It's a BOY! Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to healthy baby and future King weighing 8lb 6oz at 4.24pm with proud Prince William by her side
- Birth announced by a press release sent out from the palace at 8.30pm GMT
- Official announcement then placed on easel outside Buckingham Palace for the waiting crowds to see
- Duchess of Cambridge and her son are both doing well and will remain in hospital overnight
- Queen and Duke of Edinburgh said to be 'delighted' at news of their great grandson's birth
- The Prime Minister, Archbishop of Canterbury and Leader of the Opposition all express their congratulations
- David Cameron says 'the whole country will celebrate' the birth of the new Royal baby
- Kate was admitted to hospital at around 5.30am and arrived in car with Prince William
- The 31-year-old planned to give birth to the royal baby naturally and she was not induced into labour
- Future king was born at the same hospital in Paddington where Princess Diana had Princes William and Harry
- Prince William was by his wife's side at the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in London
- He will now take two weeks' paternity leave and accept the full entitlement of £136.78 per week
- The royal couple did not know the sex of the baby who will replace Harry as third in line to the throne
- Royal couple helped to St Mary's by protection officer who went with Prince Harry on infamous Vegas trip last year
- Police officer shows off his security briefing note in full view of hundreds of cameras this afternoon
An overjoyed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are the proud parents of a healthy baby boy, as Britain celebrates the birth of a future king.
The couple’s son weighed 8lb 6oz and was delivered at 4.24pm today at the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington with his proud father, Prince William, looking on.
Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well and will remain in hospital overnight, said a spokesman for the palace. Palace sources said the couple chose to delay the public announcement of the birth to allow them to spend 'quality time' together.
In a statement tonight William said simply: ‘We could not be happier.’
William's father, Charles, the Prince of Wales said this evening: '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.
'Grandparenthood is a unique moment in anyone’s life, as countless kind people have told me in recent months, so I am enormously proud and happy to be a grandfather for the first time and we are eagerly looking forward to seeing the baby in the near future.'
Scroll down for videos and a live feed from the Lindo Wing
The big day has arrived: An easel stands in the Forecourt of Buckingham Palace in London to announce the birth of a baby boy, at 4.24pm to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at St Mary's Hospital
It's a boy: The message displayed outside the palace telling the world that there is a new prince in the British royal family
The Queen's Press Secretary Ailsa Anderson with Badar Azim, a footman, place the official document
Celebration time! Thousands of well wishers mob the gates of Buckingham Palace as the news of the Duchess of Cambridge's baby was revealed tonight
The waiting crowds cheer as the Queen's Press Secretary Ailsa Anderson with Badar Azim a footman place on an easel in the Forecourt of Buckingham Palace a notification, to announce the birth of a baby boy
Britain rejoices: Monarchists clamour for a better view as the news is revealed outside the Queen's home
A police officer tries to control a crowd of people trying to get to the railing to take pictures of the notice proclaiming the birth of the Royal baby
It had been planned that the birth would be announced to the world on an easel placed outside the gates of Buckingham palace but, in the event, the press were informed by a statement from the Royal household sent out at 8.30pm GMT.
The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news.
Prince William will be staying overnight with his wife on the ward at St Mary's hospital. Tonight Royal Protection officers were seen delivering takeaway pizza to the Lindo Wing, presumably to give the Royal couple her sustenance after their tough day.
The long-awaited baby will be given the title His Royal Highness and be known as Prince of Cambridge, after the Queen moved earlier this year to change almost a century of royal tradition.
She issued a formal proclamation in January to end a convention brought in by George V which meant that a royal title was restricted to the children of the sovereign and the children of the sovereign’s sons.
The new baby is third in the line of succession, relegating his proud uncle, Prince Harry to fourth, and great-uncle, Prince Andrew, to sixth – although he may not become sovereign for half a century or more.
Recent legislation allowing female heirs to automatically accede to the throne if they are first born will clearly not affect the Cambridge’s son, but will have a bearing on any of his children.
Royal aide Ed Perkins leaves St Mary's with the official announcement that the Cambridges' son has been born
Mr Perkins rushes down the steps of the hospital to the street where, right, he hands it to a chauffeur to be ferried across central London to the Palace
A Jaguar car is driven into the Forecourt of Buckingham Palace bringing the news to announce the birth
After the message's delivery, the Queen's senior Page Philip Rhodes, right, is given the official notification in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace
A day for celebrations: Royal fans mob the gates of the Palace, trying to get the best photographs as the announcement is put in place
Soon after the palace announcement was made, a notice giving details about the baby - the third-in-line to the throne - left St Mary's Hospital in London by car for Buckingham Palace.
The announcement read: 'Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24pm today. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.'
It has been signed by the Queen's former gynaecologist Marcus Setchell, who led the medical team that delivered Kate's baby.
The notice, written on a piece of A4 size foolscap paper, was brought out of the Lindo’s front entrance and rushed, with the help of a police escort, across Central London to Buckingham Palace.
There it was carefully placed on an easel, last used to display the proclamation announcing Prince William’s birth more than two decades ago, inside the palace gates and displayed to an ever-growing crowd.
The new royal baby will be the 43rd sovereign since William the Conqueror if, as expected, it follows reigns by the Prince of Wales then William.
In lights: The news was broadcast in a special animation which shone from the BT Tower in Fitzrovia, central London
Well-wishers wearing outfits emblazoned with the national flag celebrate news of the birth of the new Royal baby outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington
A town crier announces the birth of the son of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital. Right, David Cameron outside Number 10 tonight congratulating the Royal couple on the birth of their son. 'The whole country will celebrate,' he said.
Royal frenzy: Self-proclaimed Town Crier Tony Appleton rings his bell in celebration outside St Mary's
Self-appointed town crier Tony Appleton announces the birth of the newest Royal
Dancing in the streets: Revellers in fancy dress party outside St Mary's, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will stay together overnight before going home tomorrow
Good job: Guy Thorpe-Beeston, Marcus Setchel and Alan Farthing, the medical team in charge of the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's newborn baby, leave the Lindo Wing
It wasn't this big... Dr Setchel gestures to the crowd as the medical team make their way home for the night
Capturing the moment forever: People take pictures outside St. Mary's hospital. The new royal baby will be the 43rd sovereign since William the Conqueror if it follows reigns by the Charles then William
Another important delivery: A Royal detective turns up at the rear entrance to St Mary's with two pizzas from Zizzi's restaurant at 8.45pm, after leaving 10 mins before the announcement of the Royal birth
The Prime Minister said the 'whole country will celebrate' the birth of the royal baby as news of the child's arrival spread across the globe.
David Cameron offered his congratulations on Twitter where the worlds of showbiz, politics and sport appeared to share in the Duke and Duchess's delight.
He wrote: 'I'm delighted for the Duke and Duchess now their son has been born. The whole country will celebrate. They'll make wonderful parents.'
Beaming, Mr Cameron subsequently appeared outside 10 Downing Street where he declared the birth 'an important moment in the life of our nation'.
He said: 'It is wonderful news from St Mary's, Paddington and I am sure that right across the country, and indeed right across the Commonwealth, people will be celebrating and wishing the royal couple well.
'It is an important moment in the life of our nation but, I suppose, above all it is a wonderful moment for a warm and loving couple who have got a brand new baby boy.
'It has been a remarkable few years for our royal family - a royal wedding that captured people's hearts, that extraordinary and magnificent jubilee and now this royal birth - all from a family that has given this nation so much incredible service.'
'They can know that a proud nation is celebrating with a very proud and happy couple tonight.'
Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev Justin Welby was one of the first to speak of his joy on Twitter.
'Delighted for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they welcome their baby boy. May God bless them all with love, health and happiness,' he said.
Labour Leader Ed Miliband added: 'Many congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. I wish them and their son all happiness and good health.'
Sky's Kay Burley announces that the Royal baby is a boy
Vast: Crowds of tourists and well-wishers gather on the steps of the Queen Victoria Memorial Statue and at the gates outside Buckingham Palace today as they wait for the royal baby to be born
Preparations: Crowds have flocked to the areas outside Buckingham Palace, where the baby's birth will be announced in the coming hours
Excited: Huge numbers of people are gathering outside Buckingham Palace, which has had a red rope erected to control crowds
Anticipation: For weeks people have been sleeping outside the Lindo Wing, where the baby is born, and now many will also wait outside the Queen's home
Royal excitement: Enthusiasts gather outside Buckingham Palace today and some tourists cool off in the fountains on what has been the hottest day of the year
Royal baby coming: Members of the public cool off in the pools outside Buckingham Palace today as the country waits for news about the royal birth
Fever pitch: There were huge cheers and a rushing crowd as the Queen arrived back at Buckingham Palace with her corgis this afternoon ahead of the birth of the royal baby
Although a cause for national celebration in Britain, the baby’s arrival is, more importantly, a time of overwhelming personal joy for William and Kate, who made no secret of their desire to start a family when they married two years ago.
The Queen was, according to protocol, the first to be informed of the newest addition to her family when William personally telephoned her from his wife’s delivery suite, followed by proud grandfather Prince Charles and Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, who are now linked by blood to the British throne.
With family – including the entire Middleton clan and new uncle Prince Harry - set to arrive at the hospital within hours, it is understood that the couple do not intend to introduce the Queen to her new great grand-son until the Duchess returns home.
Final public appearance: The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at Buckingham Palace during a horse drawn parade last month as she is seen for the last time before she was due to give birth
Despite having eight grand-children and two great grand-daughters already, it will be a momentous event for the 87-year-old sovereign.
The last time a still-serving monarch got to meet a great grandchild born in direct succession to the crown was nearly 120 years ago.
Queen Victoria, who reigned until 1901, was still sovereign when her great grandchild Edward VIII, who later abdicated, was born third in line in 1894.
William and Kate’s baby will be the great great great great great grandchild of Queen Victoria and the present Queen’s third great grandchild.
It is also likely to have huge resonance for her personally, marking the emergence of a reinvigorated British Royal Family after decades dominated by bitter marital strife.
