Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Journalists and curious onlookers stop to photograph and interview a royal enthusiast camped outside St Mary's Hospital where Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, was brought in to deliver her first baby in central London.
Journalists and curious onlookers stop to photograph and interview a royal enthusiast camped outside St Mary's Hospital where Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, was brought in to deliver her first baby in central London.

UK royal baby: it's a boy for William and Kate

Long wait for third in line to the British throne ends for throngs of royal fans outside London hospital. Omar Karmi reports

LONDON // Prince William's wife Kate has given birth to a baby boy.

Officials said yesterday the baby was born at 4.24pm and weighed 8 pounds 6 ounces.

The infant will be third in line for the British throne after Prince Charles and Prince William.

Kate checked into a private wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London early yesterday morning.

William spent the long hours of labour at her bedside. This is the couple's first child.

It was a long wait. Outside St Mary's, the throngs of locals, tourists and journalists, sensing that days-long vigils anticipating a royal baby might finally reach a conclusion, waited for hours.

Labour was "progressing normally", the palace said, leaving royal commentators struggling to even report whether the baby was on time. No due date had ever been officially confirmed.

That did not stop the avalanche of coverage.

As one BBC correspondent put it, standing in front of a crowd of international journalists gathered outside the plush, private Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital: "Never have so many gathered with so little to say."

On a scorching day in the British capital, which began the third week of a heatwave with the hottest day of the year so far, crowds also massed outside the gates of Buckingham Palace for the formal announcement of the royal birth.

Kensington Palace announced details of the birth in a press release, a departure from tradition in which the news is first posted up on an easel placed in the courtyard inside the gates of Buckingham Palace.

The notice stated the baby's gender, height and weight. It did not include a name.

The public did not know the name of the baby's grandfather, Prince Charles, first in line to the throne, for a month after the Prince of Wales was born.

The notice used to be handwritten, but is now typed. In another nod to modernity, news of the birth was also announced on the British monarchy's website, Facebook page and via Twitter.

The size of the crowds and the huge global media presence have been seen by many as a testament to the enduring appeal of Britain's royal family.

The family's fortunes – from the lows of Queen Elizabeth II's so-called annus horribilis in 1992 and to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales and the baby's grandmother, in a car crash in Paris in 1997, to the highs of Kate Middleton's marriage to Prince William in 2011 and the queen's diamond jubilee last year – could be said to make up the world's favourite soap opera.

The royal family is enjoying a wave of popularity at home, where an opinion poll this month found that 77 per cent of Britons were in favour of remaining a monarchy rather then becoming a republic.

That percentage has only been bettered twice in the 20 years Ipsos/Mori has asked that question.

For the first time, the matter of succession was not contingent on the baby's gender.

A law change in April ensured that Kate and William's first child would succeed its father as British monarch, whether it was as king or queen.

okarmi@thenational.ae

* With agencies

twitter: For breaking news from the Gulf, the Middle East and around the globe follow The National World. Follow us

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greeted by university students as he leaves Sistan University in Sistan and Baluchestan’s provincial capital of Zahedan on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

In Iran’s most troubled province, Rouhani hears pleas for change

Hassan Rounani aims to connect with residents of far-flung Sistan and Baluchestan province.

 Prince Bandar bin Sultan in Riyadh on March 3, 2007. Hassan Ammar / AFP Photo

Saudi Prince Bandar promised a victory he could not deliver

Saudi Arabia's controversial intelligence chief stepped down this week after rumours that his policies on Syria had fallen out of favour.

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish spiritual leader Fethullah Gulen. AFP Photo

The inner workings of Gulen’s ‘parallel state’

Fethullah Gulen's followers are accused of trying to push Turkey's prime minister from power.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National