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The Royal Baby Is Here: Kate And William Welcome A Girl

05/02/2015 06:30 EDT

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge (née Kate Middleton) have welcomed a girl.

Kensington Palace announced on Twitter and in a statement that the Duchess of Cambridge "was safely delivered of a daughter'' at 8:34 a.m. London time (0734 GMT) on May 2, less than three hours after she was admitted to central London's St. Mary's Hospital.

The announcement was greeted by cheers outside the hospital, where die-hard royal fans dressed in patriotic Union Jack gear have been camping out on the sidewalk, eagerly awaiting news. A town crier in elaborate costume loudly declared the news at the hospital's door, clanging his bell to welcome the new royal.

The baby weighs 8 pounds 3 ounces (3.7 kg). Prince William was present for the birth, and later left to fetch son George for a visit so he could meet his new sister.

prince george royal baby

Kate, William and their newborn daughter, the Princess of Cambridge, left the hospital that same evening for Kensington Palace. It is said the family will spend a few days in London, and William will take two weeks paternity leave.

The princess is fourth in line to the throne and the fifth great-grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II. Senior royals are said to be "delighted with the news.''

Kate, who wed William in April 2011, gave birth to Prince George at the same hospital in July 2013.

The name of the newborn wasn't expected to be announced immediately. When George was born, officials waited two days before announcing his name.

Betting had for weeks ran heavily in favour of the child being a girl, despite any apparent evidence to back that up.

All the top bets for the baby's name are for girls. Alice and Charlotte are the clear favourites, followed by Elizabeth, Victoria and Diana -- all names with strong connections to royal tradition.

Prince Charles has signalled -- twice -- that he's hoping for a granddaughter, which led some to speculate that Charles had some inside information.

The monarchy has not welcomed a princess born this high up the line of succession since Princess Anne, the queen's second child, was born in 1950.

Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the daughters of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, were fifth and sixth in line at the time of their birth.

At 21 months, George is currently third in line to the throne, after his grandfather Prince Charles and William. The newborn becomes the fourth in line, bumping Uncle Harry to fifth place.

With files from The Canadian Press/The Associated Press

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