UPDATE: Kate Middleton gives birth to baby boy!
It's show time! Pregnant Kate Middleton has gone into labor and has checked into the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital in London, a Palace rep confirms to Us Weekly in a Monday, July 22 statement. At press time, Prince William's wife of two years was expected to give birth naturally to their first child. Says the 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." A source tells Us that two protection officer vehicles arrived at the hospital at approximately 5:30 a.m.; minutes before 6 a.m., Wiliiam and Kate arrived in a security officer-driven vehicle. The twosome were spotted entering the hospital's rear entrance.
A royal aide tells Us, "things are progessing normally." A source adds that the Duchess went into labor naturally. Kensington Palace, the source adds, chose to wait until the Duchess was in the Lindo Wing -- safe, comfortable and seen by medical staff -- before releasing the statement.
Coincidentally, the Duchess entered the hospital via the Cambridge entrance -- the same entrance the late Princess Diana went through when she delivered Prince William back in 1982. The Lindo Wing (which reportedly costs, $9,000-plus per night) staff says in a statement: "Everyone at the trust is exceptionally proud that this historic moment is happening here." (An eyewitess also noticed the delivery of an ipod and laptop to the premises.)
With an original due date of July 11, the royal tyke -- regardless of gender -- will one day ascend to the throne as King or Queen or England (following in the footsteps of great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth, grandfather Prince Charles, and father Prince William). At press time, Queen Elizabeth was at Buckingham Palace, with Prince Charles and Camilla at an engagement in York and the Middletons making their way back to London.
As fans and press gathered around the hospital, the royal parents-to-be received well wishes from the Archbishop of Canterbury, who said in a statement: "My thoughts and prayers are with Kate and the whole family on this enormously special day.
British Prime Minister David Cameron added that the royal baby is a "very exciting occasion" and the whole country is "hoping for the best."
Once safely delivered, the baby's gender, weight and time of birth will be revealed in a public declaration, signed by medical staff, posted on an easel right behind the gates of Buckingham Palace.
"While it is a deeply personal and private event, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge realize this is a time of national celebration and that there will be vast interest in the baby," a royal aide told Us.
One thing the world will have to wait for: The name. A source notes that the couple "may take some time" to select the moniker for their future monarch.
The birth itself, by all accounts, caps off a happy nine months (minus some acute morning sickness during the first trimester) for the Duchess and Duke, both 31. "They're both so excited and have so many questions," a source adds. "They want to know what the baby will look like and who it will take after."
In the final weeks of her pregnancy, as William completed his Royal Air Force duty in Anglesey, Wales, Middleton had been scouring high-end London furniture stores to furnish the 20-room, four-story Apartment 1A in Kensington Palace, where the family of three will move this fall. The couple both returned to London from Anglesey last Friday.
"Kate is making sure she's done as much as possible for the new house before the baby is born," a Middleton family source said. It's not a bad distraction for the first-time mum, either. "Naturally, she's a little nervous!"