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The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the Honourable Artillery Company carried out the ceremonial of gun salutes to mark the birth of the royal baby.

Gun salutes are fired for the birth of every prince or princess, no matter where their place is in the line of succession. The last royal salute for a birth was for Princess Eugenie in 1990.
The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, wearing full dress uniform, paraded past Buckingham Palace on the way to Green Park, where they staged a 41-gun royal salute.
They went from their forward mounting base in Wellington Barracks into Green Park, where 71 horses pulled six First World War-era 13-pounder field guns into position for the royal salute at 2 p.m.
Each of the six guns fired blank artillery rounds at 10-second intervals until a total of 41 shots were fired. The horses and riders then collected the guns and escorted them back to Wellington Barracks.
Major Mark Edward, commanding officer of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, said: “The opportunity to mark the birth of the child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge by firing a 41-gun royal salute, comes as a huge honor for the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.”
The Honourable Artillery Company (HAC), the City of London’s Army Reserve Regiment, also fired a 62-gun salute from Gun Wharf at the Tower of London at 2 p.m.
Whilst a royal gun salute normally comprises 21 guns, this is increased to 41 if fired from a royal park or residence.
Uniquely, at the Tower of London, which is a royal residence, 62 rounds are fired as this also includes an additional 21 guns for the citizens of the City of London to show their loyalty to the monarch.
Bells also sounded at Westminster Abbey in celebration of the royal birth, with the three ringers having performed the same task for the new Prince’s father more than 30 years ago.

Royal Artillery sound series of gun salutes to mark the birth of the royal baby

Royal Artillery sound series of gun salutes to mark the birth of the royal baby

When Prince William was born in June 1982, Clarke Walters helped ring a peal at the iconic church in central London in honor of the newest member of the royal family.
Clarke Walters said it was ‘wonderful’ to now be performing the peal for Prince William’s own baby son.
He also rang the celebratory bells for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding at the Abbey two years ago.
A team of 10 from the Westminster Abbey Company of Ringers rang a full peal on the Abbey’s 10 bells from 2pm to coincide with the gun salute in Green Park.
The complex peal is made of 5,000 changes, and known as the Cambridge Surprise Royal and lasts for over three hours.
Clarke Walters said: “It’s always a great honor to ring at the Abbey especially for a big occasion like this one. It’s a bit of a thrill even though I’ve been ringing for more than 30 years.
“I do love the connection that three of us rang the peal for William’s birth, the same three were in the wedding peal and the same three are here today. That’s a nice link back to William.”
Celebrations are not confined to London, as all of Her Majesty’s ships – in home or international waters – are flying the Royal Navy Ensign flag from their mast to mark the birth of the prince.
HMS Lancaster, deployed on a patrol task in the Caribbean, added its own congratulatory message to the Duke and Duchess, spelling out “It’s A Boy!” on the deck of the ship.
Staff from RAF Valley, where Prince William serves as a search and rescue pilot, were among the first to offer their congratulations.
Station commander Group Captain Adrian Hill sent a congratulatory message to the couple on behalf of the RAF Valley.
“We’re all delighted to learn that Flight Lieutenant Wales and the Duchess of Cambridge are now proud parents of a new-born son,” he said.
“We wish them all the very best for the future. From everyone at RAF Valley, congratulations.”
The Ministry of Defence said other units connected to Prince William also marked the birth, including the Army regiment he was commissioned into from Sandhurst, the Household Cavalry, which is partly deployed in Afghanistan.
The Irish Guards, of which Prince William is the colonel, toasted the birth with a traditional glass of Irish stout at their barracks in Aldershot and at bases in London.
Kate Middleton visited the battalion this year and last year to present shamrocks to all ranks on St Patrick’s Day, a role carried out for many years by a female member of the Royal Family.
Trafalgar Square’s famous fountains were lit with blue lights last night and London mayor Boris Johnson said they will be lit for the next six days in celebration of the royal birth.
Westminster City Council celebrated the announcement of the baby boy’s birth with blue lighting in the fountains in Marble Arch and the Golden Jubilee Bridge. They will remain lit up until midnight tonight.

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Carole and Michael Middleton are the first visitors to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after the birth of their son.

Kate Middleton and Prince William earlier thanked hospital staff for their “tremendous” care.

It is understood the family will leave hospital on Tuesday evening or on Wednesday morning.

Gun salutes in Green Park and the Tower of London and the ringing of bells at Westminster Abbey have marked the birth of the third in line to the throne.

The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fired a 41-gun salute in Green Park at 14:00 BST, after riding past Buckingham Palace.

At the same time, the Honourable Artillery Company – the City of London’s army reserve regiment – fired a 62-gun salute from Gun Wharf at the Tower of London.

Carole and Michael Middleton are the first visitors to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after the birth of their son

Carole and Michael Middleton are the first visitors to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after the birth of their son

Meanwhile, the church bells of Westminster Abbey, where William and Catherine were married in April 2011, began ringing out – a celebration set to last for three hours.

Carole and Michael Middleton arrived at private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, in Paddington, west London, by taxi shortly after 15:00 BST.

They were greeted by its lead clinician, Jonathan Ramsay, and paused briefly on the steps for the mass of photographers gathered outside before going inside.

Prince William was at the hospital for the birth at 16:24 BST on Monday, and stayed with his wife and son overnight.

Kensington Palace said in a statement: “Mother, son and father are all doing well.”

The couple said: “We would like to thank the staff at the Lindo Wing and the whole hospital for the tremendous care the three of us have received.
“We know it has been a very busy period for the hospital and we would like to thank everyone – staff, patients and visitors – for their understanding during this time.”

Prince William had earlier said the couple “could not be happier” following the birth of the 8lb 6oz boy.

There has been no word yet on what Kate Middleton and Prince William plan to name the royal baby.

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It appears James is a clear favorite for the name of the little Prince among the betting public.

At 2/1, James overtook the earlier leader among boys’ names, George, which is now 5/1 as is Henry – Prince Harry’s real name.

Most punters had clearly expected a girl, with Alexandra the favorite at 7/4.

Bookmakers Coral said the royal birth was the biggest non-sporting betting event in the company’s history with cash staked on everything including hair color and weight.

The name Prince William and Kate Middleton choose will set a trend for a generation of babies, with other new parents having a boy anxious to copy them.

James has links to both families, but Prince William already has a cousin called James – the Earl and Countess of Wessex’s son Viscount Severn.

George has been the name of six Kings of England and was the Sovereign name of the Queen’s father, George VI, whose actual first name was Albert.

The name Prince William and Kate Middleton choose will set a trend for a generation of babies, with other new parents having a boy anxious to copy them

The name Prince William and Kate Middleton choose will set a trend for a generation of babies, with other new parents having a boy anxious to copy them

It is also one of Prince Charles’ middle names.

From Prince William’s side of the family both his father’s name, which the Prince of Wales share with Princess Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, and his grandfather’s are likely favorites.

At the bookies however, Charles did not even hit top ten with William Hill, and Phillip-betters will take home 40 times the money if they win.

Kate Middleton and Prince William are also likely to take inspiration from Kate’s side of the family, possibly honoring her father Michael, or picking Francis, which is both her father and her grandfather’s middle name.

TOP TEN BETTED BOY NAMES

1) James (2/1)

2) George (5/1)

3) Henry (5/1)

4) Arthur (20/1)

5) Louis (25/1)

6) Albert (40/1)

7) Alexander (40/1)

8) Benjamin (40/1)

9) David (40/1)

10) Philip (40/1)

(source: William Hill and Coral)

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Prince Charles and his wife Camilla are “overjoyed” at the arrival of his first grandchild as he went ahead with a scheduled visit to York.

