By SYLVIA HUI and JILL LAWLESS , Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — The “Great Kate Wait” entered its final stages Monday, as the Duchess of Cambridge was admitted to a London hospital in labor with a third child for her and Prince William.
The 36-year-old duchess and her husband traveled by car from their Kensington Palace home to the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in central London, royal officials said. The palace said Kate was in “the early stages of labor” with a child who will be fifth in line to the throne.
William and Kate married in 2011 and have two other children: Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, who turns 3 next week. Both were born at the same hospital, as were William and his younger brother Prince Harry.
The baby, whose gender hasn’t been announced, will be Queen Elizabeth II’s sixth great-grandchild and fifth in line to the throne, after grandfather Prince Charles, father Prince William and the two older siblings.
The new arrival will bump Prince Harry to sixth place in the line of succession.
The 36-year-old duchess, formerly Kate Middleton, carried out her last official engagement on March 22 before going on maternity leave.
As in her previous pregnancies, Kate suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness. Officials announced both her previous pregnancies before the traditional 12-week mark because she was too unwell to attend public engagements.
The birth is being overseen by consultant obstetrician Guy Thorpe-Beeston and consultant gynecologist Alan Farthing — who were also called in for the births of George and Charlotte — as well as the hospital’s midwives.
In a mix of royal tradition and modernity, the birth will be announced with a notice placed on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace — and on royal social media accounts.
Like the baby’s older siblings, the child’s full title will be Her (or His) Royal Highness, Princess (or Prince), followed by several given names.
Many are betting on a traditional royal name for the baby, with bookmakers saying Mary, Alice, Arthur and James are the most popular guesses. Monday is St. George’s Day, England’s national day, but the name is already taken by the baby’s big brother.
Television crews, journalists and royal fans have set up camp outside the hospital for the “royal baby watch” since early April in anticipation of the arrival.
John Loughrey, a veteran royal-watcher who has been camped outside the hospital for two weeks, said the baby would be “very good for our country and of course Her Majesty the queen.”
“I’m so pleased it’s St. George’s Day,” he said. “St. George himself would be very pleased if the baby’s born today.”