Prince George: how is royal baby celebrating first birthday?

Update, 8 September: Prince George is to have a royal sibling, Clarence House has confirmed, announcing that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting another child. Politicians from all parties lined up to celebrate the news of a second royal baby, while some commentators drew a link between the announcement and the impending referendum on Scottish independence. "All concerned will deny it utterly, of course, but an awful lot of people will look at this announcement and suspect it has been made with the intention of swaying the Scottish vote," says James Kirkup in the Daily Telegraph.

The perfect royal plot to foil Scottish independence

Prince George's birthday celebrations

22 July

Despite being third in line for the throne and receiving thousands of gifts since he was born, Prince George is celebrating his first birthday today with a "low-key tea party". Prince William and Kate Middleton are inviting friends and family to Kensington Palace to mark the occasion but have insisted that they don't want their son to be showered with gifts.

The Daily Telegraph says the plea appears to be "well justified" given that insiders say the prince has received 4,000 gifts since he was born, including three meerkats, a crocodile, two fattened bulls, a heifer and a goat.

Michael and Carole Middleton will attend the tea party today, along with Aunty Pippa and Uncle James. Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are in Scotland on official duties, but Buckingham Palace staff have not ruled out a visit from the Queen.

He started the festivities early by getting himself onto the cover of Vanity Fair's August edition, which raised some eyebrows by describing Prince George as an "eligible bachelor". Nevertheless, Today.com reports that he has already received a marriage proposal - from a 10-month-old Australian admirer who popped the question by printing it on a T-shirt.

An official portrait (above) of the young prince was released in advance of his birthday, showing the royal toddler walking confidently, arms aloft. It was described as "rather underwhelming" by the Independent, but the Daily Telegraph is impressed by the prince's "boisterous energy". The paper adds: "With his arms outstretched and his eyes fixed on where he is going, the prince strides along the ground looking every inch the confident toddler."

As the celebrate Prince George's birthday, we review a busy first year in the life of the young prince.

When was Prince George born?

The Duchess of Cambridge was admitted to hospital in the early hours of 22 July 2013 and George Alexander Louis, Prince George of Cambridge, came into the world at 4.24pm that day, in the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, with his father at the bedside. George weighed 8lb 6oz, according to the BBC. 

How is he doing now?

More recent figures on Prince George's weight have not been made public, but in April the Daily Telegraph reported that the Prince was expanding rapidly when he toured New Zealand and Australia with his parents. Visiting the Uluru rock, Kate told 17-year-old Shannon Hunt that George had grown an "extra fat roll" while away from home.

When was Prince George christened?

George Alexander Louis (he doesn't need a surname, but could use Mountbatten-Windsor, Wales or Cambridge) was christened at a low-key ceremony in St James's Palace, London, on 23 October last year. His first name surprised nobody – 'George' had long been the bookies' favourite, said the BBC. 

Who was Prince George named after?

The new prince is third in line to the throne and if he one day reigns, it will be as George VII. The significance of Alexander is not known but Louis is thought to be a tribute to Louis Mountbatten, Prince Philip's uncle, who was killed by the IRA in 1979.

Was George popular in New Zealand and Australia?

In a 1983 break with royal protocol, Princess Diana insisted her nine-month-old son, Prince William, go with her on a royal visit to Canada. Twenty-one years later, William's own son made a similar public overseas tour, this time to Australia and New Zealand. And, judging from the presents he received (not to mention the marriage proposal), George was the PR hit of the trip. The Telegraph published this list of gifts received by Prince George during the royal visit:

    What else has Prince George received?

    It's not just admiring members of the public who have showered the royal infant with gifts. According to The Sunday Times, Prince George has also received "a blue tricycle" from Boris Johnson, a "precious stone globe with a cross" from the Pope, a blanket from Barack Obama and a breakfast set from the prime minister of Malta.

    Finally, what sort of pyjamas does the young prince wear?