He did not want the impending birth of his first grandchild to interfere with his royal duties, but he couldn’t hide his delight after the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a baby boy.

Prince Charles said: “Both my wife and I are overjoyed at the arrival of my first grandchild. 

“It is an incredibly special moment for William and Catherine and we are so thrilled for them on the birth of their baby boy.  

“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.”

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla are “overjoyed” at the arrival of his first grandchild as he went ahead with a scheduled visit to York

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla are “overjoyed” at the arrival of his first grandchild as he went ahead with a scheduled visit to York

Later in the evening as Prince Charles left a function at Harewood House, near Leeds, was asked if there was any news from the hospital.

He laughed as he replied: “No. You’ll hear before I do, I suspect.”

His comments come as the Queen returned to London after spending the night at Windsor Castle, travelling by car to Buckingham Palace.

But while the Queen decided to return to London, Prince Charles remained more than 200 miles away in the North of England, showing that not even the most exciting family drama can stop him carrying out his Royal duties.

He arrived at the National Railway Museum in York by steam train as he began a two-day visit to Yorkshire.

Prince Charles stepped off the Royal Carriage through clouds of steam, to applause and cheers from the crowd.

The carriage was pulled into the museum by Bittern, the sister engine of Mallard, which marked 75 years as the world’s fastest steam train earlier this month.

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Kate Middleton has given birth to a baby boy, Kensington Palace has announced this evening.

The baby was delivered at 16:24 BST at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London, weighing 8lb 6oz.

Prince William said in a statement the couple “could not be happier”.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will remain in the hospital overnight.

The news has been displayed on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in line with tradition.

A bulletin – signed by the Queen’s gynaecologist Marcus Setchell, who led the medical team that delivered the baby – was taken by a royal aide from St Mary’s to the palace under police escort.

The document said: “Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24 pm today.

“Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.”

The news of royal baby boy arrival has been displayed on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in line with tradition

The news of royal baby boy arrival has been displayed on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in line with tradition

When the news was announced, a large cheer went up from well-wishers and journalists outside the hospital while a large crowd greeted the posting of the bulletin outside Buckingham Palace.

The Kensington Palace press release said Prince William was present for the birth of his son, who will be known as the Prince of Cambridge.

“The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news,” it said.

And the Prince of Wales, in a separate statement, said he and the Duchess of Cornwall were “overjoyed at the arrival of my first grandchild.

“It is an incredibly special moment for William and Catherine and we are so thrilled for them on the birth of their baby boy,” he added.

“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.”

Prince William and Kate Middleton spent time bonding with their son before they told the family their news, according to new reports.

Royal doctor Michael Setchell described the new arrival as “wonderful baby, beautiful baby”.

PM David Cameron, speaking outside Downing Street, hailed the “wonderful news”.

“It is an important moment in the life of our nation but I suppose, above all, it’s a wonderful moment for a warm and loving couple who’ve got a brand new baby boy,” he added.

He said the Royal Family could “know that a proud nation is celebrating with a very proud and happy couple tonight”.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said: “I am sure that people across Scotland will be absolutely thrilled to hear the news of the birth of a baby boy to the Royal couple and will want to join me in wishing the proud parents many congratulations.”

And Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones congratulated the couple “on behalf of the people of Wales” as “they enter their journey into parenthood”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, meanwhile, said he was “delighted to congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the arrival of their baby boy”.

“Along with millions here and around the world, I share in their joy at this special time,” he added.

“May God bless this family with love, health and happiness in their shared life ahead.”

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Kate Middleton’s baby boy was overdue, royal sources have confirmed.

What does this mean for the birth?

Fewer than one in 20 women gives birth on their “due date” – the expected date of delivery given at the start of pregnancy.

Around half of pregnant women go into labor up to two weeks later, or labor is medically induced during this period because of worries about the health of mother and baby.

Prof. Andrew Shennan, an internationally renowned specialist, says it is more accurate to talk about a “due month” of birth because each woman’s circumstances are different.

Andrew Shennan, who works as professor of obstetrics based at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, said his unit’s policy is not to intervene until a woman reaches 42 weeks of pregnancy – two weeks overdue – unless there is cause for concern.

It is thought that Kate Middleton was 41 weeks pregnant today and comfortably within the normal margin for giving birth.

Prof. Andrew Shennan said: “Most women want to give birth naturally when possible and if there is no reason to induce, we’d rather not because it involves using drugs.

“Only about four per cent of women deliver on their due date, it’s better to talk about a due month, because when they are giving birth naturally around half will deliver later.”

Kate Middleton’s baby boy was overdue

Kate Middleton’s baby boy was overdue

The placenta – the baby’s support system in the womb – is equipped to last for about 40 to 42 weeks which means if labor hasn’t started there is a risk of the baby running out of nutrients at a time when it has never been bigger and more needy.

Another reason for intervening earlier is when there are signs of pre-eclampsia, which raises blood pressure and can threaten the lives of mother and baby.

When a decision is taken to induce labor, a number of drugs may be used to soften up the cervix – the neck of the womb – and start contractions including prostaglandin pessaries and oxytocin through a drip.

Obstetricians take a stepwise approach and if something works, there’s no need to continue with another drug, said Prof. Andrew Shennan.

These are normally given in hospital because the baby’s vital signs should be monitored throughout, he added.

Like thousands of other first-time mothers, Kate Middleton was asked to keep track of her contractions, the early signs of labor, at home.

She would have had instructions to contact her medical team when they were strong and regular, coming at the rate of two or three every 10 minutes, or if she was worried at any time.

Contractions are the tightening of muscles in the womb to push the baby down.

Prof. Andrew Shennan said: “It’s OK to stay at home at this stage and there is some evidence that women do better as a result.

“When they increase to three or four every 10 minutes then normal labor has started and she will need to set off for the hospital, allowing for time of day and traffic conditions.

“A lot depends on the level of discomfort and the woman’s pain threshold.”

The early stages of labor – which led to Kate Middleton’s admission to hospital around 5.30 a.m. this morning – may last some time, but when contractions speed up and the labor becomes established the timeline is carefully monitored.

The neck of the womb dilates, or widens, by one centimetre an hour and needs to get to 10 centimetres.

Often the second half of labor is signaled by the waters breaking – when the sac of amniotic fluid which protected the baby during pregnancy begins to leak.

Prof. Andrew Shennan, a leading researcher for the baby charity Tommy’s, said the early stages of labor can “niggle” for days.

“But when labor is established it’s a much clearer picture and ideally there will be good progress over 12 hours.

“Any longer and we would be considering a Caesarean section to ensure the safety of mother and child,” he added.

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Well-wishers have gathered outside Buckingham Palace as the world anxiously waits for Kate Middleton to give birth to the future king or queen.

Despite being the hottest day of the year so far, thousands of people have gathered in London to celebrate the royal baby’s arrival while the Queen is now waiting at her home for her great-grandchild to be born.

Kate Middleton, 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 5.30 a.m. today.

A team of royal protection officers rushed Kate Middleton in via a rear exit, the same route taken by Princess Diana when she gave birth to Prince 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.

Well-wishers have gathered outside Buckingham Palace as the world anxiously waits for Kate Middleton to give birth to the future king or queen

Well-wishers have gathered outside Buckingham Palace as the world anxiously waits for Kate Middleton to give birth to the future king or queen

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.

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.

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 labor.

