will be born there, adding that Kate will be treated by expert consultants.

“As Kensington Palace have confirmed, HRH the Duchess of Cambridge was admitted to the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital earlier today, having entered the final stages of her pregnancy.

"During her stay at the hospital, the Duchess is being cared for by an expert team of consultants and midwives. It goes without saying that the whole trust wishes her well and we are exceptionally proud that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen to have their baby here.”

Marcus Setchell, the Queen's gynaecologist for two decades, is in charge of the care Kate will receive and helped save the lives of the Countess of Wessex and her eldest child Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor in 2003.

He became the royal household's gynaecologist in September 2008 and Kate's baby is his first high-profile royal birth.

The Duke and his younger brother Prince Harry were born in the same hospital wing and the Prince and Princess of Wales famously posed on the building's steps in 1982 holding baby William.

Crowds gathered at Buckingham Palace by mid-morning Crowds gathered at Buckingham Palace by mid-morning

 

Prime Minister David Cameron sent his "best wishes" to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, describing the occasion as "very exciting" for the pair. However, it was business as usual for The Prince of Wales, who said he had heard "absolutely nothing at the moment", when asked about the birth by Sky News. 

"We're waiting," he added, during a visit to the National Railway Museum in York on Monday.

Members of the public gathered outside to greet the Prince of Wales and shouted “congratulations” as he left the glaziers' workshops. He walked over to one woman and joked: “Do you know something I don't?”

Another well-wisher, John Dowson, from York, shouted: “It's triplets”, prompting a chuckling Charles to come over to him for a word.

Bookmakers are currently favouring the name 'Alexandra' for the third-in-line to the throne, as many have placed bets that the Duchess will give birth to a girl. George and James are popular monikers for those who think the new baby will be a boy.

The scrum of photographers outside the hospital this morning The scrum of photographers outside the hospital this morning

 

Paddy Power reported £30,000 taken in bets within the first three hours of the announcement. Bets on the birth date have now been suspended. The betting store even opened bets on the colour of Pippa Middleton's dress if she visits the baby in hospital.

William is expected to take paternity leave from his job as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot, but it is not known how long the Duchess will take off from her royal duties to care for her first child.

The infant will be the Queen's third great-grandchild and is destined to be crowned monarch.

It will be the 43rd sovereign since William the Conqueror if, as expected, it follows reigns by Charles then William.

The royalists were not in short supply outside the hospital The royalists were not in short supply outside the hospital

 

The Duke is known to want a daughter while the Duchess is hoping for a son.

When Kate met Guardsman Lee Wheeler, 29, during a St Patrick's Day parade in Aldershot, Hampshire, she told him she did not know the sex of her baby.

The soldier said: "I asked her 'Do you know if it's a girl or boy?', and she said 'Not yet'.

"She said 'I'd like to have a boy and William would like a girl'. That's always the way."

Royal supporter Terry Hutt outside the hospital Royal supporter Terry Hutt outside the hospital

 

Recent changes to the rules of succession have now ensured that if the Duchess gives birth to a girl she will not be leapfrogged by a younger brother at a later date. Under the previous succession law, dating back to 1701, a male infant would succeed to the throne before a female child. The Succession to the Crown Act 2013 legislates that the sex of an infant in direct line to the throne no longer determines whether he or she wears the crown.

Twitter has now been flooded with excited tweets regarding the impending arrival of the royal baby. Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott took a more tongue-in-cheek approach to the news by tweeting: "Great to hear the Duchess of Cambridge has gone into labour. Is she an affiliated member?" The Archbishop of Canterbury also used social media to wish Kate well and tweeted: "My thoughts and prayers are with Kate on this enormously special day".

As the Duchess' due date has drawn closer the 'Great Kate Wait' hysteria has seen the worlds press camp outside St Mary's hospital for the birth. Newspapers have even set up cameras outside the hospital she was believed to have chosen to give birth in to create a live stream of action from outside on their websites.

Well-wishers from across the globe have now joined the media to gather in anticipation outside St Mary's gates as excitement reaches fever pitch.

Bookmakers have even seen bets placed on the infant's star sign. If born today, the child will be a Cancer under the Zodiac calendar, and if born tomorrow it will be a Leo.

There is a strong police presence around the immediate vicinity of the hospital. Two police officers are guarding the entrance to the Lindo wing.

Tina Harris, a lead midwife at De Montfort University warned that there may not be any news of an arrival until early this evening. "Labour can take anything from a few hours to a couple of days," she said, "especially for women having their first babies."

Additional reporting by PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Call Handler

£14500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a Sales Ca...

Recruitment Genius: Support Worker

£14560 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers unique pers...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor