PUBLISHED: 01:31 EST, 22 July 2013 | UPDATED: 12:18 EST, 22 July 2013
Thousands of well-wishers have gathered outside Buckingham Palace and the London hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge is in labour as the world anxiously waits for her to give birth to the future king or queen.
Despite being the hottest day of the year so far, huge crowds have formed in the capital to celebrate the royal baby’s arrival while the Queen is now waiting at her home for her great-grandchild to be born.
Kate who has Prince William by her side, was driven from Kensington Palace to the private Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London, at around 5.30am today.
A team of royal protection officers rushed the mother-to-be in via a rear exit, the same route taken by Princess Diana when she gave birth to William in 1982.
This afternoon there was a large police presence around the hospital as royal fans gathered as they waited for news about the soon-to-be mother and baby.
Meanwhile, many more gathered outside Buckingham Palace, where the official announcement of the baby’s birth will be made on an easel to be placed at its gates.
Scroll down for videos and a live feed from the Lindo Wing
Excitement reached feverish levels outside Buckingham Palace this afternoon when the Queen arrived home from Windsor Castle, where the huge crowd surged dangerously as she was driven through the gates.
- Ready for a new royal arrival: Duchess of Cambridge will give birth in same private maternity wing where Princes William and Harry were born
- At last! The wait is finally over for royal watchers who have camped outside for two weeks in scorching temperatures
- Prince William is with his wife at St Mary’s hospital after a week relaxing at her family home in Bucklebury
- Countdown to the Royal birth! FEMAIL brings you everything you need to know about the arrival of Kate and Wills’ firstborn
- Calling Doctors Farthing and Setchell: The doctors who will deliver the future heir
- Will the baby be a feisty Leo or a sensitive Cancerian? Twitter frenzy over the royal child’s star sign and if a full moon brought on Kate’s labour
- Alexandra is the favourite for a girl and George for a boy… Thousands place their bets on royal baby names
- ‘Excited’ Cameron insists law WILL be changed to ensure if baby’s a girl she WILL be queen
- Charles continues with official visit to York after Kate goes into labour while Queen plans to travel to London today
- Uncle Gary is ‘v v excited’ but where’s Granny Carole and Aunty Pippa?
- The only story around the globe: How the world’s media has reported Kate’s labour and the excitement surrounding the birth of Britain’s future heir
- ‘I bet it’s a girl!’ Joan Collins, Mel B and Snooki lead excited celebrities tweeting ahead of the Royal baby’s birth
- ‘Not a lot happening here…’: JIM SHELLEY on the journalists struggling to fill the airwaves as they wait for the Royal baby
- Who’s next in line? Your guide to the new order of succession to the British throne
- Massive police operation outside hospital as world’s media gathers for news of royal birth (but one officer didn’t get the message)
Scores of people ran towards her vehicle screaming ‘the Queen!’, while others reached into their pockets to grab their camera phones in an effort to catch Her Majesty’s fleeting appearance.
The months of speculation and anticipation – dubbed the Great Kate Wait – built to a climax this morning amid news that the Duchess of Cambridge had been admitted to hospital in the early stages of labour.
‘The Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted this morning to St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London in the early stages of labour,’ a royal spokesman said.
‘The Duchess travelled by car from Kensington Palace to the Lindo Wing with The Duke of Cambridge’.
Kate and William, who spent the weekend at Kensington Palace, travelled without a police escort and entered the hospital through a rear entrance.
Sources told MailOnline that Kate went into labour naturally, and was not induced, adding that things are ‘progressing well’ for the mother-to-be.
William’s father Prince Charles is on a two-day visit to Yorkshire and told crowds this morning there was ‘no news yet’ from his son.
Prime Minister David Cameron said it was a ‘very exciting occasion’ and whole country is ‘hoping for the best’.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, tweeted: ‘My thoughts and prayers are with Kate and the whole family on this enormously special day.’
Kate’s controversial uncle Gary Goldsmith was the first member of her family to speak out today after she went into labour.
He wrote on Twitter: ‘Woke up to Thunder this morning but not a drop of rain? Now it’s blistering & supposedly the hottest day if the year oh & very very exciting’.
There is a strong police presence around the hospital and two police officers guarded the entrance to the private wing.
Experts believe that the Duchess of Cambridge should expect to be in labour for around half a day.
Consultant obstetrician Patrick O’Brien said that the average length of labour for a first-time mother is about 12 hours, so the royal baby could be born in the late afternoon or early evening.
There will be a gap between the birth taking place and the official announcement being made.
The couple’s child will become third in the line of succession, displacing Prince Harry to fourth and the Duke of York to fifth.
As a result of recent, long-anticipated changes in the law, the baby will also be made an HRH (His or Her Royal Highness) and given the title Prince or Princess of Cambridge.
Anticipated: A journalist broadcasts live from the palace, where the baby’s name and weight will be displayed on an easel when it arrives, while tourists watch the changing of the guard
Waiting: Queues of people snake around Buckingham Palace ahead of the arrival of the royal baby as others take pictures with the Queen Victoria Memorial statue in the background, which faces the Queen’s home
If she is a girl she will, one day, become Queen, just as a boy will become King.
He or she is also destined to become a future head of the armed forces, supreme governor of the Church of England and head of the Commonwealth, which covers 54 nations across the world, and subsequently head of state of 16 countries.
The birth is also a momentous event for the present Queen personally.
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 fans: A small crowd gathers outside the hospital over the weekend as royal fans wait for Kate to be admitted to the hospital
LIVE FEED: Royal baby latest
Inside the hospital providing help, advice and logistical support were the royal couple’s most loyal aides: Miguel Head, Prince William’s unflappable private secretary, and his young colleague Rebecca Deacon, who works as private secretary to the Duchess.
Both are as close to the Duke and Duchess as any member of Royal Household staff can be and are trusted implicitly.
Two of the couple’s small press team – press secretary Ed Perkins and his assistant Nick Loughran – were also on permanent standby at the hospital, flitting between the Lindo Wing and the hundreds of photographers, journalists and camera crews waiting outside.
Lastly, the couple’s team of Scotland Yard bodyguards were never far away.
Indeed, the couple’s police protection officers, who were photographed ushering them safely into hospital, would have been among the first to know that the Duchess was in labour.
Protection: Kate’s security team are shown here marching into the hospital after her and soon afterwards a member of the protection squad then headed back to the cars, which then swept away
Palace officials chose to make the announcement that Kate was in hospital public in an attempt to balance her ‘dignity’ with the fact that social media makes it almost impossible to keep her baby’s imminent arrival a secret.
Queen Victoria, who reigned until 1901, was still sovereign when her great grandchild Edward VIII, who later abdicated, was born third in line in 1894.
William and Kate’s baby will be the great great great great great grandchild of Queen Victoria and the present Queen’s third great grandchild.
The couple still do not know the sex of their baby, bucking the trend of 75 per cent of British parents who now choose to discover the gender of their child.
Dickie Arbiter, a former press secretary to the Queen, said the birth will be a historic first. ‘There will be three heirs in waiting while the sovereign is fit and well, and that’s a first,’ he said.
Mr Arbiter said William will be by the Duchess’s side supporting her but the Royal Family will not visit once the new addition arrives.
‘The Queen will be the first to be informed because William will telephone her as soon as something happens’.
TV presenter and adventurer Ben Fogle’s pregnant sister Tamara is also in the Lindo Wing. She has not had her baby yet.
Fogle said: ‘It is a very exciting time, which I suppose is easy for the husband to say.
‘We don’t have to go through the pain.’
With royal watchers and the world’s media gathering outside the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge is giving birth, vigilant police officers have to keep constant watch for the first sign of trouble.
But one officer standing guard seemingly didn’t get the message – because he showed off his confidential briefing note in full view of hundreds of cameras this afternoon.
The memo, headed ‘Briefing note Lindo Wing posts’, could clearly be read by any of the long lens cameras trained on the front door of the private unit.
The incident raises fears that security has been compromised at the hospital which Kate Middleton was admitted to at 5.30am this morning as she went into labour.
Business as usual: The Prince of Wales was relaxed while visiting the National Railway Museum in York today, and told reporters there was ‘no news’ from the hospital and he would keep to his two-day schedule in Yorkshire
Passion: Train lover the Prince of Wales is surrounded by steam on a visit to mark the 75th anniversary of the world-famous Mallard Locomotive
Grandfather-to-be: Prince Charles out and about in York today going ahead with his normal schedule as his son was at the Duchess’ bedside in west London
Prince Charles has continued with business as usual as he arrived in Yorkshire – while the country holds its breath for the imminent arrival of the royal baby.
He arrived in York to visit the National Railway Museum and York minster during the morning, before continuing to West Yorkshire during the afternoon.
His wife Camilla will meet him and the two will visit Bridlington, East Yorkshire.
Royal fan Terry Hutt, 78, from Cambridge, has been camped outside St Mary’s Hospital for 12 days.
The former soldier, who served with the Royal Ordnance Corps, is sleeping on a bench across the road from the Lindo Wing.
‘I have the best royal bed in town,’ he said.
‘I have lost my voice with all the excitement. At night we’re watching the hospital in two-hour stints, like the Army.
‘The health of the baby, and Kate, is the only important element.’
Mr Hutt is wearing a Union flag suit and tie which a Dutch firm donated to him.
‘My trousers are 10 inches too long,’ he said, adding that his wife of 51 years, Joy, think he is a bit mad.
The septuagenarian has been joined outside the hospital by ‘Diana Superfan’ John Loughrey, 58, from Wandsworth, south-west London.
‘I’m so excited I’m like a washing machine – I’m on full spin,’ he said.
‘I can’t stop spinning. I’ve been here for seven days and heard gossip overnight that Kate was here.
‘If it’s a girl I think Diana will be the middle name. If it’s a boy I believe Charles will be the name, because he has nurtured William and Harry.’
A close friend of Prince William spoke of his excitement ahead of the birth of the Duke and Duchess’s first child as he arrived back from what is believed to be the first recorded kayak crossing of the North Sea between Britain and Norway.
Adventurer Oliver Hicks, 31, said he was looking forward to being introduced to the infant after battling 7ft waves on the 200-mile mission with fellow rower Patrick Winterton.
Mr Hicks, who attended the royal wedding and was greeted by the Prince when he became the youngest person to row solo from America to Britain aged 23, said: ‘I was very keen to find out whether William and Kate’s baby had arrived on making landfall.
‘It was very exciting to hear the baby is now on its way as we landed back in the UK. It is such great – and very happy – news.
‘I hope it all goes smoothly and wonder if the little one will be like William or Kate.
‘I look forward to meeting the nipper in due course.’
Kate, Duchess of Cambridge was last seen officially at the Trooping The Colour parade in mid-June
While Prince William has also kept a low profile since attending the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland’s daughter Lady Melissa Percy to Thomas van Straubenzee alone.
Well-wishers from around the globe began gathering outside Buckingham Palace today, as news of the royal baby’s imminent arrival broke.
Tourists armed with cameras peered hopefully through the Palace gates on the off-chance of spotting the easel, due to be placed on the forecourt detailing confirmation of the birth.
Westminster City Council today announced that the Golden Jubilee Bridges and fountains at Marble Arch will turn pink or blue depending on the sex of the royal baby.
From this evening lights on the bridges and fountains will alternate between the two colours at one minute intervals until the official announcement is made.
Historic: Met officers guard the rear Mary Stanford entrances, which Kate used to enter the hospital this morning and was the same one used by Princess Diana when she gave birth to Prince William in 1982
Media pack: Journalists from around the world gather outside the hospital after the Duchess was admitted shortly after 6am
On their way: Carole Middleton, left, is thought to be with her daughter while Kate’s sister Pippa, right, is also believed to be heading to hospital to support her sister through labour
Gone quiet: In the run-up to the birth, Kate was last seen officially at the Trooping The Colour parade in mid-June, while Prince William has also kept a low profile since attending a wedding alone on June 22
In Australia, a set of commemorative baby stamps has already been commissioned to mark the royal birth.
Lynette Traynor, a postal worker from Melbourne who is on holiday in London, said: ‘We love everything to do with the royals, so the news is full of it.
‘We have a set of baby stamps ready to go, as soon as it has been confirmed. We can’t get enough of it.’
Another visitor to the Palace, 26-year-old German Veronika Schwarz, said she thought there was greater excitement outside of England.
‘We don’t have anything like the Royal Family in Germany, so we are all getting quite carried away with this.
‘My friends in London seem like they just want the baby to come out now, I think they are tired of waiting.’
Sources close to the new royal mother-to-be suggest that she is definitely not ‘too posh to push’ and wants – unless nature intervenes – to opt for a natural birth rather than an elective caesarean section like many celebrity figures.
The Royal Household’s official surgeon-gynaecologist, Alan Farthing, the former fiancé of murdered television presenter Jill Dando, is the consultant gynaecologist at St Mary’s and will be assisting with the labour.
He will be led by the Queen’s own surgeon-gynaecologist, Marcus Setchell.
The Duchess of Cambridge is likely be relieved their baby is finally on its way after coping with being pregnant in the middle of Britain’s longest heatwave for seven years.
Kate has been admitted to hospital on what is expected to be the hottest day of the year so far.
The mercury is expected to reach 33C (91.4F), with the Midlands and the South of England the likely contenders for the hot spots.
Mervi Jokinen, of the Royal College of Midwives, said: ‘It gets quite uncomfortable being pregnant in the heat. Your legs swell more. It’s actually more uncomfortable. If you go into labour, it can be a relief.’
ROYAL BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT WILL BE THE SAME AS PRINCE WILLIAM’S
The birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first child – a future heir to the throne – will be announced in exactly the same way as Prince William’s to retain ‘the theatre’ of a genuine royal occasion.
As soon as the baby is born, a proclamation signed by doctors who delivered the boy or girl will be rushed from the ward and displayed at the gates of Buckingham Palace within minutes.
Although both Buckingham Palace and Clarence House have their own Twitter accounts on which details of royal events are frequently now broken, it will most definitely not be the preferred medium to announce the new royal baby.
Instead a formal notice on a piece of creamy A4 size Buckingham Palace-headed paper, signed by the medical staff who have assisted the Duchess, will be brought out of the Lindo’s front entrance by a press officer.
It will then be handed to a waiting driver and driven through the streets of London – escorted by police outriders – to the Privy Purse Door at the front of Buckingham Palace.
There it will then be placed on an easel, last used to announce Prince William’s birth, by the main gates in the palace forecourt.
This will signify to an eager public that a new royal baby has been born.
‘We wanted to retain some of the theatre of the notice. It is quite important to us that this is done properly and with the degree of dignity that the event demands. This is the birth of a child who will be in line to the throne. It is a rare occasion and it is nice to be able to do it with some historical precedence,’ a Palace spokesman said.
‘It is very important [to us] that it will not be announced first on Twitter, although it will be announced on Twitter in due course.’
The joyous arrival of Baby Cambridge will set the seal on an immensely happy – and settled – period for the Royal Family, after several decades dominated by highly public marital strife.
More pertinently, it will be time of immeasurable joy for first-time parents William and Kate, who have made no secret of their desire to start a family.
In an interview to mark their engagement in 2010, Kate said of the importance of family to her: ‘Yes. It’s very important to me. And I hope we will be able to have a happy family ourselves.’
When asked about his future plans in the military, William added in an interview last year: ‘More importantly, I’d rather like to have children. So that’s the key thing really.’ He also revealed that he would like two children.
During a two-day visit to Scotland in April, Kate disclosed she had taken up knitting ahead of the birth.
‘I’ve been trying to knit and I’m really bad. I should be asking for tips,’ she admitted.
It is believed that the Duchess fell pregnant last October, within days of returning home from the couple’s hugely successful Diamond Jubilee tour on behalf of the Queen to Asia and the South Pacific.
William is said to be determined to make it to the delivery suite, following in the footsteps of his own father who broke royal tradition to be with his wife, Diana, Princess of Wales, for the birth of both their children.
When the Queen was born in her grandparents’ London home in Mayfair, the home secretary Sir William Joynson-Hicks waited in the next room as part of an age-old custom designed to prevent a substitute baby being smuggled in.
Fortunately, Kate will not have to suffer such ignominy as the birth of the Queen’s cousin, Princess Alexandra in 1936, was the last occasion a home secretary was present.
King George VI declared that a minister was needed only for those in direct line of succession, but by the time Prince Charles was born in 1948 it had been abandoned completely as constitutionally unnecessary.
The Home Secretary is now only required to notify certain officials including the Lord Mayor of London, while the Queen’s Private Secretary Sir Christopher Geidt informs Governor Generals overseas.
MailOnline understands that William himself is likely to phone the Queen before anyone else, even his own father, depending on what time of day the baby is born.
After this call a traditional and dramatic chain of events will be kick-started that will lead to the announcement of the future monarch’s birth – following exactly the same process as Prince William’s to retain ‘the theatre’ of a genuine royal occasion.
As soon as the baby is born, a proclamation signed by the doctors who delivered the boy or girl will be rushed from the ward.
The sheet of creamy A4-size Buckingham Palace-headed paper will be brought out of the Lindo’s front entrance by a press officer.
It will then be handed to a waiting driver and driven through the streets of London – escorted by police outriders – to the Privy Purse Door at the front of Buckingham Palace.
There it will then be placed on an easel, last used to announce Prince William’s birth, by the main gates in the palace forecourt.
A palace spokesman explained that the rather theatrical nature of the announcement was crucial to retaining a sense of dignity appropriate for the birth of an heir to the throne.
He said: ‘We wanted to retain some of the theatre of the notice. It is quite important to us that this is done properly and with the degree of dignity that the event demands.
‘This is the birth of a child who will be in line to the throne. It is a rare occasion and it is nice to be able to do it with some historical precedence.’
It is understood Kate’s mother Carole and sister Pippa had planned to be at the hospital with her.
It is also hoped that William will make a short statement on the steps of the hospital after the good news has been declared – as will the Middletons.
Palace sources have also made clear the birth will not be made public until the Queen and senior members of the royal family have been informed.
The Middletons, in the unlikely event that they are not at the hospital, will also be informed of the birth in advance.
The procedure is to avoid announcing the birth on Twitter.
However if the baby is born between 10.30pm and 8am, the news will be sent out via press release with the easel being erected later that morning, at around 9am.
ROYAL PROTECTION OFFICER WHO SPED KATE TO HOSPITAL WAS ON PRINCE HARRY’S VEGAS TRIP
The royal protection officer (right) who helped speed the Duchess of Cambridge to hospital this morning is the trusted bodyguard who was on Prince Harry’s notorious and debauched ‘lads’ holiday to Las Vegas last year.
He is the one of the royal family’s most long-serving protection officers, who has worked for them since 1995.
As Prince WIlliam’s younger brother blew off steam before returning to Afghanistan last summer, the round-the-clock protection officer accompanied Harry to Vegas and was photographed with Harry at the Wet Republic pool party at the MGM hotel.
He was also in charge of the Prince when he was partying in the private suite at the exclusive Wynn Hotel, where Harry was photographed playing naked billiards with young woman.
On his Facebook page, which has now been deleted, he has posted a series of pictures of himself with Harry, who he refers to as ‘Spike’.
In one he is photographed on Everest waving a Union Jack flag during the Walking with the Wounded expedition that Harry took part in in 2012.
In another, he is on holiday in the Okavenga Delta in Botswana with Prince Harry. In the picture the officer, who is stripped to the waist, is fishing.
One of his friends posted the comment: ‘Hard at work – again.’
On a trip to France for the 2007 rugby World Cup the pair were photographed hugging as Englandwon a crucial match.
A source said at the time of the ill-fated Vegas trip: ‘Harry and his protection officer get along very well.
‘If Harry has a boring event he’ll take any protection officer, but when it comes to parties and going away he wants his No 1 man with him because he is very much one of the boys.’
But is is no surprise that he is now helping out Prince William and his wife as the royal couple are known to get along famously with the amiable officer, who was a guest at their wedding in April 2011.
Prince William is due to take just two weeks’ statutory paternity leave – for which he will be paid £136.78 a week – before returning to his normal shift pattern.
His wife, however, will definitely not return with him to their home on Anglesey with the new baby.
A palace spokesman had said that there was ‘still some discussion’ about where Kate and their new-born will be based.
But the Daily Mail has already revealed that she plans to move in with her parents at their £4.8million Berkshire mansion for around six weeks after William returns to work, as builders are still putting the finishing touches to their new apartment at Kensington Palace.
She chose St Mary’s Lindo Wing, like the late Princess Diana before her, where a natural birth, staying in a private suite, is likely to cost up to £10,000.
The couple’s choice of the private wing is unsurprising, but nevertheless touching given the link with William’s late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
William has always, by and large, kept his feelings about his mother close to his chest – aside from admitting he gave Kate her engagement ring as a way of keeping her ‘close to it all’.
He became the first future monarch in history to be born in a hospital when he was delivered there on 21st June 1982, followed by his brother, Harry.
The Lindo underwent an extensive refurbishment in June 2012 and now provides what it boasts is the ‘highest quality of care’ for patients experiencing both ‘straightforward’ and complex pregnancies.
All rooms are equipped with satellite television, wi-fi, radio, a safe and a fridge. There is also a bedside telephone, internet access and a team of ‘catering staff’.
The hospital wing even offers its own wine list should patients and their guests wish to enjoy a glass of champagne to celebrate their baby’s arrival.
The bill for delivery is staggered per 24 hours – with a quick, natural birth costing £4,965. Staying in a suite – as the Duchess is likely to do – would cost an additional £1,000 plus per night on top of that, meaning the delivery could cost up to £10,000.
The child will be known as Prince or Princess, then their first name, followed by the words ‘of Cambridge’.
They came up with a shortlist of names, but Kate said it was ‘very difficult’ and that her friends had been texting her ideas.
The name the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge give their first-born will most likely set a trend for the next generation of babies.
Royal infants mostly have safe, historical names which are passed down through the monarchy, with bookmaker William Hill reporting George as the favourite for a boy and, after a flurry of bets,
Alexandra – one of the Queen’s middle names – as the favourite for a girl, while Charlotte is also thought to be a contender.
Elizabeth, in tribute to the Queen, and Diana, to pay homage to William’s late mother, are also expected to make an appearance if the baby is a girl, while Charles, in honour of the Prince of Wales, or Philip, for the Duke of Edinburgh, are possibilities if it is a boy.
The Cambridges are also likely to take inspiration from Kate’s side of the family, perhaps honouring her father Michael or mother Carole.
Francis is a recurring name in Kate’s family tree. It is both her father and her grandfather’s middle name and Frances was her great-great-great grandmother’s first name. It was also William’s mother’s middle name.
The Queen will undoubtedly be informed of the chosen names prior to their announcement, but is unlikely veto any.
The nation is on tenterhooks as it waits to here whether our future monarch is a girl or a boy, but astrologers claim its star-sign will provide the biggest clues as to the type of monarch it will become.
The timing of the baby’s birth today will dictate whether the baby is an emotional Cancer or fiery Leo, astrologers say.
If the child is born before 4.54 today, it will be a Cancerian, like its father Prince William and grandmother Diana, Princess of Wales.
But if the baby comes later, astrologers say it will be Leo, like its great-grandmother Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon.
Buckingham Palace say that, as an HRH, the youngster does not require a surname, indeed William and his brother Harry were christened using just their first names.
The Royal Household’s official surgeon-gynaecologist, Alan Farthing (left), the former fiancé of murdered television presenter Jill Dando, is the consultant gynaecologist at St Mary’s and will be assisting with the labour. He will be led by the Queen’s own surgeon-gynaecologist, Marcus Setchell (right)
Its website explains: ‘For the most part, members of the Royal Family who are entitled to the style and dignity of HRH Prince or Princess do not need a surname, but if at any time any of them do need a surname (such as upon marriage), that surname is Mountbatten-Windsor.’
However William has chosen to use the surname Wales professionally in the forces, as has Harry. His children might use Cambridge in the same way, or even Wales, too, as William still retains his title Prince William of Wales as well as that of the Duke of Cambridge.
The good news is that summer babies are thought to be more optimistic than those arriving in winter.
The new third-in-line-to the-throne is likely to be born under the star sign of Cancer, assuming its arrival falls between June 21 and July 22.
Cancerian babies – including Prince William’s late mother who was born on July 1 – are meant to be ‘soft, sensitive and affectionate’ as well as ‘imaginative, kind and gentle souls’.
Kate’s bumpy path to birth: How the Duchess’s pregnancy was announced early after bout of severe morning sickness
They had planned to save their happy announcement for Christmas Day when the royal family were all due to gather together to enjoy the festive period at Sandringham.
But on December 4 last year – exactly three weeks before they planned to reveal they were having a baby – the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s intense joy was tinged with fear as Kate was struck down with acute morning sickness.
Soon afterwards Kate was admitted to hospital and they had little choice but had to make the ‘reluctant and difficult’ decision to make the announcement.
The couple initially had ‘no plans whatsoever’ to announce the pregnancy until after she had had her 12-week scan, MailOnline understood at the time.
The 31-year-old was suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) – a rare and severe form of morning sickness believed to affect up to two per cent of women in pregnancy.
It is understood that Kate was put on a drip as she struggled to remain hydrated.
Members of the Royal Family – including the Queen and grandfather-to-be Prince Charles – were informed less than an hour before the statement was put out at 4pm that day.
Uncle-to-be Prince Harry, who is serving in Afghanistan, was told by email at his base and the announcement was also Tweeted by Clarence House, prompting the couple’s official website to crash.
Attentive: The Duchess of Cambridge, pictured left at a reception in London in November, was rushed to the King Edward VII Hospital with acute morning sickness, and Prince William, right, stayed by her side
It was believed that Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, became aware of their daughter’s news at the weekend, however.
She was staying with them in Berkshire when her condition deteriorated.
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) tends to be more common in young mothers, women who are in their first pregnancy, and those with multiple pregnancies.
Experts say it normally occurs during weeks six and eight of pregnancy, when the placenta takes over production of hormones from the ovaries.
Women with HG often lose weight – usually over 10 per cent of their body weight – and feel tired and dizzy.
At the time Kate looked particularly thin.
Victims may also find they are passing water less often than usual, and the main risk is dehydration which can lead to headache, palpitations and confusion.
After her release from hospital it was clear that the Duchess had been hit badly by the illness, which affects three in every one thousand pregnant women, and she was forced to rest quietly at their home in Kensington Palace for several more weeks.
As is usual, the illness appeared to have passed by 21 weeks of pregnancy, and Kate went on to be publicly active until the weeks before she went into labour.
The Duchess made a full recovery and continued with a light diary of public engagements until mid-June, setting the fashion world alight with her choice of elegant maternity outfits – ranging from Topshop dresses to bespoke Emelia Wickstead outfits.
The last time she was officially seen in public was at Trooping the Colour on June 15.
But her stay in hospital was marked with tragedy when a prank call made by Australian DJs Michael Christian and his co-host Mel Greig, who were working on Sydney’s 2Day FM radio station, rang the hospital pretending to be Prince Charles and the Queen and were put through to the Duchess of Cambridge’s ward at King Edward VII’s Hospital.
Jacintha Saldanha, a night sister, was the senior nurse on duty when she took a call at 5.30am from Australian DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who were pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles.
She unwittingly transferred the call to a colleague, who described in detail the condition of Kate, who was being treated for severe morning sickness.
Mrs Saldanha later committed suicide.
A ROYAL BABY COUNTDOWN: THE KEY MOMENTS LEADING UP TO THE BIRTH OF NEW PRINCE OR PRINCESS
As Britain holds its breath awaiting the announcement of new Prince or Princess, here are the moments that led to the royal birth:
June 13: Kate carries out her last solo official engagement when she named a new cruise liner, the Royal Princess.
June 15: The Duchess of Cambridge made her last public appearance ahead of the birth of her first child at the Trooping the Colour ceremony in centre London.
June 22: The Duchess opts out of attending the wedding of William’s close friend Thomas van Straubenzee due to risk she may go into labour.
Last official appearance: Kate made her last official public appearance alongside other members of her family, pictured watching a Royal Air Force fly pass by on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, for the Trooping the Colour ceremony on June 22
June 26: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are spotted getting a lift in a friend’s helicopter from North Wales to Denham in Buckinghamshire.
July 11: Kate misses the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace which was attended by her parents, sister Pippa and brother James.
July 13: The date widely reported as being Kate’s due date comes and go without a royal baby in sight.
July 14: Prince William and Prince Harry both compete in charity polo matches in Gloucestershire just a day after his baby’s due date.
July 15: Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, reveals members of the royal family are waiting by the phone as the baby is expected at the end of the week during a visit to Little Harbour children’s hospice at Porthpean, near St Austell, Cornwall.
July 16: Kate’s uncle Gary Goldsmith predicts that the Duchess of Cambridge will give birth to a baby girl.
July 17: Queen Elizabeth sparks rumours Kate is overdue after telling a schoolgirl on a trip to Cumbria: ‘I would very much like it to arrive because I’m going on holiday soon… I wish it would hurry up.’
July 19: Speculation mounts that the royal baby is due imminently as fire fighters rush to Kate’s family home in west Berkshire – to rescue her pet spaniel Lupo after he got his head trapped in a gate.
July 20: Kate and Prince William spend the weekend together at their Kensington Palace home as they wait for the arrival of their first-born who is widely reported to be overdue.
July 21, 11pm: Police cordon off the street surrounding St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.
July 22, 5.30am: Royal couple leave their home in Kensington Palace in central London and drive to hospital without a police escort.
July 22, 5.55am: The Duchess of Cambridge is admitted to the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London, where Prince William and Harry were both born.
July 22, 7.29am: Palace officials confirm that Kate has gone into labour to preserve her ‘dignity’ as social media makes keeping baby’s imminent arrival a secret virtually impossible.
July 22, 9am: The world’s media take position outside the hospital awaiting a public statement from Prince William when the baby is born.
July 22, 10am: Well-wishers from around the world surround Buckingham Palace with camera hoping to spot the easel outside which will hold the notice announcing the baby’s birth.
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