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Joan Collins, Snooki and Spice Girls’ Mel B led the hordes of celebrities tweeting ahead of the royal baby’s arrival on Monday morning.

Upon the news that Kate Middleton had gone into labor at London’s St Mary’s hospital, stars were quick to take to Twitter to express their excitement over the impending arrival.

Taking a guess as to the baby’s gender, veteran actress Joan Collins wrote: “I bet it’s a girl!”

Mel B was less specific with her tweet, writing: “Whoop whoop the royal baby is coming.”

In fact, within minutes of news breaking that Kate Middleton had gone into labor, Twitter went into meltdown, with more than 200 tweets containing the words  “Kate” and “Labor” being sent every minute.

CNN host Piers Morgan admitted the late Princess Diana would be bursting with pride at the imminent birth, writing: “She’d have loved it, very sad.”

The British presenter also offered a prediction on the child’s sex: “A boy – 100%.”

Former Labour politician John Prescott added: “Great to hear the Duchess of Cambridge has gone into labour. Is she an affiliated member?  #boomtish # royalbaby.”

Elsewhere former S Club 7 star Rachel Stevens added: “Baby HRH on the way, how exciting!”

Joan Collins, Snooki and Spice Girls’ Mel B led the hordes of celebrities tweeting ahead of the royal baby's arrival

Joan Collins, Snooki and Spice Girls’ Mel B led the hordes of celebrities tweeting ahead of the royal baby’s arrival

While the majority of tweets wished Kate Middleton all the best, mother-of-two Lily Cooper couldn’t resist a light-hearted joke with the tweet: “The Duchess has shed half her baby weight.”

Jersey Shore star Snooki offered words of encouragement: “Push girl, pushhhhhh! #KateMiddleton #RoyalBaby #excited.”

Newly engaged Kelly Osbourne also tweeted from her home in Los Angeles: “It’s all so exciting The Royal Baby is on the way!”

Dame Helen Mirren – who has played her Royal Highness the Queen on stage and screen – says it would be “very interesting” if William and Kate named their first child Diana.

“I wonder if they’ll go there. That would be interesting, wouldn’t it? That would be very interesting,” she said, adding: “Her second name will be Elizabeth without a doubt.”

However, Helen Mirren admitted that other options would work just as well – amongst them Victoria, Charlotte and Caroline – after Kate Middleton’s mother, Carole.

“It would be nice to have one of those ancient Anglo-Saxon names,” she said.

Helen Mirren also admitted that Kate Middleton must feel awkward knowing the eyes of the world are trained on her while she prepares for the imminent birth.

“That’s weird isn’t it, everyone knowing you’re in labor,” she said.

“That must be so uncomfortable.”

Helen Mirren added that it would be great if they had a girl because “we need more Queen’s in our life”.

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The royal baby’s impending birth is good news for bookmakers as thousands of people have rushed to place bets on everything from the child’s name to its due date, weight, gender and eye color.

Most wanted to bet on the baby’s name and bookies said George and Alexandra are the hot favorite names for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s baby.

Other strong contenders from Prince William’s family include Elizabeth, Diana, Charles and Philip.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are also likely to take inspiration from Kate’s side of the family, possibly honoring her father Michael, or picking Francis, which is both her father and her grandfather’s middle name.

Frances was Kate Middleton’s great-great-great grandmother’s first name, and was also Prince William’s mother’s middle name.

Meanwhile James, another very strong favorite if the baby is a boy, has links to both families.

Bookmakers also said punters – who have spent an estimated £1 million ($1.5 million) betting on the baby – were expecting the baby to be a girl, weighing between 7 lb-7lbs 15oz, and to have brown hair.

Once the baby is born the Queen will be informed of the chosen names before they are announced officially, but she is unlikely to exercise her veto.

Royal writer Christopher Warwick said: “The Queen is so down to earth that she’s not likely to jump up and down and say this boy has got to be called Charles and George.

“This isn’t going to be <<Granny, do you approve?>> but more <<These are the names we’ve chosen – do you like them?>>.

“It’s much more of a personal thing these days.”

Despite their freer rein, it is unlikely that Prince William and Kate Middleton would pick a name out of keeping with royal tradition, and they will be mindful of choosing a name that befits a future king or queen.

In the past, the approval of the sovereign has held great importance.

When the Duke and Duchess of York had their second daughter Princess Margaret Rose in 1930, they were planning to call her Ann Margaret, but changed their mind after learning that King George V disliked the name Ann.

Queen Victoria insisted that the name Albert be used as a middle name, if not a first, in honor of her beloved consort Prince Albert.

Royal babies’ names are not usually revealed straight away and the public are often left guessing for several days as speculation mounts.

When Princess Beatrice was born in 1988, it was two weeks before her name was known.

When Prince William arrived in 1982, his parents waited seven days before deciding upon and announcing his name. Princess Diana was thought to have preferred names such as Sebastian and Oliver, while Charles was reportedly holding out for Albert.

Charles’s own name, however, remained a mystery for an entire month and was only declared ahead of his christening in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace in December 1948.

In a more modern approach, Prince William and Kate Middleton could buck the trend and unveil their chosen name immediately.

Most wanted to bet on the baby's name and bookies said George and Alexandra are the hot favorite names for Prince William and Kate Middleton's baby

Most wanted to bet on the baby’s name and bookies said George and Alexandra are the hot favorite names for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s baby

Royal babies tend to be given a number of middle names.

The Prince of Wales has four names – Charles Philip Arthur George – while the Duke of Cambridge also has four – William Arthur Philip Louis.

The Queen has three names – Elizabeth Alexandra Mary – while Diana, Princess of Wales, was Diana Frances.

Kate Middleton has just two names, Catherine Elizabeth.

Prince Harry’s first name is actually Henry, followed by Charles Albert David.

King Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne, had seven names – Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David – but was always known to his family as David.

Queen Victoria was named Alexandrina Victoria and as a child was nicknamed Drina.

If the baby is a boy, he will be styled a Prince and, thanks to a new letters patent issued by the Queen, if the baby is a girl, a Princess.

When William was born he was Prince William of Wales and his children will use Cambridge in the same way, becoming HRH Prince [forename] of Cambridge or HRH Princess [forename] of Cambridge.

According to the monarchy’s official website: “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.”

In 1917, George V adopted Windsor as the royal family’s House and surname.

In 1960, for the direct descendants of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh who require a surname, it became Mountbatten-Windsor.

Mountbatten was the surname Greek-born Prince Philip assumed when he became naturalized in 1947.

If a boy, the baby is also likely to one day be Prince of Wales when William accedes to the throne. The title is usually given to the male heir to the throne, but it is not automatic.

Bookies are already cashing in after due dates backed by the punters passed by without a baby.

The most popular day for due-date bets was last Thursday, July 18, when 1,142 people lost money with Ladbrokes alone.

One punter was down £1,000 ($1,500) after putting their money on July 17, and the company will make £23,000 ($35,000) after getting to midnight last night without a royal baby.  Meanwhile Coral says it has already made £25,000 ($38,000) from lost bets.

William Hill said it had already taken £100,000 ($150,000) in due date bets but could not say how many people had lost out as all bets remain open until the baby is born.

The bookmaker has now stopped taking bets on when the baby will arrive, and said the majority of people had bet on it being today.  Meanwhile there has also been a surge in bets for an August due date – money they are now likely to lose.

Bookies are also taking bets on everything from the baby’s star sign to its hair color, and whether Prince William or Kate Middleton will be holding it when they first emerge from hospital.

A baby girl is favorite, with odds of 1-2, while the odds on it being a boy are 6-4, Coral said today.  The bookmaker said the baby’s birth has been the biggest non-sporting event in the company’s history.

If the baby comes before 4.54 p.m. today it will be a Cancer star sign, and if it comes after that it will be Leo, as Kate Middleton’ mother has predicted.

TOP TEN NAMES IF THE ROYAL BABY IS A GIRL:

1) Alexandra (9/4)

2) Charlotte (5/1)

3) Elizabeth (10/1)

4) Victoria (10/1)

5) Isabella (12/1)

6) Diana (14/1)

7) Alice (20/1)

8) Mary (25/1)

9) Catherine/Kate (33/1)

10) Grace (33/1)

(source: William Hill)

TOP TEN NAMES IF THE ROYAL BABY IS A BOY:

1) George (5/1)

2) James (10/1)

3) Henry (14/1)

4) Arthur (20/1)

5) Louis (25/1)

6) Albert (40/1)

7) Alexander (40/1)

8) Benjamin (40/1)

9) David (40/1)

10) Philip (40/1)

(source: William Hill)

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Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is in the early stages of labor and was admitted to hospital at around 5.30 a.m. today as she prepares to give birth to the future king or queen.

There have been weeks of anticipation over the forthcoming birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s child.

Here are ten of the lesser-known facts about royal births:

 

1. Home secretaries used to attend royal births. The last time was in 1936 for the birth of the Queen’s cousin, Princess Alexandra. The custom was ended in 1948 ahead of the birth of Prince Charles. At the time Home Office researchers could find no evidence for the belief that the home secretary’s presence was anything to do with verification, according to a biography of the Queen written by Ben Pimlott.

Then Home Secretary Sir William Joynson-Hicks was present at the Queen’s birth in 1926, despite the government being embroiled in a row with coal miners. He was reported to have conveyed the news by special messenger to the Lord Mayor of London.

2. The Archbishop of Canterbury won’t attend the birth, as was the custom in the past. One exception was in 1841 for the birth of Queen Victoria’s first son Albert Edward in 1841 when the archbishop and two companions – Lord Wharncliffe, Lord President of the Council, and Lord Stanley, Secretary of the State for the Colonies – turned up late and missed the birth. The Times does not record whether heavy carriage traffic was to blame. The Bishop of London did make it.

3. 42 eminent public figures were called in to verify the birth of King James II’s son James Francis Edward in 1688 at St James’s Palace, in what visiting Cambridge University scholar Prof. Mary Fissell describes as “the first media circus surrounding a royal birth”. People doubted that the King’s wife Mary of Modena was genuinely pregnant and, once she went into labor, Mary Fissell says, there were rumors spread by cheap broadsheets and in coffee houses that the baby who emerged had been smuggled into the bedchamber in a warming pan, or that it had been sneaked into the bed through a secret door in the bedhead.

Kate Middleton is in the early stages of labor and was admitted to hospital as she prepares to give birth to the future king or queen

Kate Middleton is in the early stages of labor and was admitted to hospital as she prepares to give birth to the future king or queen

That scandal put a permanent question mark against the baby’s legitimacy, Mary Fissell says, and he never became king. William of Orange and his wife Mary went on to seize the throne in 1688 in what came to be known as the Glorious Revolution.

4. The birth of Princess Margaret in 1930 caused some difficulty for then Home Secretary JR Clynes. He had remained in Scotland while he waited to witness the birth of the princess at Glamis Castle which ended up happening two weeks later than planned, says royal historian Hugo Vickers. When the baby was finally on its way, JR Clynes was already ready for bed, but on the news of the impending arrival had to scramble to the castle for the birth.

5. A surname will not necessarily be required, as the new baby will have the title HRH Prince or Princess and will be referred to in this way. However, if Kate Middleton and Prince William want to include a surname, there are three choices available: Mountbatten-Windsor, Wales or Cambridge. In 1917 George V adopted Windsor – after the castle of the same name – as the “surname” of his family, changing it from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha as a result of anti-German feeling during World War I.

The Queen and Prince Phillip combined their surnames to make Mountbatten-Windsor – their direct descendants can use this name but it isn’t binding.

In his military role, Prince William uses the name of his royal house – Wales – which is taken from his father. Similarly Cambridge, the title given to the couple when they married, could be used.

6. The news will come on an easel. It’s custom for news of royal births and deaths to be attached to the railings of Buckingham Palace. In this case, it will be displayed on an ornate easel in the forecourt of the palace. The Queen, senior members of the royal family, and the Middleton family – if they are not at the hospital – will be told about the birth first. Then a royal aide will hurry from the hospital to the palace under police escort with a bulletin. The foolscap-sized note, bearing the Buckingham Palace letterhead and signed by key medical staff, will be the nation’s first chance to find out if it is a boy or a girl. After the note is displayed, an announcement will be posted on Twitter and Facebook, and the media will be informed.

7. Prince William is following modern convention by taking paternity leave. He is expected to take the two weeks’ paid leave offered by the Ministry of Defence. He will then return to his job as an RAF search and rescue pilot. Of course, statutory paternity leave has only been in force in the UK since 2003. Prince Phillip was playing squash when Charles was born.

8. Royal births are usually celebrated with a 41-gun salute by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery. The basic royal salute is 21 rounds, but because it will be conducted in Green Park, a royal park, an extra 20 rounds are fired. At the Tower of London, 62 rounds will be fired – the basic 21, 20 because the Tower is a Royal Palace and 21 for the “city of London”. Union jacks will also be flown from all Government buildings, Royal Naval ships, and defense establishments.

9. The birth is in a hospital. While it might seem obvious that Prince William and Kate Middleton’s baby would be born in a hospital, Prince William was actually the first would-be king to arrive in such a way. Both he and his brother Prince Harry were born in the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London, where Kate Middleton is giving birth. The baby will be delivered by the Queen’s former gynaecologist Marcus Setchell. The Queen was born at a home belonging to her mother’s parents at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. The current heir to the throne, Prince Charles, was born at Buckingham Palace, while his sister Anne was born at Clarence House.

The new parents are likely to present the newborn baby to the world via the press camped outside the hospital. The Queen showed off the royal babies on the balcony at Buckingham Palace in front of huge crowds.

10. The christening robe will be a replica of one that has been used since 1841. It is not yet known where the latest addition to the family will be christened, but Prince William – like his father the Prince of Wales – was christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace. The robe was made for the christening of Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter. Made of fine Honiton lace lined with white satin, it has subsequently been used for generations of Royal christenings. The current Queen wore it, her children all wore it and so have all but one of her grandchildren – including Princes William and Harry. In 2008, the Earl and Countess of Wessex’s son wore a replica robe designed to preserve the original.

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The timing of the royal baby’s birth today will dictate whether the child is an emotional Cancer or fiery Leo, astrologers say.

If Kate Middleton’s baby is born before 4.54 p.m. 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 aunt Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, and Princess Anne.

Kate Middleton went into labor at 6 a.m. this morning – with many suggesting the approaching full moon at 11.16 a.m. helped bring on the contractions.

Prince William is with Kate Middleton at the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London, where he himself was born in 1982.

The timing of the royal baby's birth today will dictate whether the child is an emotional Cancer or fiery Leo

The timing of the royal baby’s birth today will dictate whether the child is an emotional Cancer or fiery Leo

But as the country waits to hear whether Britain has a future king or queen, there was a Twitter frenzy this morning as to whether it would be born a Cancer or a Leo.

