LONDON – It’s a boy!
The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a baby boy Monday — who is now third in line to the throne — at 4:24 p.m. local time, according to Clarence House. The baby weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces.
So far, his name is not known but it is expected to be revealed in the coming days.
Prince William was present for the birth, according to the royal birth announcement.
“Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well and will remain in hospital overnight,” it said. William also issued a brief statement, saying “we could not be happier.”
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Officials said William would also spend the night in the hospital.
The birth was announced in a modern way via social media, followed by a formal notice on an easel at Buckingham Palace in line with royal tradition.
Kate was admitted to the hospital in the early stages of labour just before 6 a.m. Monday, according to palace officials.
Royal officials said that Kate travelled by car to St. Mary’s Hospital in central London with William. Officials did not announce she was hospitalized until more than an hour later.
William’s father, Charles, and his wife, Camilla, spoke of their joy and pride in becoming grandparents for the first time.
“It is an incredibly special moment for William and Catherine and we are so thrilled for them on the birth of their baby boy,” Prince Charles said in a statement.
“Grandparenthood is a unique moment in anyone’s life, as countless kind people have told me in recent months, so I am enormously proud and happy to be a grandfather for the first time and we are eagerly looking forward to seeing the baby in the near future.”
Britain welcomes birth of Prince William and Kate’s first child
Champagne bottles popped and shouts of “Hip! Hip! Hooray!” erupted at Buckingham Palace.
Hundreds of Britons and tourists broke into song and dance outside the palace as officials announced that the future king was born.
British Prime Minister David Cameron sent his well wishes to the couple.
“I’m delighted for the Duke and Duchess now their son has been born. The whole country will celebrate. They’ll make wonderful parents,” he said in a tweet.
The imminent arrival of the royal baby was the subject of endless speculation on social media and was covered for days on live television around the world, but in the end the Royal Family managed to keep it a remarkably private affair.
William’s press aides had talked about preserving Kate’s “dignity” throughout the pregnancy, and the way the birth was handled showed that the palace’s impressive stagecraft could give the royals a bubble of privacy even in the age of Twitter and 24-hour news broadcasts.
Later, as the world media gathered outside filled hours of airtime with speculation, the baby’s birth went unannounced for nearly four hours, allowing the royal couple the private time they needed to act like a regular family — a goal 31-year-old William has cherished.
He was able to tell his father, Prince Charles, and grandmother, the Queen, about the birth and enjoy his wife’s company without having to cope with the overwhelming media and public desire for information.
By nightfall, the public still knew very few details, but most people seemed satisfied with the day’s events. London’s landmarks, including the London Eye, lit up in the national colours of red, white and blue, and the city had a party atmosphere unmatched since last summer’s Olympics.
Outside the hospital, a man dressed as a town crier in traditional robes and an extravagant feathered hat shouted the news and rang a bell.
A car carrying the announcement drove from the hospital to the palace, where the news was greeted with shrieks of “It’s a boy!” and strains of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.” A large crowd rushed against the palace fences to catch a glimpse of an ornate, gilded easel displaying a small bulletin formally announcing the news.
The framed sheet of paper became the target of a thousand camera flashes as people thrust their smartphones through the railings. Hours after the initial announcement, crowds were still surging forward to get near the easel. Some placed presents and bouquets in front of the palace, while others waved Union Jack flags and partied on the streets to celebrate.
“It’s a crazy atmosphere. Everyone is getting very excited,” said Andrew Aitchison.
“It’s great to be part of history, to say we were here and saw it all happen.”
Canada celebrates royal birth
The news of the birth was greeted with congratulations in Canada.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper hailed the arrival of “a future sovereign of Canada,” and said he is looking forward to seeing the son born to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Cian Horrobin, a spokesman for the Monarchist League, said the birth marked the beginning of a lifelong relationship for Canadians with “this boy who will one day be our king.”
Even those opposed to the monarchy welcomed the prince’s arrival.
Tom Freda, director of the organization Citizens for a Canadian Republic, said any news involving the Royal Family renews the debate over the relevance of a monarchist system, “and debate is good.”
Several Canadian landmarks, including the CN Tower in Toronto, lit up in blue for the royal baby.
The CN Tower will be lit up in blue until sunrise.
Niagara Falls will be lit blue at 9 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. in 15 intervals. It will repeat Tuesday night.
Parliament Hill’s Centre Block in Ottawa will also be lit up in blue.
Canadians can submit their wishes to the royal couple via the Governor General of Canada’s website.
— With files from The Associated Press