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Itís a boy! The royal babyís here

London, July 22 
Prince William's wife Kate Middleton today gave birth to a baby boy at a hospital here, as Britain raised a toast to the much-awaited arrival of its future monarch. 

The 31-year-old Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a baby boy this evening at 16.24 (local time), Kensington Palace confirmed. 

Prince of Cambridge, as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is to be known until being officially named, was born at the private Lindo wing at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, central London.

The royal couple's first child, who under new laws to succession will remain third in line to the throne, was born with the Duke of Cambridge present beside Kate as she delivered the baby. She was taken to the hospital in the early hours of this morning by car from the palace to St Mary's.

The couple did not know the sex of their first child, who is third in line to the throne after Prince Charles and Prince William. The world's Press has been camped outside St Mary's for days in anticipation of the birth.

The due date had never been officially announced but had widely been expected to be mid-July. Royal vehicles were seen at a back entrance to the hospital at about 6 am (local time) when Kate was brought to the hospital, with the announcement coming from Kensington Palace 90 minutes later.

The couple travelled to the hospital without a police escort, their spokesman said. The Duchess was tended by a top medical team led by the Queen's gynaecologist Marcus Setchell, who delivered the Countess of Wessex's two children. Alan Farthing, the Queen's current gynaecologist, assisted in the delivery.

There is a strong police presence around the hospital and two police officers are guarding the entrance to the private wing. 

There had been tremendous enthusiasm globally over the birth of the royal baby and the media frenzy outside the hospital has been unprecedented. Bored journalists had dubbed their vigil outside the hospital as "the Great Kate Wait".

Prince William has been with his wife on annual leave and will have two weeks' paternity leave from his job as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot. 

It is believed the next time the couple will be seen in public is when they appear on the steps of the hospital with their baby. ó PTI

The prince of CAMBRIDGE 

* The first child of Prince William and Kate (above) will be known as the Prince of Cambridge
* The infant will become third in line for the British throne after Prince Charles and William
* The baby was born at 4.24pm (local time) and weighs 8 pounds and 6 ounce

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