Astrologer with The Association of Professional Astrologers International, Deike Begg, says the timing of the baby’s birth will play a huge role in their personality type.

Deike Begg said: “If the baby is born before 4.54 p.m. they will be a Cancer – like father William. But its moon will be in Capricorn – which is the same star-sign as mother Kate.

“This means the baby will share a lot of the parents’ personality traits.

“As a Cancer, the child will be very family oriented like its parents and sensitive. Cancers often appear strong on the outside but are very soft on the inside.

“But with a Capricorn moon it would also be aware of its responsibilities and dependable.”

Traditionally those born under the star-sign of Cancer – generally between June 22nd and July 22nd although the exact dates vary slightly every year – are sensitive, caring, shrewd, family oriented and protective of their loved ones.

Typical Leo traits are said to include confidence, ambition, generosity and loyalty.

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The Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, where Kate Middleton is due to give birth, is an exclusive private facility offering “bespoke care packages”.

This facility is where Prince William and his brother Harry were born.

But a home birth might have been more in keeping with tradition.

The Queen was born at a home belonging to her mother’s parents at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. The current heir to the throne, Prince Charles, was born at Buckingham Palace, while his sister Anne was born at Clarence House.

Kate Middleton, like Princess Diana before her, will now be in a private en-suite room in the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s, designed to provide “comfort and privacy”.

Fully refurbished last year, the wing describes itself as having offered “leading private obstetric and neonatal care for 60 years”.

Each room has a satellite TV with major international channels, a radio, a safe, a bedside phone and a fridge.

The Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, where Kate Middleton is due to give birth, is an exclusive private facility offering bespoke care packages

The Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, where Kate Middleton is due to give birth, is an exclusive private facility offering bespoke care packages

The expectant mother and her visitors can access the internet on Wi-Fi and there is a choice of a daily newspaper delivered to the room each morning.

All meals are freshly prepared by chefs in a dedicated kitchen and tea and coffee is provided for mothers and guests throughout the day.

The £5,000 ($7,500)-a-night wing also offers a “comprehensive wine list should you wish to enjoy a glass of champagne and toast your baby’s arrival”.

Should Prince William want to stay over, he’ll be provided with a fully reclining chair next to Kate’s bedside and breakfast in the morning.

But aside from these hotel-like luxuries, the hospital is experienced in catering for complex pregnancies and deliveries.

The wing has the benefit of being based in an NHS hospital if further complications arise, including its facilities for premature babies, and access to top-notch hospital specialists.

It’s believed the medical team assigned to deliver Prince William and Kate Middleton’s first child will be led by Dr. Marcus Setchell, the Queen’s former gynaecologist for more than 18 years.

He helped save the lives of the Countess of Wessex and her eldest child Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor in 2003.

Sophie was rushed to hospital after complaining of severe internal pains when she was eight months pregnant.

She was dangerously ill from blood loss and doctors performed an emergency Caesarean.

Assisting Dr.Marcus Setchell will be Dr. Alan Farthing, the Queen’s current gynaecologist and surgeon, and former fiancé of the murdered television presenter Jill Dando.

Alan Farthing, who has been a doctor for 26 years, works at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital in Hammersmith, west London, and St Mary’s.

Kate Middleton’s baby will be his first high-profile royal birth.

Meanwhile, outside the hospital, the world’s press waits for the birth.

Kate Middleton was taken to the Lindo Wing just before 06:00.

Prince William and his wife, who spent the weekend at Kensington Palace, travelled without a police escort, their spokesman said.

The spokesman added: “Things are progressing as normal.”

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Kate Middleton’s due date was widely reported as being last Saturday, July 13, but it has now been suggested that the official due date is actually today, July 19.

The world’s press has been camped outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London for a fortnight to ensure they don’t miss her arriving.

And social media is continually awash with rumors that she has gone into labor.

However, the only confirmation from Kate Middleton has been that she was due in “mid-July”, and last night a source claimed she was actually given today’s date.

Kate Middleton’s due date was widely reported as being July 13, but it has now been suggested that the official due date is actually July 19

Kate Middleton’s due date was widely reported as being July 13, but it has now been suggested that the official due date is actually July 19

This means the baby could arrive as far away as August 2, because expectant mothers are only usually induced if the baby is two weeks late.

The Royal source said: “A small number of staff at St Mary’s who might be called upon when the Duchess gives birth were told they had to remain teetotal for a month before the due date.”

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, they added: “They were told the due date was July 19.”

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s private office at Kensington Palace has refused to confirm the Duchess’s exact due date, although Kate herself let slip during a public walkabout earlier this year that it is “mid-July”.

William was said to have had a few days off from his job as an RAF Search and Rescue pilot in Wales this week, which he was thought to have spent with his wife at their Kensington Palace residence.

Kate Middleton, 31, stayed at the home of her parents Carole and Michael Middleton in Berkshire last weekend, while Prince William played in two long-standing charity polo matches.

The Duchess of Cornwall dropped a tantalizing hint on Monday that the wait could soon be over, telling well-wishers she expects the little boy or girl to arrive imminently.

Camilla revealed during a visit to a children’s hospice near St Austell, Cornwall: “We are all just waiting by the telephone. We are hopeful that by the end of the week he or she will be here.”

However, on Wednesday the Queen appeared to suggest that the baby was already late.

The Queen told a 10-year-old 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.”

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 Queen Elizabeth II said she hopes Kate Middleton’s baby is born soon, because she is due to go on holiday.

The comment was made to a 10-year-old schoolgirl while on a series of engagements in Cumbria.

Wiggonby Church of England Primary School pupil Fay Batey asked if the Queen wanted the royal baby to be a boy or a girl.

The Queen replied: “I don’t think I mind. I would very much like it to arrive. I’m going on holiday.”

 Queen Elizabeth II said she hopes Kate Middleton's baby is born soon, because she is due to go on holiday

Queen Elizabeth II said she hopes Kate Middleton’s baby is born soon, because she is due to go on holiday

According to Buckingham Palace, the Queen will soon be heading off to her private Balmoral estate in Scotland, where she traditionally spends her summer holiday.

Hundreds of people had crowded into a market square in Kendal to see the Queen and the Princess Royal.

The royal party went on a brief walkabout during the 20 minute tour and received two posies from local schoolchildren.

The royal visitors were greeted by loud cheers and Union flags as they arrived from nearby Oxenholme railway station.

The Queen was later presented with a hamper showcasing local produce from the Made in Cumbria chamber of commerce collective.

Retail manager Tracey Graham said: “She was thrilled with the damson gin and said she would be keeping that for herself.”

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While the royal baby is yet to be born, he or she is already influencing baby name choices on a wider scale as traditionally royal monikers see a rise in popularity.

A new survey reveals that 22% of expectant parents are taking inspiration from the excitement of the impending royal babies and are strongly considering naming their child after Royals from over the years, with Harry and Sophie topping the list as the two of the most popular names.

The study asked over 2,000 expectant parents-to-be whether or not they had planned a name with any kind of Royal connotation for their unborn child, to which just over a fifth of the parents taking part said they had.

These respondents were then asked to state what these Royal names were, revealing the top five most popular Royal names amongst expectant parents for their unborn children as Harry, William and Charles for boys and Sophie, Kate and Elizabeth for little girls.

Respondents were asked if they believe that the recent buzz surrounding the upcoming royal births sparked their desire to want a more traditional first or middle name for their child. Eighty two per cent agreed with this statement.

George Charles of VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, who carried out the research, said: “I must say, the result of this study really surprised us, especially with the recent trend of celebrities favoring more obscure names for their children such as Blue Ivy, Apple, Harper Seven, Suri and North.

