With not a hair out of place, Kate Middleton emerged from hospital this evening just 12 hours after giving birth, carrying in her arms her new baby daughter, the first Princess to be born in Britain in 25 years.
Kate was accompanied by her husband Prince William but, to the chagrin of picture editors worldwide, Prince George was not in attendance.
Hopes had been raised earlier in the afternoon that the entire Cambridge family would be photographed together on the steps of the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital, after William carried a waving Prince George into the hospital to meet his new sister.
However, George left by a back entrance with his nanny after spending about half an hour with the new Princess.
So it was left to Kate and William to proudly show off Her Royal Highness Princess [Name] of Cambridge, as we must enigmatically refer to the new baby in the absence of being provided with an official name just yet.
Kate left the hospital shortly after 6 p.m. having spent just over 12 hours in hospital. She was admitted at 6 a.m. and after a swift labor, the baby was born at 8:30 a.m. London time (3:30am EDT). The baby weighed 8 lb 3 oz.
At 4pm, William nipped home to pick up Prince George, carrying the immaculately-dressed infant back into the hospital, and whispering “Good boy” as his son waved for the cameras.
The big family exit was not to be, however. That decision will now spark a hunt among the paparazzi for the valuable “first picture” of the four family members together.
William and Kate headed back to their London home, Kensington Palace, where Prince George was being looked after by his nanny and Middleton grandparents.
Attention now turns to likely names for the child, with Alice (last used for Queen Victoria’s daughter), Elizabeth (for William’s grandmother, the Queen) and Charlotte (in tribute to Charles) leading the betting.
There was also speculation that Alexandra or Diana could feature when the names of the child are finally revealed.
The Royalist is plumping for some combination of Frances (Diana’s middle name) Elizabeth and Alice.
It has been announced that the new Princess will be christened in the early summer.
London landmarks including the London Eye and Buckingham Palace will be lit up with pink lights tonight to celebrate the birth.
Prince William was present for the birth of his daughter, who is now fourth in line to the throne after Charles, William and Prince George, and will remain in that position even if Kate has another child which is a boy, following a change in the law allowing a female heir equal inheritance rights.
In contrast to the birth of Prince George in July 2013, when literally thousands of reporters, cameramen and members of the public camped out for weeks on end outside the hospital before the birth, this time the streets were quiet for Kate’s arrival, as police strictly enforced a no-loitering zone for press in the road outside the Lindo Wing Hospital’s front door. Some royal “superfans,” however, did camp out on the street.
Kate and William did not know whether they were having a boy or a girl, sources say.
A ceremonial announcement of the baby’s birth was made by the placing of a traditional notice of birth on an easel outside Buckingham Palace for well-wishers to see. The easel is the same one as was used for Prince William’s birth. Well-wishers spent up to half an hour in a queue to see the easel.
The new family-of-four are expected to stay in their London base of Kensington Palace for a few days after the birth, and then travel to their country home in Norfolk.
William will be taking his full entitlement of two weeks paternity leave, the palace has announced, plus another four weeks of unpaid leave to bond with his child.