‘Great Kate Wait’ over as Prince William’s wife in labour
Press Trust of India
LONDON, 22 JULY: Prince William’s wife Kate Middleton was today admitted to a hospital here for the birth of their first child who will be third in line to the British throne.
The 31-year-old Duchess of Cambridge was in the early stages of labour and was “progressing as normal”, palace officials said, ending weeks of media speculation over the arrival of the royal baby.
Kate, who was accompanied by her husband, has been admitted to the private Lindo Wing at St Mary’s hospital in central London in preparation for the birth of their first child ~ the future King or Queen of England.
The Lindo Wing is where the late Princess Diana gave birth to William, 31, and to his younger brother Harry, 28, who will drop a place in the line of succession after the birth.
“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,” Kensington Palace said in a brief statement.
The couple have chosen not to know the gender of their first child, who will be third in line to Britain’s throne.
There has been widespread speculation over the birth of the Queen Elizabeth II’s great-grandchild as Kate’s exact due date had never been officially announced but expected to be mid-July.
The royal baby is to be delivered by a top medical team headed by the Queen’s former gynaecologist Marcus Setchell, who delayed retirement after being asked by William and Kate to oversee the birth.
Dr Setchell, 69, was being assisted by Alan Farthing, 50, an expert in keyhole surgery who succeeded him as surgeon/gynaecologist to the Queen in 2008.
There was likely to be no more news until the official announcement of the birth. The world’s press have been camped outside St Mary’s for days in anticipation of the birth. Bored journalists had dubbed their vigil outside the hospital as “the Great Kate Wait”.
The first the world will know of the birth is when a royal aide leaves the main entrance of the Lindo wing bearing a typed medical bulletin signed by doctors at the birth. The aide will take the bulletin to Buckingham Palace by car with police outriders.  
The announcement of the gender and other details of the baby will be made by the age-old custom of placing a proclamation on a dark wooden frame on an ornate easel behind the railings on Buckingham Palace’s forecourt.
No such details will be given until the Queen and other members of the couple’s families have been informed.
The brief bulletin, on palace-headed foolscap paper, usually confirms the sex of the baby and the weight, but gives few other details.
The easel will be the same one used to announce William’s birth in 1982.
The newest royal will be styled HRH Prince/Princess (name) of Cambridge.
If it is a girl, the child will make history, becoming the first female firstborn of a future monarch to take precedence over a younger brother.
Fountains and key landmarks will be illuminated and the news of the royal birth will be broadcast on a giant screen above central London.
The Greater London Authority has ordered the fountains of Trafalgar Square to be lit in pink or blue, depending on the gender of the newborn.
The London Eye is also expected to be illuminated this time in patriotic red, white and blue ~ while a 62-gun salute will be fired at the Tower of London.