“It seems that this celebrity obscurity doesn’t hold as much sway nowadays, and we Britons are looking to keep things traditional and follow in Royal footsteps!

“I don’t mean to sound like too much of a Katie Hopkins here, but the fact is that every parent wants their child to go on and do great things, and may feel that a strong regal name will help them achieve these things.

While the royal baby is yet to be born, he or she is already influencing baby name choices on a wider scale as traditionally royal monikers see a rise in popularity

While the royal baby is yet to be born, he or she is already influencing baby name choices on a wider scale as traditionally royal monikers see a rise in popularity

“We certainly can’t wait to see what both impending royal babies will be named – and it will definitely be interesting to see if the chosen names make expectant parents change their minds.”

Another recent survey found a record numbers of newborn babies are expected to go unnamed this month as parents across the country wait to discover the name chosen by the royal couple.

Parents are given six weeks to register their baby’s name and that means thousands are expected to pause for thought until they hear the news from Clarence House.

Experts believe that thousands of couples are likely to find inspiration in the choice of Kate Middleton and Prince William and follow suit.

Netvouchercodes.co.uk found more than 10% of respondents in their survey of expectant mothers said they were hoping to postpone having to name their offspring until they heard the royal name.

“My baby is due before the royal baby, but I already know I definitely want it to have the same name,” one said.

“The birth of Will and Kate’s baby is such a monumental event that is going to be remembered forever, just like the royal wedding. Giving my baby the same name is my personal way of celebrating.”

Top 5 boys names:

Harry (22%)

William (16%)

Charlie/Charles (14%)

James (13%)

George (12%)

Top 5 girls names:

Sophie (24%)

Kate (20%)

Elizabeth (18%)

Sarah (16%)

Victoria (12%)

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Kate Middleton’s uncle, Gary Goldsmith, has predicted his niece is about to give birth to a baby girl – and when she does, he says it will be “unbelievable” for the female firstborn to make history.

“My suspicion is that they’re having a baby girl,” he told the Mirror.

“But, of course, I don’t know that for fact. I believe Kate and William have kept the gender of their child a secret to everyone but themselves.”

Gary Goldsmith said that it would be “brilliant” if Prince William and Kate Middleton’s firstborn was a girl – because thanks to the recent amendment to British succession law allowing female firstborn children to rule, a girl baby would one day be Queen.

“It would be brilliant, wouldn’t it, if they do have a little girl? To have one of my family, my niece, making history will be absolutely unbelievable.” 

Gary Goldsmith went onto praise Kate Middleton and Prince William as a “very modern couple”, saying he believes William will be “as hands-on as Kate” with the parenting.

“That’s the genius of it,” he said.

“They’re modernizing the Royal Family and doing a wonderful job of it.”

The so-called King Of Fun, known to Kate, Pippa and James Middleton as Uncle G – has already been looking around for a baby gift for the new arrival – and has his eye on a £70,000 ($100,000) rocking elephant he spotted in Royal Warranted jewellers Asprey.

Gary Goldsmith has already been looking around for a baby gift for the new arrival and has his eye on a $100,000 rocking elephant he spotted in Royal Warranted jewellers Asprey

Gary Goldsmith has already been looking around for a baby gift for the new arrival and has his eye on a $100,000 rocking elephant he spotted in Royal Warranted jewellers Asprey

“I went to Asprey’s recently and saw an amazing, huge elephant rocker, like Dumbo, for about £70,000,” he told the Mirror.

“Or there was a chest of some first edition Tintins.

“But because family is so important to Kate – she is incredibly close to Carole and Pip – I would rather get something personal and more meaningful. Although I did like that elephant…!”

But the 48-year-old businessman brother of Carole Middleton has another trick up his sleeve too.

The self-made millionaire, who made his £30 million ($50 million) fortune in investments and recruitment consultancy, has said he plans to buy the baby shares in Chelsea football club – something that may not go down too well with William, who is a die-hard Aston Villa fan.

Gary Goldsmith, who sold his shares in recruitment consultancy firm SThree PLC for £17 million ($27 million) eight years ago, told The Sun: “I’m going to get exactly what I get for all my mates’ babies.

“As a die-hard Chelsea fan, I always get the baby Chelsea shares. Then, when it’s a bit older, I get it a full tiny Chelsea strip.

“It’s brilliant, it drives the parents mad. I love turning their kid into a true blue Chelsea fan. And Prince William is an Aston Villa fan. I thought it could be hilarious. I mean, what on earth can you get for a baby like theirs? That baby is going to have everything it could ever want. So Chelsea shares are perfect. I think William will find it funny.

Gary Goldsmith, who was at the Royal Wedding in 2011 despite being stung months earlier in an undercover operation that revealed him to be in the possession of cocaine, says he is under no illusion he could be handed the honor of godparent to the Royal firstborn.

I would hope to be at the christening, but I’m sure I won’t be a godfather!”

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The Duchess of Cornwall has revealed the royal family hopes Kate Middleton and Prince William’s baby will be born “by the end of the week”.

During a visit to a children’s hospice yesterday, Camilla remarked: “We don’t know what’s going to happen. We’re all waiting at the end of a telephone.

“I hope by the end of the week he or she will be there.”

Prince Charles and Camilla started their annual summer tour of Devon and Cornwall yesterday in the popular tourist town of Bude.

Many mothers brought their babies to meet them – giving them ample opportunity to greet newborns before Kate gives birth.

Trudi Lindsay, from Bude, said she was “delighted” her three-week-old daughter Ellie-Mae could see the royals.

The Duchess of Cornwall has revealed the royal family hopes Kate Middleton and Prince William's baby will be born by the end of the week

The Duchess of Cornwall has revealed the royal family hopes Kate Middleton and Prince William’s baby will be born by the end of the week

“I said <<You have got one of these coming soon>> and Charles replied <<Hopefully>>, then he laughed.

“He was very good with Ellie-Mae, he touched her cheek. I still can’t believe Prince Charles touched my baby’s cheek.

“It is really exciting to have them here in Bude, especially as the weather is so nice.”

Jenny Dawe, 62, who works in a local shop, showed the royals her selection of cards.

“I said <<You will need a new baby card soon>> and they laughed,” Jenny Dawe said.

New parents Poppy and Paul Steen brought their five-day-old son Lowen to meet Prince Charles and Camilla.

Paul Steen, 33, said: “We’ve had quite a busy few days. Lowen wasn’t supposed to be born today but he came on Wednesday and I had to deliver him at home.

“The midwife did joke that he might arrive on the same day as Kate’s and we might get a commemorative coin but Lowen wasn’t waiting for that.”

Senior royals will be the first to know when Kate Middleton is admitted to the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington in the early stages of labor.

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The arrival of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s first child is to be marked with a commemorative £5 silver coin.

The coin will feature an image of St. George and the Dragon first seen on a sovereign designed by Italian engraver Benedetto in 1817.

It was used last year on a limited edition coin to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

A source told the Daily Telegraph: “The Royal Mint’s plan is to announce it will be bringing out the silver coin when the royal baby is born.”

Kate Middleton and Prince William do not know the sex of their baby, which is expected imminently.

The arrival of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s first child is to be marked with a commemorative £5 silver coin

The arrival of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s first child is to be marked with a commemorative £5 silver coin

Photographers and reporters have been camped for days outside St Mary’s hospital in London, where Kate is imminently due to give birth to the future heir.

The Royal Mint has already revealed that babies born on the same day as the new prince or princess will be given a “lucky” silver penny.

Bookmakers have revealed they have taken a large number of bets on the potential name of the Royal couple’s child.

One of the names which many members of the public believe the baby could be called is George.

Bookmakers give the odds of the baby being called George at 10-1.

If Prince William and Kate Middleton named their child George, it would become King George VII.

It is believed the Royal Baby could result in a £250 million ($400 million) boost for Britain’s shops.

Speculation that Kate Middleton was expecting an early birth was quashed earlier this week after it emerged that Prince William plans to play in a charity polo match tomorrow.

Prince William will take part in the game at Cirencester Polo Club in Gloucestershire but he will not be accompanied by his heavily pregnant wife. She will not want to leave her London “safety zone” so close to her due date.

Kate Middleton herself let slip earlier this year that their baby was due in mid-July, a fact which has since been confirmed by palace officials.

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When Kate Middleton goes into labor – July 14 reported as due date – she’s expected to check into her suite in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital.

The hospital recommends several items Kate Middleton and  Prince William should bring.

First and foremost, the expectant couple should bring her “maternity notes and birth plan.”

Pregnant Kate Middleton is expected to check into her suite in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital on July 14

Pregnant Kate Middleton is expected to check into her suite in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital on July 14

Kate Middleton should also pack some clothing, including a dressing gown and slippers, nightshirts, pajamas, socks and T-shirts (front-opening shirts are recommended because they’re useful in the early days of breast-feeding), nursing bras and an outfit for both mom and baby to wear home from the hospital. She should also pack a baby blanket, a pair of socks or booties, a baby hat and two or three baby sleep suits for the tiny prince or princess.

Although the Lindo Wing provides an extensive and nutritious menu, catering to each individual’s dietary requirements, it’s recommended that patients pack some extra snacks and drinks.

Each suite is equipped with a satellite TV, a radio, a safe, bedside phone, Internet access and a fridge, but patients are encouraged to pack any books, magazines, games or music they would like to help pass the time.

Kate Middleton should bring her own hairbrush and toiletries, any medication she takes as well as insurance documents (if appropriate), according to the hospital recommendations.

It is also recommended to have a small amount of cash on her and leave any valuables behind. While each room has a safe, the hospital does not accept responsibility for loss or damage to personal property.

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According to the latest reports, Kate Middleton’s supposed hospital menu is kind of extravagant.

E! News has obtained a list of food items that Kate Middleton may choose from during her stay the posh Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in London.

Meals are three courses each and include options like “cream of tomato soup before moving on to an entrée of lamb chops or Mediterranean grilled chicken with a choice side dishes.” Desserts include cakes, fruit and cheeses.

Kate Middleton and her visitors can toast the royal baby’s arrival in high style: The menu also includes a list of wines and champagnes.

Kate Middleton's supposed hospital menu is kind of extravagant

Kate Middleton’s supposed hospital menu is kind of extravagant

If she’s got a hankering for something quick nibbles, the Lindo Wing has what it calls a Light Bite Menu, which is available daily and includes options like soups, salads, omelettes and potatoes, as well as sandwiches and baguettes.

Breakfast, meanwhile, offers up a bevy of selections of juice, fruit, yogurt, cereal, bread and hot beverages.

The hospital’s menu also takes into account a variety of special dietary needs and cultural or religious requirements, and patients can opt for vegetarian, kosher and halal meals, which are prepared on-site at the Lindo Wing’s kitchens.

Kate Middleton is ready to give birth any day now as her due date is reported to be either July 13 or 14.

The hospital holds special significance for the royal family as Princess Diana gave birth to Prince William at the very same wing 31 years ago.

Following tradition, a proclamation announcing the royal baby’s birth and gender will be delivered from the hospital to Buckingham Palace, where the notice will be placed on an easel that was used to herald Prince William’s own arrival.

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After Kate Middleton gives birth to the royal baby, Prince William’s first call will be to his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, on an encrypted phone.

At the same time, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton will inform PM David Cameron and a small number of other highly placed individuals, including the Archbishop of Canterbury.

After Kate Middleton gives birth to the royal baby, Prince William’s first call will be to the Queen on an encrypted phone

After Kate Middleton gives birth to the royal baby, Prince William’s first call will be to the Queen on an encrypted phone

Back at Buckingham Palace, officials will notify the head of each of the 54 Commonwealth countries and the First Ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For the public, an official notice announcing the birth will be placed in a glass-fronted easel and attached to the gates of the Palace.

Within minutes, depending on the time of day, a 41-gun salute will ring out in Hyde Park. Visitors will then begin turning up at St Mary’s Hospital.

The Middletons are likely to take centre-stage along with Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry.

Friends and other relatives will be encouraged to wait to see the baby when it gets home.

A source said the Queen will wait for the “baby to be brought to her”.

And although he or she will one day wear the crown, the baby will start out life wearing just a humble name tag inscribed with the name “Baby Cambridge”.

Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter Zara Phillips insists she will carry on competing in top class horse trials despite her pregnancy.

Zara Phillips, 32, who was part of the Olympic medal-winning British eventing team last summer, is expecting her first baby with husband Mike Tindall in the New Year, Buckingham Palace announced yesterday.

Although the NHS advises pregnant women not to continue with “inherently risky” sports such as horse riding, former world champion Zara Phillips was competing at the Barbury International Horse Trials at the weekend.

Miss Zara Phillips, who is believed to be three months pregnant, came off her horse at one point, but was later described as “fine”.

Yesterday a spokesman for Miss Zara Phillips, as she is still known professionally, said she would carry on competing for several weeks at least. She is currently entered into three events later this month, with rides on six horses.

The spokesman said: “She will definitely be back in the saddle soon. It’s business as usual at the moment.

“She is entered into several events, but as with any rider, they treat each event on a case-by-case basis and if she pulls out of an event it will be because the horse isn’t ready, rather than her.”

But she later cautioned: “As you can imagine she is following all medical advice from her doctors. She is being sensible about this and is listening to what the doctors are telling her.

“She couldn’t be happier about the baby and would never put her pregnancy in jeopardy.”

Zara Phillips insists she will carry on competing in top class horse trials despite her pregnancy

Zara Phillips insists she will carry on competing in top class horse trials despite her pregnancy

Zara Phillips is well aware of the dangers of riding. She broke her collarbone in 2008 after she came off her horse at an event in France.

The animal, Tsunami II, broke its neck and was killed in the fall.
Two years previously her close friend, world-class rider Sherelle Duke, died when her horse fell on top of her during a competition.

The news that another royal baby is on the way was announced formally in a statement by Buckingham Palace yesterday.

The statement said: “Mr. and Mrs. Mike Tindall are very pleased to announce that Zara Tindall is expecting a baby in the New Year.

“The Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips, Mr. Phillip and Mrs. Linda Tindall, and members of both families are delighted with the news.

“This baby will be the first child for Mike and Zara and the third grandchild for The Princess Royal.”

Zara Phillips’ baby is believed to be due in January.

The Queen was said to be “delighted” about another addition to her family, as were the parents of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall.

A spokesman for PM David Cameron said he would “send his very, very best wishes to the happy couple”.

Later Mike Tindall, a former England rugby captain, joked on Twitter: “Thanks for all the kind messages, we are very excited and I agree with you all that hopefully he/she won’t have my nose.”

Mike Tindall has long been the butt of jokes for his misshapen nose, the result of several breaks during his international rugby career.

The baby will be 16th in line to the throne following the birth of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s first baby later this month.

It is believed Zara Phillips’s mother, Princess Anne, rode until she was 34 weeks pregnant.

