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Princess Kate is in labour!

iVillage will keep you posted on the latest royal baby news. Check back here for regular updates.  

The Great Kate Wait is over! After initial reports that the royal baby was due on July 14, leading hordes of media and fans to camp outside St Mary’s Hospital for the past fortnight, the Duchess of Cambridge is labouring in her private birthing suite.

The official Duke and Duchess of Cambridge website has announced: "Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted 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."

The couple arrived at the hospital around 6am London time. There will be no further public statement until the baby is born, but according to Kate's spokesman: "Things are progressing as normal".

Kate's uncle, Gary Goldsmith, has tweeted that today is "very very exciting". Understatement!

Before proceeding to the hospital Prince William alerted the Queen using a special phone with an encrypted signal to make the call. When the baby is born, the Queen will be the first person to be informed, via a handwritten note signed by medical staff taken from the hospital. The note will be delivered to Buckingham Palace under police escort.

Within an hour of the birth, a bulletin will be propped up on an easel outside Buckingham Palace announcing the royal baby’s arrival. A 41-gun salute will follow.

The gender of the baby is unknown as Prince William and Kate wanted it to be a surprise. The child will be third in line to the throne, and will become monarch regardless of its sex.

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The day after she gives birth, Kate is expected to appear to pose with her baby on the steps of the hospital, just as Princess Diana did after the births of Princes William and Harry. An official portrait will be taken about two weeks later.

Fortunately Kate will be spared the indignity that royals of times past were forced to endure: having a government minister present for the delivery.

According to historian Dr Judith Rowbotham: "There used to be a representative in the room seeing the child delivered. They stood to the side so that they wouldn't get a view of the royal private parts."

The birth of Queen Victoria's cousin, Princess Alexandra, in 1936 was the last occasion the Home Secretary was present. King George VI declared that a minister was needed only for those in the direct line of succession, but by the time the Queen gave birth to Prince Charles in 1948, the practice had thankfully been abandoned.

Hundreds of journalists are currently milling outside the hospital waiting for news on the birth and getting sunburnt (its predicted to reach 33C today, the highest temperature of the year to date).

To pass the time, a sweepstake has been started among the gathered press for the name of the child, whether he or she will be born in the morning or afternoon, and on the due date. The winner will score £160.

While we await further news on the arrival of the little prince or princess, here are 15 gorgeous vintage royal baby photos to help you bide the time sans sweepstake.

 

1926

SPEAIGHT/HULTON ROYALS COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

Elizabeth, Duchess of York, with her daughter, future Queen Elizabeth.

1945

KEYSTONE-FRANCE/GAMMA-KEYSTONE/GETTY IMAGES

Prince Charles with mum Princess Elizabeth II.

1951

KEYSTONE/HULTON ROYALS COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

Princess Elizabeth with her family, husband Prince Phillip Duke of Edinburgh, son Prince Charles and daughter Princess Anne.

1958

GAMMA-KEYSTONE/GAMMA-KEYSTONE/GETTY IMAGES

Princess Grace of Monaco snuggles with her newborn son, Prince Albert.

1960

FOX PHOTOS/HULTON ROYALS COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

Queen Elizabeth II's children, Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew, pose with their grandmother, the Queen Mother.

1963

CENTRAL PRESS/HULTON ROYALS COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

Princess Astrid of Belgium with her mother, Princess Paola, on her first birthday.

1963

ARCHIVE PHOTOS/HULTON ROYALS COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Princess Grace with Prince Albert andPrincess Caroline, near Palm Springs, Florida.

1967

KEYSTONE/HULTON ROYALS COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

Princess Beatrix, Crown Princess of Holland holds her son Prince Willem-Alexander.

1968

KEYSTONE/HULTON ROYALS COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands with her son, Willem-Alexander Prince of Orange.

1969

EXPRESS/HULTON ROYALS COLLECTION/GETTY IMAGES

King Juan Carlos I of Spain carries his son Prince Felipe.

1977

KEYSTONE-FRANCE/GAMMA-KEYSTONE/GETTY IMAGES

King Carl-Gustav and Queen Silvia of Sweden with their daughter Princess Victoria after her baptism.

1983

TIM GRAHAM/TIM GRAHAM PHOTO LIBRARY/GETTY IMAGES

Prince Charles and Princess Diana with their son Prince William in their home in Kensington Palace.

1985

TIM GRAHAM/TIM GRAHAM PHOTO LIBRARY/GETTY IMAGES

Prince William and his brother, Prince Harry, play the piano at home in Kensington Palace.

1990

JULIAN PARKER/UK PRESS/GETTY IMAGES

The Duchess of York with her daughter, Princess Beatrice.

2009

MARCO SECCHI/GETTY IMAGES NEWS/GETTY IMAGES

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, at the Royal Windsor Horse Show with their children James, Viscount Severn and Lady Louise Windsor.

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