William and Kate are personally determined that their son be allowed to enjoy as ‘normal’ an upbringing as possible while being taught to respect and accept his destiny as a future King, head of the armed forces, supreme governor of the Church of England and head of the Commonwealth, which covers 54 nations across the world.
The present Queen is still head of state of 16 countries across the globe but it is likely that by the time her great grand-son accedes to the throne, which could be more than fifty or more years from now, precious little of those will remain.
In an interview to mark their engagement in 2010, Kate stressed that her own family – parents Michael and Carole and siblings Pippa and James – were the lynchpin of her existence.
Asked about her family she said: ‘Yes. It’s very important to me. And I hope we will be able to have a happy family ourselves.’
When asked about his future plans in the military, William added in an interview last year : ‘More importantly, I’d rather like to have children. So that’s the key thing really.’
He also revealed that he would like two children – while his wife subsequently divulged that while she wanted a boy, William liked the idea of a girl.
The couple’s choice of the private Lindo wing at St Mary’s Hospital is unsurprising but, nevertheless, touching given the link with William’s late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
William became the first future monarch in history to be born in a hospital when she delivered him there on 21st June 1982, followed by his brother, Harry.
The prince has always, by and large, determinedly kept his feelings about his late mother close to his chest – aside from admitting he gave Kate her engagement ring as a way of keeping her ‘close to it all’.
But his joy at becoming a father is likely to be tinged with an element of regret: regret that his proud, adoring and fiercely possessive mother had not lived to see her first grand-child born.
Tragic Diana, who died in a Paris car crash in 1997, famously adored children and had always secretly hoped to have another.
Anticipated: A journalist broadcasts live from the palace, where the baby's name and weight will be displayed on an easel when it arrives, while tourists watch the changing of the guard
Flashback: A bogus easel similar to the one that will be used to announce the royal baby's birth is placed outside the Palace as tourists mill around
Getting a better view: These excited children climb the gates of the Palace and are among the hundreds getting swept away in the excitement of the royal baby's impending arrival
Waiting: Queues of people snake around Buckingham Palace ahead of the arrival of the royal baby as others take pictures with the Queen Victoria Memorial statue in the background, which faces the Queen's home
Royal fans: A young girl looks-on as Royal well wishers Sarah Haggie, left, and Fi Thompson, right, pose in Union flag themed jackets outside Buckingham Palace in central London
Dedication: Another royal supporter John Loughrey poses with his royal baby memorabilia as he waits across the street from the hospital's exclusive Lindo Wing
In for the long haul: Royal supporter John Loughrey looks out from his tent outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital
Royal fans: A small crowd gathers outside the hospital over the weekend as royal fans wait for Kate to be admitted to the hospital
Little prince - or princess? Royal supporters have both balloons with them as they wait outside the hospital ahead of the birth
Can't wait: Passionate monarchists who have camped out for days and weeks are just hours away from the announcement of the royal birth
Baker: Teba Diatta holds a cake outside the Lindo Wing, which says 'Come on Kate, we can't wait, give us something to celebrate'
The Duchess will spend the next few days recovering in hospital but, as has already been demonstrated, will be in the best of hands.
Her labour was overseen by the Queen’s own Surgeon-Gynaecologist, Marcus Setchell, who was made Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 2005.
As well as attending to the Queen since 1990, he has delivered both of the Earl and Countess of Wessex’s children and former Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie’s youngest child, Leo.
At a charity cricket match just days ago the 59-year-old was heard joking to friends that he had given up drinking for the whole of July in preparation for the birth.
He was assisted by the Surgeon-Gynecologist to the Royal Household, Alan Farthing, who is by co-incidence a consultant gynecologist at St Mary’s.
Dr Farthing, 50, is the former fiancé of the murdered BBC television newsreader and presenter Jill Dando and has worked for the Royal Family since 2008.
Both men will continue to monitor Kate’s recovery.
Royal arrival: This is the moment Kate and her royal protection officers went through the Mary Sandford entrance of the hospital at just before 6am this morning
Protection: Kate's security team are shown here marching into the hospital after her and soon afterwards a member of the protection squad then headed back to the cars, which then swept away
Fortunately for the Duchess, the birth of her baby boy was a much less crowded event that it has been in the past.
Historically the birth would have been attended by a slew of privy counsellors, government ministers and ladies-in-waiting, not least to ascertain there had been no switch of a prince at birth, a popular suspicion regarding James II’s son.
Queen Victoria formally banished the circus of attendants when the then Princess Mary gave birth to the future Edward VIII in 1894, declaring the presence of one cabinet minister would suffice.
Indeed when the Queen was born in her grandparents’ London home in Mayfair, only the then home secretary Sir William Joynson-Hicks waited in the next room.
But by the time the Queen was due to give birth to her own son, Prince Charles, in 1948, she declared that the need to have any minister present was constitutionally unnecessary (making the 1936 birth of her cousin, Princess Alexandra, the last occasion this occurred).