And eventer Mary King, who rode for Britain at six consecutive Olympics, competed until she was five and a half months pregnant.

Mary King said: “The team doctor said that the baby was perfectly safe inside you, if you’re happy with what you’re doing just crack on.”

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Kate Middleton and Prince William’s baby will become the first ever Prince or Princess of Cambridge, Buckingham Palace has announced today.

The official title of the royal baby, thought to be due on Saturday, July 13, will be His or Her Royal Highness the Prince or Princess of Cambridge.

The baby will be born at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, where William was born in 1982.

The Mayor of Cambridge, Councillor Paul Saunders, said it was a “great honor” for the historic city.

“It is a great honor and I’m sure the people of Cambridge will appreciate it greatly,” he said.

“I think it’s lovely to continue the close link with the Royal family. I think anything which helps to keep Cambridge in the public eye is a good thing as we rely on tourism.”

Former Cambridge mayor Cllr Sheila Stewart, who met Kate Middleton on the royal visit to the city last year, believes having a prince or princess is a first for the city.

“When we did a lot of research after it was first announced that the couple were to get the title, nothing like that was found. There were some dukes of Cambridge but not a prince or princess,” she said.

Kate Middleton’s baby will become the first ever Prince or Princess of Cambridge

Kate Middleton’s baby will become the first ever Prince or Princess of Cambridge

The Dukedom of Cambridge was created in 1801 but became extinct on the death of the 2nd Duke of Cambridge in 1904.

It was bestowed upon Prince William on April 29, 2011, by the Queen on his wedding day.

A palace spokesman said: “The royal couple’s child will officially be known as His or Her Royal Highness the Prince or Princess of Cambridge.”

He said any other children the couple have will also be known by the same title.

Anticipation is mounting around the imminent birth, with photographers already camped out outside St Mary’s Hospital.

Once the baby has been safely delivered, Prince William’s first call will be to the Queen on an encrypted phone.

At the same time, the Royal couple’s private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton will inform Prime Minister David Cameron and a small number of other highly placed individuals, including the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Back at Buckingham Palace, officials will notify the head of each of the 54 Commonwealth countries and the First Ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For the public, an official notice announcing the birth will be placed in a glass-fronted easel and attached to the gates of the Palace.

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Kate Middleton and Prince William have “decided not to find out” the gender of their baby, royal officials say.

The royal baby will be delivered in the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London – where Princess Diana had her sons.

The baby is due in mid-July, and Prince William hopes he will be present if his RAF duties allow.

St James’s Palace officials have appealed for an “appropriate degree of sensitivity” regarding the birth.

It is understood Prince William will take two weeks’ paternity leave – as allowed by the Ministry of Defence – but royal officials said the length of the duchess’s maternity leave is a personal matter for her.

The birth was a “very personal matter for the duke and duchess,” officials said.

“But they also know it’s a time to celebrate and many will want to share in their joy.”

Asking for “sensitivity”, officials added that events at the King Edward VII Hospital – where a nurse was found hanged after a prank call to the hospital when the duchess was being treated for morning sickness – were “still strong in the memory”.

Kate Middleton and Prince William have decided not to find out the gender of their baby

Kate Middleton and Prince William have decided not to find out the gender of their baby

The unborn child is in line to become the 43rd monarch since the Norman Conquest.

Once Kate Middleton goes into labor, there will be no further public statement until the baby is born and the Queen, the Middleton family and other senior Royals have been told.

The baby will be delivered by Marcus Setchell, the Queen’s gynaecologist.

When the baby is born, an official announcement will be signed by medical staff and driven to Buckingham Palace – almost certainly under police escort.

The notice will then be placed at the palace central gates. This will form the official announcement, as was the case when Prince William’s birth was announced 31 years ago this Friday.

Reports suggest there will also be a gun salute to mark the birth.

But the name of the child – who will be third in line to the throne – remains a subject for speculation. It is not yet known how long after the birth an announcement will be made.

When Prince Harry was born, the public were told his name the day his mother left hospital. But it took almost a week for his older brother’s name to be announced.

Princess Diana gave birth to both William, in 1982, and Harry, in 1984, in the Lindo Wing where fees for a delivery start at £5,000 ($8,000).

A palace spokesman asked the media to “ensure that the normal functions of the hospital are not impeded” by the presence of journalists.

Kate Middleton attended the Trooping the Colour ceremony on Saturday – the last time she is expected to be seen in public before the baby is due.

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Bookmaker Ladbrokes is offering odds of 50/1 that Kate Middleton and Kim Kardashian will give birth on the same day after St James’s Palace confirmed today that the Royal baby is due in July.

If they give birth in the same week the odds are slashed to 7/1, and if Kate Middleton’s baby arrives first punters can expect odds of 6/1 (until Kim Kardashian announces her birth date).

Paddy Power is offering better odds on the famous mothers “doing the double” at 66/1 and a spokesman for the bookmakers said: “If both Kate and Kim do the double the world’s media will have a baby bonanza on their hands and a right royal fight will be had over those all-important first pictures.

“It’s altogether more likely though that Kate will reign supreme in a solo effort and that we’ll all be wetting the baby’s head sometime late July.”

A spokesman for Ladbrokes adds: “As the two of the most popular women in the world all eyes are on Kim and Kate until July but we fancy Kate to start pushing first!”

The palace has also confirmed that the couple are not expecting twins, as first speculated following Kate’s hospitalization for severe morning sickness in the earlier stages of the pregnancy.

“Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to confirm they are expecting a baby in July,” a St James’s Palace spokesman said this morning.

Kate Middleton is now believed to be 13-14 weeks pregnant.

Meanwhile Kim Kardashian and her boyfriend Kanye West are keeping mum about the arrival date of their first child and Kim has started to choose looser outfits in place of her signature bodycon dresses.

Bookmaker Ladbrokes is offering odds of 50 to 1 that Kate Middleton and Kim Kardashian will give birth on the same day

Bookmaker Ladbrokes is offering odds of 50 to 1 that Kate Middleton and Kim Kardashian will give birth on the same day

Kim Kardashian, 32, is convinced she is having a girl though and has reportedly already named her “Liv”.

Elsewhere excitement amongst punters over the royal baby has left one bookmaker counting the cost.

William Hill has said it has taken a hit after the announcement today.

July had been the even money favorite with the firm and its odds now suggest that the baby could be born in the third or fourth week of that month – both offered at 9/4.

A spokesman for William Hill said: “The royal baby is starting to cost us a small fortune, we have already paid out on the year and now the month that the baby will be born.

“We can only hope that they don’t have a baby with ginger hair as that would break the bank.”

Punters are now likely to place a flurry of bets trying to guess which name Prince William and Kate Middleton will choose for their baby.

Amongst the favorites with William Hill are George, Victoria and Diana, all 10/1, followed by Elizabeth 12/1 and Charles, John and Phillip, all 14/1.

Whichever name is chosen is likely to spark a new trend for that moniker.

The bookmaker is offering odds of 4/6 for a caesarean birth and 11/10 for natural. For the baby’s gender the odds are 10/11, for male or female.

Royal fans can even bet on hair color – brown 6/4, blonde 2/1, black 7/2 and ginger 4/1, shortened from 8/1.

Paddy Power is offering odds of 66/1 that Kate Middleton and reality TV star Kim Kardashian will give birth on the same day.
A spokesman for the bookmakers said: “If both Kate and Kim do the double, the world’s media will have a baby bonanza on their hands and a right royal fight will be had over those all-important first pictures.”