The royal birth is imminent: the Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted to the private Lindo wing at St. Mary’s Hospital in labor, in preparation for her first birth.
According to a brief statement form Kensington Palace:
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.”
In anticipation of crowds gathering to celebrate the royal addition, who will be third in line to the throne, barriers have been erected outside the Paddington hospital.
The scores of international journalists covering the birth have been assigned media pens in place outside the hospital since July 1.
The world will know of the birth when a royal aide leaves the main entrance of the Lindo wing bearing a typed medical bulletin signed by doctors at the birth. The bulletin will then be taken by the aide to Buckingham Palace by car with police outriders.
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. Nne of these details will be given until the Queen and other members of the couple’s families have been informed.
The brief bulletin will be on palace-headed foolscap paper. It 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 child, if it’s a girl, will make history, becoming the first female firstborn of a future monarch to take precedence over a younger brother.
David Cameron in October 2011 announced that the 16 Commonwealth countries where the Queen is head of state had agreed to give future female royals the same rights of succession as their brothers.
The famous succession to the crown bill cleared the House of Lords in April after being fast-tracked through both houses of parliament in three months. It became law on 25 April. The law will come into force once it is approved by the other Commonwealth countries who have the Queen as head of state.
The newest royal will have the title HRH Prince/Princess [name] of Cambridge. The Queen stepped in to insure that her great-grandchild had a title befitting a future monarch.
Under past rules only a first-born boy of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would automatically have become a prince. A daughter would be referred to as “lady” instead of princess and not known as Her Royal Highness.
When Kate was about three months pregnant, the Queen issued Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm. According to the decree:
All the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title and attribute of royal highness with the titular dignity of prince or princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honour.”
The hospital offers exclusive facilities which the duchess is making us of, such as bespoke care packages. William and his brother, Prince Harry, were born in the same wing. St. Mary’s Hospital was refurbished last year, and it’s described as having offered “leading private obstetric and neonatal care for 60 years.”
The hospital has private ensuite rooms designed to provide “comfort and privacy” and deluxe rooms and suites.
The costs of having a baby at the hospital are relatively high. A normal delivery package, including a one-night stay, costs £4,965, with an extra night in a deluxe room costing £1,050 plus consultant’s fees, which can be as much as £6,000 depending on the care required. A suite of two rooms, with consultant fees, would be about £14,465.
Kate is under the care of the Queen’s former gynaecologist, Marcus Setchell, 69. He is being assisted by Alan Farthing, 50, who succeeded him in 2008.
The wing is based in an NHS hospital should any complications arise. Facilities include the Winnicott baby unit, which is at the forefront of specialist care for premature and critically ill newborns.
After the duchess was admitted to the King Edward VII hospital suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, or acute morning sickness, the couple were forced to announce the pregnancy earlier than they would have wished.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s baby will be the Queen’s third great-grandchild. He/she could one day be head of the armed forces, supreme governor of the Church of England, and head of state of 16 countries. He or she will also be head of the Commonwealth.
Prince Harry will move from third to fourth in line to the throne. The Duke of York will move to fifth position and his daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, to sixth and seventh place.
The royal birth is imminent, and could come at any time, as the Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital in labor.
Written by: Douglas Cobb