The Home Secretary is now only required to notify certain officials including the Lord Mayor of London, while the Queen’s Private Secretary Sir Christopher Geidt will inform Governor Generals overseas.
Great expectations: A crowd gathers outside St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, after Kate went into labour
Press pack: The media crowd gathers outside the hospital waiting for news of the royal birth to break
Away from the press pack: A journalist files copy from a coffee shop as the world as reporters wait for news of the royal birth
Hot weather: Police officers carry bottles of water outside St Mary's Hospital this afternoon as the heatwave continues
Police presence: A major security operation is underway at the west London hospital with dozens of officers on duty to maintain order
It is believed that the Duchess fell pregnant last October, within days of returning home from the couple’s hugely successful Diamond Jubilee tour on behalf of the Queen to Asia and the South Pacific.
Sadly, however, the Duchess’s health was to take a turn for the worse less than eight weeks into her pregnancy when, on Monday December 3 last year, she was admitted to hospital suffering from a severe form of pregnancy-related sickness known as hyperemesis gravidarum.
The dramatic turn of events forced a reluctant St James’s Palace to make the news public far earlier than anyone – particularly William and Kate – would ever have wanted. At that early stage, even senior members of the royal family, including the Queen and Prince Charles, had not been informed.
The news came as a huge shock to all, not least because three days earlier, on Friday December 1, Kate had been filmed playing a game of hockey in high heeled boots on a visit to her old preparatory school, St Andrew’s in Pangbourne, Berkshire.
Insiders told the Mail she had fallen ill while staying at her parents’ home at nearby Bucklebury over the weekend, while Prince William was away with friends on a shooting party.
By Monday morning, with her husband now back by her side, her condition had deteriorated to such an extent that the decision was made to admit her to the King Edward V11 Hospital in London.
Scrum: Reporters from round the world have been gathered outside the hospital for the last two weeks waiting for the day when the royal baby is born
Insatiable: The press and broadcasters from all over the world are crammed into a small area outside St Mary's Hospital as they wait for the royal birth
Time to roll: Members of the world's media gather outside The Lindo Wing after days of waiting for the Duchess of Cambridge to be admitted
Global broadcasters: Natalie Morales, of NBC in the US, reports live from outside St Mary's Hospital, west London, as the world waits for news
World event: Natalie Morales, of NBC in the US, has make-up applied to her face as she prepares to go live
Big event: Sky News' Kay Burley applies make-up outside the Lindo Wing, at St Mary's Hospital, where she has been broadcasting
Doctors were particularly concerned that her inability to keep down any fluids could lead to dehydration which could put both herself and the baby at risk.
She was immediately put on a drip to introduce fluids and nutrients into her body and fortunately responded well to treatment, although the couple cancelled several public engagements.
She was sent home after three nights in hospital with a batch of anti-sickness tablets - and strict instructions to rest.
But the following weekend she suffered another bout of severe sickness, forcing the cancelation of further long-standing engagements.
William later attempted to make light of the awfulness of his wife’s condition, however, saying: ‘They shouldn’t call it morning sickness as it’s a day and all night sickness.’
It was, however, an undeniably difficult time, and one that was not made any easier when the private hospital was plunged into the most unimaginable tragedy.
Days after she was released, a nurse who had cared for the Duchess, Jacintha Saldanha, committed suicide after admitting she had been tricked into revealing details of her condition by two Australian DJS during a prank call that had been put through to the ward. An inquest into her death will be held later this year.
Excitement building: Members of the public gather outside St Mary's Hospital this morning as the Duchess of Cambridge goes into labour
Royal excitement: Tourists take photographs of the front of the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital as it emerged that the Duchess has gone into labour
Where's William? A cameraman with a Prince William mask on the back of his head as he waits for news outside the Lindo Wing
Going live: Broadcaster Natalie Morales, of NBC News, reports from outside the Lindo Wing as the world waits for news on the royal birth
Excitement: A crowd gathers outside the hospital as members of the public gather in the fleeting hope that they can get a first glimpse of the royal baby
Insiders: Staff working on the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital take pictures of the media outside after the Duchess was admitted to hospital
Popping by: TV star Ben Fogle's sister was also admitted to the Lindo wing at 8am this morning to have her baby
Fortunately the Duchess made a full recovery and continued with a light diary of public engagements until mid-June, setting the fashion world alight with her choice of elegant maternity outfits ranging from Top Shop to bespoke Emelia Wickstead outfits. The last time she was officially seen in public was at Trooping the Colour on June 15.
Since then she has divided her time between her family home in Berkshire and her London base in the grounds of Kensington Palace.
Her husband, meanwhile, an RAF Search and Rescue pilot, has been clocking up the miles shuttling to and from his base on Anglesey, North Wales, where he is still officially on duty.
He had always made clear, however, that he was determined to be by Kate’s side when she gave birth, unlike his grandfather, Prince Philip, who was playing squash when his first-born son, Charles, was delivered.
With royal watchers and the world's media gathering outside the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was giving birth, vigilant police officers had to keep constant watch for the first sign of trouble.
Bungle: A police officer, standing on the steps of the Lingo Wing at St Mary's Hospital, shows off a confidential briefing note in full view of the world's media
Security scare: The officer inadvertently shows off his briefing note outside the hospital this afternoon, raising fears that security has been compromised
But one officer standing guard seemingly didn't get the message - because he showed off his confidential briefing note in full view of hundreds of cameras this afternoon.
The memo, headed 'Briefing note Lindo Wing posts', could clearly be read by any of the long lens cameras trained on the front door of the private unit.
The incident raised fears that security had been compromised at the hospital which Kate Middleton was admitted to at 5.30am in the morning as she went into labour.
A team of royal protection officers rushed the mother-to-be in via a rear exit, the same route taken by Princess Diana when she gave birth to William in 1982.
By the afternoon afternoon there was a large police presence around the hospital as royal fans gathered as they waited for news about the soon-to-be mother and baby.
Meanwhile, many more gathered outside Buckingham Palace, where the official announcement of the baby's birth was to be made on an easel to be placed at its gates.
Great-grandmother: The Queen left Windsor Castle this afternoon on her way back to Buckingham Palace
Return: The Queen is set to be in London when the Duchess of Cambridge gives birth
Business as usual: The Prince of Wales was relaxed while visiting the National Railway Museum in York today, and told reporters there was 'no news' from the hospital and he would keep to his two-day schedule in Yorkshire
Passion: Train lover the Prince of Wales is surrounded by steam on a visit to mark the 75th anniversary of the world-famous Mallard Locomotive
Grandfather-to-be: Prince Charles out and about in York today going ahead with his normal schedule as his son was at the Duchess' bedside in west London
Calm: Prince Charles strolls with his hands behind his back as he passes a train named after his son, who could become a father today
Prince Charles had continued with business as usual as he arrived in Yorkshire - even as the country held its breath for the imminent arrival of the royal baby.
He arrived in York to visit the National Railway Museum and York minster during the morning, before continuing to West Yorkshire during the afternoon.
His wife Camilla was set to meet him and the two were to visit Bridlington, East Yorkshire.
Expectant mother: Kate, pictured when she was seen in public for the last time in June, has been admitted to hospital after she went into labour this morning
Excitement reached feverish levels outside Buckingham Palace this afternoon when the Queen arrived home from Windsor Castle, where the huge crowd surged dangerously as she was driven through the gates.
Scores of people ran towards her vehicle screaming 'the Queen!', while others reached into their pockets to grab their camera phones in an effort to catch Her Majesty's fleeting appearance.
The months of speculation and anticipation - dubbed the Great Kate Wait - built to a climax this morning amid news that the Duchess of Cambridge had been admitted to hospital in the early stages of labour.
Royal fan Terry Hutt, 78, from Cambridge, has been camped outside St Mary's Hospital for 12 days.
The former soldier, who served with the Royal Ordnance Corps, is sleeping on a bench across the road from the Lindo Wing.
'I have the best royal bed in town,' he said.
'I have lost my voice with all the excitement. At night we're watching the hospital in two-hour stints, like the Army.
'The health of the baby, and Kate, is the only important element.'
Mr Hutt is wearing a Union flag suit and tie which a Dutch firm donated to him.
'My trousers are 10 inches too long,' he said, adding that his wife of 51 years, Joy, think he is a bit mad.
The septuagenarian has been joined outside the hospital by 'Diana Superfan' John Loughrey, 58, from Wandsworth, south-west London.
'I'm so excited I'm like a washing machine - I'm on full spin,' he said.
'I can't stop spinning. I've been here for seven days and heard gossip overnight that Kate was here.
'If it's a girl I think Diana will be the middle name. If it's a boy I believe Charles will be the name, because he has nurtured William and Harry.'
A close friend of Prince William spoke of his excitement ahead of the birth of the Duke and Duchess's first child as he arrived back from what is believed to be the first recorded kayak crossing of the North Sea between Britain and Norway.
Adventurer Oliver Hicks, 31, said he was looking forward to being introduced to the infant after battling 7ft waves on the 200-mile mission with fellow rower Patrick Winterton.
Mr Hicks, who attended the royal wedding and was greeted by the Prince when he became the youngest person to row solo from America to Britain aged 23, said: 'I was very keen to find out whether William and Kate's baby had arrived on making landfall.
'It was very exciting to hear the baby is now on its way as we landed back in the UK. It is such great - and very happy - news.
'I hope it all goes smoothly and wonder if the little one will be like William or Kate.
'I look forward to meeting the nipper in due course.'
Well-wishers from around the globe began gathering outside Buckingham Palace today, as news of the royal baby's imminent arrival broke.
Tourists armed with cameras peered hopefully through the Palace gates on the off-chance of spotting the easel, due to be placed on the forecourt detailing confirmation of the birth.
Westminster City Council today announced that the Golden Jubilee Bridges and fountains at Marble Arch will turn pink or blue depending on the sex of the royal baby.
From this evening lights on the bridges and fountains will alternate between the two colours at one minute intervals until the official announcement is made.
Historic: Met officers guard the rear Mary Stanford entrances, which Kate used to enter the hospital this morning and was the same one used by Princess Diana when she gave birth to Prince William in 1982
Media pack: Journalists from around the world gather outside the hospital after the Duchess was admitted shortly after 6am
Throng: This narrow strip of street outside St Mary's has been cordoned off for the media and the public, who have been patiently waiting for three weeks for today's news
Gifts: Police take a set of balloons from a woman standing at a barrier outside the hospital today as monarchists arrive for the birth
Dawning realisation: A well-wisher sleeping on a bench outside the Lindo Wing wakes to the news that the Duchess had arrived and is about to give birth
Ring of steel: Large numbers of officers from Scotland Yard have been called in this morning and installed outside St Mary's hospital
The media area outside the Lindo Wing is packed out with cameramen, photographers and journalists there to report on this huge story
Modern age: Clarence House sent a press release and tweeted when they were able to confirm that the royal baby was on its way
Wait is over: Two police officers stand guard outside the private Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, after the Duchess was admitted at 6am
Excitement: Clarence House made the announcement this morning that the Duchess was finally in labour
Big moment: The Palace announced Kate was in labour to retain her 'dignity', and will not say anything more until the baby is born
On their way: Carole Middleton, left, is thought to be with her daughter while Kate's sister Pippa, right, is also believed to be heading to hospital to support her sister through labour
Gone quiet: In the run-up to the birth, Kate was last seen officially at the Trooping The Colour parade in mid-June, while Prince William has also kept a low profile since attending a wedding alone on June 22
Taking it easy: The Duchess, her husband and their dog Lupo were given a lift home from Wales by friend Simon Oliphant-Hope in his helicopter on June 25
In Australia, a set of commemorative baby stamps has already been commissioned to mark the royal birth.
Lynette Traynor, a postal worker from Melbourne who is on holiday in London, said: 'We love everything to do with the royals, so the news is full of it.
'We have a set of baby stamps ready to go, as soon as it has been confirmed. We can't get enough of it.'
Another visitor to the Palace, 26-year-old German Veronika Schwarz, said she thought there was greater excitement outside of England.
'We don't have anything like the Royal Family in Germany, so we are all getting quite carried away with this.
'My friends in London seem like they just want the baby to come out now, I think they are tired of waiting.'
ROYAL BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT WILL BE THE SAME AS PRINCE WILLIAM'S
Sources close to the new royal mother-to-be suggest that she is definitely not ‘too posh to push’ and wants – unless nature intervenes – to opt for a natural birth rather than an elective caesarean section like many celebrity figures.
The Duchess of Cambridge is likely be relieved their baby is finally on its way after coping with being pregnant in the middle of Britain's longest heatwave for seven years.
Kate has been admitted to hospital on what is expected to be the hottest day of the year so far.
The mercury is expected to reach 33C (91.4F), with the Midlands and the South of England the likely contenders for the hot spots.
Mervi Jokinen, of the Royal College of Midwives, said: 'It gets quite uncomfortable being pregnant in the heat. Your legs swell more. It's actually more uncomfortable. If you go into labour, it can be a relief.'
During a two-day visit to Scotland in April, Kate disclosed she had taken up knitting ahead of the birth. 'I've been trying to knit and I'm really bad. I should be asking for tips,' she admitted.
Kate and William, who spent the weekend at Kensington Palace, travelled without a police escort and entered the hospital through a rear entrance.
Sources told MailOnline that Kate went into labour naturally, and was not induced, adding that things are 'progressing well' for the mother-to-be.
William was said to be determined to make it to the delivery suite, following in the footsteps of his own father who broke royal tradition to be with his wife, Diana, Princess of Wales, for the birth of both their children.
Inside the hospital providing help, advice and logistical support were the royal couple's most loyal aides: Miguel Head, Prince William's unflappable private secretary, and his young colleague Rebecca Deacon, who works as private secretary to the Duchess.
Both are as close to the Duke and Duchess as any member of Royal Household staff can be and are trusted implicitly.
Two of the couple's small press team - press secretary Ed Perkins and his assistant Nick Loughran - were also on permanent standby at the hospital, flitting between the Lindo Wing and the hundreds of photographers, journalists and camera crews waiting outside.
Lastly, the couple's team of Scotland Yard bodyguards were never far away.
Indeed, the couple's police protection officers, who were photographed ushering them safely into hospital, would have been among the first to know that the Duchess was in labour.
Palace officials chose to make the announcement that Kate was in hospital public in an attempt to balance her ‘dignity’ with the fact that social media makes it almost impossible to keep her baby's imminent arrival a secret.
The couple chose not to know the sex of their baby, bucking the trend of 75 per cent of British parents who now choose to discover the gender of their child.
MailOnline understands that William himself was likely to phone the Queen before anyone else, even his own father, depending on what time of day the baby is born.
After this call a traditional and dramatic chain of events will be kick-started that will lead to the announcement of the future monarch's birth - following exactly the same process as Prince William's to retain 'the theatre' of a genuine royal occasion.
