Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, has given birth to a baby boy and future king, marking the arrival of the most anticipated new heir to the British throne in more than three decades.
The Prince of Cambridge was born at at 4:24 p.m. BST (11:24 a.m. ET) and weighed in at eight pounds and six ounces, with Prince William present for the birth, according to Clarence House, the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. "Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well and will remain in hospital overnight," Clarence House tweeted.
A name has yet to be announced, but that hasn't stopped bookies, media and royal followers from placing their bets, with with Brits leaning toward James or George.
The first-born child of Kate Middleton and Prince William, both 31, bumps his uncle Prince Harry for the third spot in the line of succession, behind his grandfather, Prince Charles, and his dad. He is the third great-grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II.
"An important moment in the life of our nation, but above all a wonderful moment for a warm and loving couple," British Prime Minister David Cameron said shortly after the baby's arrival was telegraphed around the world.
The Duchess gave birth at St. Mary's Hospital in London, the same hospital where the late Princess Diana gave birth to William and Harry. Upon leaving the hospital, Kate will be expected to pose for the first public photographs of the little prince, as Diana did as well.
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As thousands of well-wishers celebrated outside St. Mary's Hospital and Buckingham Palace, new grandfather Prince Charles also issued a statement on behalf of himself and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall: "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."
And proud father William reportedly made a short statement that said it all: "We couldn't be happier."
In keeping with the pomp and circumstance of royal tradition, a formal birth announcement was carried from the hospital to Buckingham Palace by a royal aide and displayed on a wooden and gold easel by the palace gates. A St. James Palace aide told Us Weekly previously that the same easel was last used for William's 1982 birth.
Palace officials said Kate was admitted to the hospital in the early stages of labour in the wee hours of Monday morning, with Will by her side.
According to the new parents, who were married in April 2011, the gender of the baby was a surprise — though bets and speculation about the baby's sex (or possible twins) have been swirling since Kate's pregnancy was announced in December. Meanwhile, bookies have been taking wagers on baby names from more than 100 countries.
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And the rumour mill doesn't stop at names and gender, with bets taken on everything from the royal baby's hair colour to university, career choices and even which magazine will have the first exclusive photos.
If the relentless news flow around Kate's pregnancy was any indication, the royal baby will be one of the most obsessed-over kids on earth. Kate made headlines around the world when she was hospitalized early in her pregnancy due to acute morning sickness, and unsurprisingly the media has been scrutinizing her every move -- including her fashion choices, shopping list, birth options and social calendar.
The weeks leading up to the baby's birth have been suspense-filled as royal-watchers and media alike speculated on the Duchess' due date -- was it to be July 1? 13? 19? 23? The scene outside St. Mary's Hospital included live web cam streams, scores of tourists, and even some Kate and Will impersonators planted to stir up the media swarm that had set up camp. Kate and William, meanwhile, were scarce seen in the final days, save for a polo match attended by Wills and brother Harry.
While the royal couple will probably keep a low profile with their son in the coming weeks and months, the public and media can expect much fanfare any time baby Cambridge makes an appearance, including his upcoming christening and possibly a royal tour of Australia and New Zealand in spring 2014.
Diana took a baby Prince William on the same trip in 1983, and we bet Will and Kate will want to follow in her footsteps when they take on their royal duties.
Check out the live blog below for the latest developments: