The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge emerged on the steps of the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s hospital in London today, giving the world its first glimpse of the couple’s 1-day-old firstborn son, who is third in line to the British throne. The happy parents stood before a crowd of photographers and reporters, many of whom had booked their place in the pen weeks before.
“He’s got a good pair of lungs on him, that’s for sure,” said a thrilled-looking Prince William as a healthy-looking and smiling Kate stood by his side. Kate had emerged holding the baby but passed the boy to his father before the young family approached the journalists waiting across the road from the hospital entrance. “We’re still working on a name,” William said. He also commented on the baby’s hair: “He’s got way more than me, thank God.”
Members of the public had joined the journalists at the hospital since the early hours of Monday morning, when royal officials confirmed that the Duchess of Cambridge, formerly Kate Middleton, had gone into labor. After over a 14-hour wait on the hottest day in Britain this year, the news broke that the Duchess was delivered of a son, weighing in at a healthy 8 lb. 6 oz. (3.8 kg), at 4:24 p.m.
A cheer broke out from the crowd as the couple emerged. Ashley Miller, a homemaker from Virginia on vacation in London with her husband, was at the hospital to see the royal couple and their baby. “It was just amazing,” Miller said. “Kate’s a world icon. She’s an inspiration to all women. It was my dream to see Kate when we came here. It’s like a fairy tale that’s come true for Kate. We saw them in the car. They were both smiling, the baby was in the backseat. William was beaming ear to ear. To think their little boy will be the King of England one day.”
“I thought I’d be happy, but I got the shakes and got all emotional,” said Carlene Mareno, 30, an administrator from London. Mareno said she finds William and Kate hugely likeable. “They’re so normal, aren’t they? You can relate to them. It’s a new generation of royals.”
Annabel Cornfoot, a 37-year-old baby-record-book publisher living in London, had come to the hospital with her two young daughters to catch the first glimpse of the new family. “I think they will be good parents,” said Cornfoot, shortly before Kate, William and their baby appeared, but added that she felt bad for Kate. “I know from experience that sometimes the day after labor you can’t walk properly — it must be nerve-racking.”
After their appearance, Kate, William and the baby went back into the hospital. Soon after they emerged with the baby in a car seat. Kate got into the backseat while William opened the other door and put the car seat in place. Kate immediately leaned over to touch her son. They then drove off in a black Range Rover to their home in Kensington Palace in central London.
Earlier in the day the first visitors to the hospital were Kate’s parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, who arrived in a black London taxi and entered the hospital in the early afternoon smiling broadly but saying nothing to the waiting press. When they left Carole Middleton described the baby as “absolutely beautiful.”
William’s father Prince Charles arrived later with his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. After visiting his son and grandson — the first gathering of the three royal males who may all one day be King — Charles said the boy was “marvelous.”
Earlier, on a visit to Yorkshire, Charles was greeted by well-wishers with the words: ’Morning, granddad. The Prince did not give any indication of what his grandson might be called, but said he was “thrilled and very excited” and conceded that he had enjoyed “a little bit” of Champagne to mark the occasion. The Duchess of Cornwall added that she thought Charles would make a “brilliant” grandfather because “he’s brilliant with children.”
Messages of congratulations have been steadily pouring in from around the world — Prince Charles’ office has even set up a congratulatory e-card on Google+ that anyone can sign for the new royal parents.
The couple is believed to have drawn up a short list of possible names. According to British bookmakers, James has emerged as a clear favorite, followed by George and Henry. Some Twitter users joked in the morning that the child should be called Thor, because of the thunderstorms and lightning that swept across the evening before Kate went into labor. It could be quite some time before the name is known to the public; it took a week after his birth for the royal family to announce Prince William’s name, and a month for Prince Charles’ name to be made public.
— With reporting by Megan Gibson and Katie Harris