As soon as the baby was born, a proclamation signed by the doctors who delivered the boy or girl was to be be rushed from the ward.
The sheet of creamy A4-size Buckingham Palace-headed paper would be brought out of the Lindo’s front entrance by a press officer.
It would then be handed to a waiting driver and driven through the streets of London – escorted by police outriders - to the Privy Purse Door at the front of Buckingham Palace.
There it will then be placed on an easel, last used to announce Prince William’s birth, by the main gates in the palace forecourt.
A palace spokesman explained that the rather theatrical nature of the announcement was crucial to retaining a sense of dignity appropriate for the birth of an heir to the throne.
He said: ‘We wanted to retain some of the theatre of the notice. It is quite important to us that this is done properly and with the degree of dignity that the event demands.
'This is the birth of a child who will be in line to the throne. It is a rare occasion and it is nice to be able to do it with some historical precedence.’
Prime Minister David Cameron said it was a 'very exciting occasion' and whole country is 'hoping for the best'.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, tweeted: 'My thoughts and prayers are with Kate and the whole family on this enormously special day.'
Kate's controversial uncle Gary Goldsmith was the first member of her family to speak out today after she went into labour.
He wrote on Twitter: 'Woke up to Thunder this morning but not a drop of rain? Now it's blistering & supposedly the hottest day if the year oh & very very exciting'.
It is understood Kate's mother Carole and sister Pippa had planned to be at the hospital with her. It was also hoped that William will make a short statement on the steps of the hospital after the good news has been declared – as will the Middletons.
Palace sources had also made clear the birth would not not be made public until the Queen and senior members of the royal family have been informed. The Middletons, in the unlikely event that were not able to make it to the the hospital, were also to be informed of the birth in advance.
The procedure was to avoid announcing the birth on Twitter.
However if the baby is born between 10.30pm and 8am, the news was to be sent out via press release with the easel being erected later that morning, at around 9am.
Echoes through time: Charles and Diana showed off their newborn son Prince William to an enthralled nation outside the Lindo Wing in 1982
ROYAL PROTECTION OFFICER WHO SPED KATE TO HOSPITAL WAS ON PRINCE HARRY'S VEGAS TRIP
Prince William is due to take just two weeks’ statutory paternity leave - for which he will be paid £136.78 a week - before returning to his normal shift pattern.
His wife, however, will definitely not return with him to their home on Anglesey with the new baby.
A palace spokesman had said that there was ‘still some discussion’ about where Kate and their new-born will be based.
But the Daily Mail has already revealed that she plans to move in with her parents at their £4.8million Berkshire mansion for around six weeks after William returns to work, as builders are still putting the finishing touches to their new apartment at Kensington Palace.
She chose St Mary's Lindo Wing, like the late Princess Diana before her, where a natural birth, staying in a private suite, is likely to cost up to £10,000.
The couple’s choice of the private wing is unsurprising, but nevertheless touching given the link with William’s late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
William has always, by and large, kept his feelings about his mother close to his chest – aside from admitting he gave Kate her engagement ring as a way of keeping her ‘close to it all’.
He became the first future monarch in history to be born in a hospital when he was delivered there on 21st June 1982, followed by his brother, Harry.
The Lindo underwent an extensive refurbishment in June 2012 and now provides what it boasts is the ‘highest quality of care’ for patients experiencing both ‘straightforward’ and complex pregnancies.
All rooms are equipped with satellite television, wi-fi, radio, a safe and a fridge. There is also a bedside telephone, internet access and a team of ‘catering staff’.
The hospital wing even offers its own wine list should patients and their guests wish to enjoy a glass of champagne to celebrate their baby’s arrival.
The bill for delivery is staggered per 24 hours – with a quick, natural birth costing £4,965. Staying in a suite – as the Duchess is likely to do – would cost an additional £1,000 plus per night on top of that, meaning the delivery could cost up to £10,000.
The child will be known as Prince or Princess, then their first name, followed by the words 'of Cambridge'.
They came up with a shortlist of names, but Kate said it was 'very difficult' and that her friends had been texting her ideas.
The name the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge give their first-born will most likely set a trend for the next generation of babies.
Royal infants mostly have safe, historical names which are passed down through the monarchy, with bookmaker William Hill reporting George as the favourite for a boy and, after a flurry of bets,
Alexandra - one of the Queen's middle names - as the favourite for a girl, while Charlotte is also thought to be a contender.
Elizabeth, in tribute to the Queen, and Diana, to pay homage to William's late mother, are also expected to make an appearance if the baby is a girl, while Charles, in honour of the Prince of Wales, or Philip, for the Duke of Edinburgh, are possibilities if it is a boy.
The Cambridges are also likely to take inspiration from Kate's side of the family, perhaps honouring her father Michael or mother Carole.
Francis is a recurring name in Kate's family tree. It is both her father and her grandfather's middle name and Frances was her great-great-great grandmother's first name. It was also William's mother's middle name.
The Queen will undoubtedly be informed of the chosen names prior to their announcement, but is unlikely veto any.
