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Kate Middleton is in labour, royal family confirms

Royal baby alert! The Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted to hospital in London.

Image: John Stillwell/PA Wire/

KATE MIDDLETON IS in the early stages of labour in a private wing of a central London hospital, royal officials have confirmed.

Prince William and Kate entered St Mary’s Hospital through a side door early this morning, avoiding the world’s media. Palace officials confirmed her arrival about 90 minutes later.

Royal officials said they travelled by car, without a police escort, just before 6am. Kate — also known as the Duchess of Cambridge — is expected to give birth in the private Lindo Wing of the hospital, where Princess Diana also gave birth to William and his younger brother, Prince Harry.

“Things are progressing as normal,” the couple’s spokesman said.

She will be looked after by a medical team led by royal gynaecologist Dr. Marcus Setchell. Palace officials are not expected to provide many details about how her labour is progressing.

The baby is in line to become Britain’s monarch and be recognized as head of state in 15 other countries, including Canada and Australia, playing a leading role in charting the future of the Commonwealth.

But little else is known, including how the baby will arrive — it is not clear if Kate will have a natural birth or deliver by a planned cesarean section — its gender and its name.

Royal watchers must wait to be told of the baby’s arrival from the palace, which is planning to reveal the news through a mixture of tradition and social media.

Palace officials have said that the first hint will come when a royal aide emerges from the hospital with a signed bulletin carrying the Buckingham Palace letterhead. The bulletin will be given to an official who will be driven to Buckingham Palace, where it will be posted on an easel in public view in front of the building.

At the same time the bulletin is posted, there will be an official announcement on Twitter and the media will be formally notified. The document will give the baby’s gender, weight and time of birth.

William and Kate in June (Alastair Grant/AP/Press Association Images)

It could be some time before the baby’s name is made public. When William was born, a week passed before his name was announced. Charles’s name remained a mystery for an entire month.

But it is the baby’s gender that is of particular interest because the prospect of Kate’s pregnancy prompted a change to laws of succession to ensure a daughter would not be passed over for the crown by a younger brother. Boy or girl, the child will be the prospective future monarch.

Officials have said that William plans to take two weeks’ paternity leave and then return to his military duties as a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot in Wales.

His tour of duty is scheduled to wrap up around September, and he and Kate are expected to move from their isolated cottage on the island of Anglesey off the coast of Wales to Kensington Palace in central London.

But major refurbishment works at the palace likely won’t be finished until at least a month or two after the infant is born — meaning that William and Kate will most likely have to make do with their current temporary home in London, a two-bedroom property at the palace.

Come autumn, however, the family will be able to move into their permanent London home, Apartment 1a at Kensington Palace — a four-storey house with a nursery, 20 rooms and a private garden.

More: Signs that people have lost their minds over the royal baby>

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Associated Press

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