The nation is on tenterhooks as it waits to here whether our future monarch is a girl or a boy, but astrologers claim its star-sign will provide the biggest clues as to the type of monarch it will become.
The timing of the baby's birth today will dictate whether the baby is an emotional Cancer or fiery Leo, astrologers say.
If the child is born before 4.54 today, it will be a Cancerian, like its father Prince William and grandmother Diana, Princess of Wales.
But if the baby comes later, astrologers say it will be Leo, like its great-grandmother Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon.
Buckingham Palace say that, as an HRH, the youngster does not require a surname, indeed William and his brother Harry were christened using just their first names.
The Royal Household’s official surgeon-gynaecologist, Alan Farthing (left), the former fiancé of murdered television presenter Jill Dando, is the consultant gynaecologist at St Mary’s and will be assisting with the labour. He will be led by the Queen’s own surgeon-gynaecologist, Marcus Setchell (right)
Its website explains: ‘For the most part, members of the Royal Family who are entitled to the style and dignity of HRH Prince or Princess do not need a surname, but if at any time any of them do need a surname (such as upon marriage), that surname is Mountbatten-Windsor.’
However William has chosen to use the surname Wales professionally in the forces, as has Harry. His children might use Cambridge in the same way, or even Wales, too, as William still retains his title Prince William of Wales as well as that of the Duke of Cambridge.
The good news is that summer babies are thought to be more optimistic than those arriving in winter.
The new third-in-line-to the-throne is likely to be born under the star sign of Cancer, assuming its arrival falls between June 21 and July 22.
Cancerian babies – including Prince William’s late mother who was born on July 1 - are meant to be ‘soft, sensitive and affectionate’ as well as ‘imaginative, kind and gentle souls’.
Kate's bumpy path to birth: How the Duchess's pregnancy was announced early after bout of severe morning sickness
They had planned to save their happy announcement for Christmas Day when the royal family were all due to gather together to enjoy the festive period at Sandringham.
But on December 4 last year - exactly three weeks before they planned to reveal they were having a baby - the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's intense joy was tinged with fear as Kate was struck down with acute morning sickness.
Soon afterwards Kate was admitted to hospital and they had little choice but had to make the ‘reluctant and difficult’ decision to make the announcement.
Early days: Prince William leaves the King Edward VII hospital with his wife, where she had spent four days being treated for acute morning sickness at the start of her pregnancy last year
The couple initially had ‘no plans whatsoever’ to announce the pregnancy until after she had had her 12-week scan, MailOnline understood at the time.
The 31-year-old was suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) - a rare and severe form of morning sickness believed to affect up to two per cent of women in pregnancy.
It is understood that Kate was put on a drip as she struggled to remain hydrated.
Members of the Royal Family – including the Queen and grandfather-to-be Prince Charles – were informed less than an hour before the statement was put out at 4pm that day.
Uncle-to-be Prince Harry, who is serving in Afghanistan, was told by email at his base and the announcement was also Tweeted by Clarence House, prompting the couple’s official website to crash.
Attentive: The Duchess of Cambridge, pictured left at a reception in London in November, was rushed to the King Edward VII Hospital with acute morning sickness, and Prince William, right, stayed by her side
Tense: Prince William looked pale and tired after his wife fell ill suddenly on December 4 last year
It was believed that Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, became aware of their daughter’s news at the weekend, however.
She was staying with them in Berkshire when her condition deteriorated.
Shame: Nurse Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward VII hospital was found dead after she was duped by two Australian DJs
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) tends to be more common in young mothers, women who are in their first pregnancy, and those with multiple pregnancies.
Experts say it normally occurs during weeks six and eight of pregnancy, when the placenta takes over production of hormones from the ovaries.
Women with HG often lose weight - usually over 10 per cent of their body weight - and feel tired and dizzy.
At the time Kate looked particularly thin.
Victims may also find they are passing water less often than usual, and the main risk is dehydration which can lead to headache, palpitations and confusion.
After her release from hospital it was clear that the Duchess had been hit badly by the illness, which affects three in every one thousand pregnant women, and she was forced to rest quietly at their home in Kensington Palace for several more weeks.
As is usual, the illness appeared to have passed by 21 weeks of pregnancy, and Kate went on to be publicly active until the weeks before she went into labour.
The Duchess made a full recovery and continued with a light diary of public engagements until mid-June, setting the fashion world alight with her choice of elegant maternity outfits - ranging from Topshop dresses to bespoke Emelia Wickstead outfits.
The last time she was officially seen in public was at Trooping the Colour on June 15.
But her stay in hospital was marked with tragedy when a prank call made by Australian DJs Michael Christian and his co-host Mel Greig, who were working on Sydney's 2Day FM radio station, rang the hospital pretending to be Prince Charles and the Queen and were put through to the Duchess of Cambridge's ward at King Edward VII's Hospital.
Jacintha Saldanha, a night sister, was the senior nurse on duty when she took a call at 5.30am from Australian DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who were pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles.
She unwittingly transferred the call to a colleague, who described in detail the condition of Kate, who was being treated for severe morning sickness.
Mrs Saldanha later committed suicide.