    Thanks to a royal walkabout in Crieff, we know that George has a pair of Spiderman pyjamas. However, his mother told local resident Lianne McNamara that George is too small to wear them just now, the Telegraph reported.

    More about Prince George:

    Prince George in pictures: New Zealand Prince George pictured walking at the polo Prince George christening: the official portraitPrince George christening: first pictures from St James Prince George's story so far? · 

    Prince George pictured at the polo walking for the first time

    16 June

    One month shy of his first birthday, Prince George has been showing off his walking and sporting skills at a charity polo match on Father's Day.

    With a little help from the Duchess of Cambridge, the third in line to the throne toddled along as his father Prince William and uncle Prince Harry took part in the annual Jerudong Trophy match at Cirencester Park Polo Club in Gloucestershire.

    The young prince even played with a soft football on the grass, prompting several UK newspapers to conclude that he should be playing in the World Cup.

    "Get him to Brazil!" cries The Sun. "Prince George is great dribbler... and good at dummies... and already plays at Palace."

    The Times believes it is "only a matter of time" before Prince George follows in the family tradition and is seen on a polo pony. "Prince George, who celebrates his first birthday on July 22, was on lively form," says the newspaper. "He wriggled incessantly in his mother's arms until she put him down, whereupon he immediately started to crawl away from her and into the path of a polo pony, when she swiftly picked him up again."

    The Daily Telegraph agrees that he looks like an "aspiring sportsman in the making" as he "keenly grabbed" at polo mallets lying on the ground.

    Prince William and Prince Harry are regular players at the Jerudong Trophy match, with the Duke last year leaving his heavily pregnant wife to play in the tournament.

    Prince William and the Queen have been found to be significantly more popular than the UK's best-known politicians, according to a recent poll of more than 2,000 people. The Duke is more popular than his grandmother, while Prince Charles trails 20 percentage points behind them both.

    Prince George in New Zealand on first tour abroad – pictures

    7 April 

    PRINCE GEORGE began his first royal overseas tour today, touching down in New Zealand with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

    The eight-month-old was welcomed by the country's prime minister, John Key, at the start of a three-week tour of Australasia. It was the future king's first official public appearance since his christening in October.

    "A lifetime of royal duty for Prince George began on the rain-soaked tarmac of Wellington Airport," says the Daily Telegraph, adding that the Prince looked "contented and fresh, if a little chilly with his bare legs".

    The royal party is believed to have been given the entire 14-berth first class cabin on board their Qantas Airbus A380 from Heathrow via Dubai, paid for by the New Zealand government. They then switched to a Royal New Zealand Air Force plane at Sydney to take them to Wellington.

    Prince William and Kate Middleton were taken for a ceremonial Maori welcome at Government House, the home of New Zealand's Governor-General.

    As part of the traditional Powhiri welcome ceremony, a Maori warrior approached Prince William carrying a fighting staff, before placing a dart at his feet. The Duke was then told to keep his eyes on the warrior and pick up the dart as a sign that he had come in peace.

    Other parts of the welcome ceremony included a nose-rubbing greeting (Prince William is pictured below with a Maori elder), a Maori haka and an inspection of the guard.

    Prince George christening: the official portrait

    25 October 2013

    Update, 25 October: The official portrait of the royal family after the christening of Prince George has been released. He sits at the centre with, from left to right, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Queen, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, the Duchess of Cambridge, Pippa Middleton, the Duke of Cambridge, James Middleton, Carole Middleton and Michael Middleton.

    PRINCE GEORGE’S cherubic cheeks graced the front pages of most newspapers this morning – although there was one notable exception.

    The Independent resisted the "Georgeous" royal baby, relegating news of his christening to a single sentence at the foot of page 27: “Prince George was christened yesterday in a private ceremony at St James’s Palace led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

    Every other national paper carried a picture of the young prince, wearing a replica of the lace gown worn by each royal baby since 1841. The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Daily Mirror all filled their front pages with the image.

    Outside the UK, the Telegraph notes, “interest was mixed”. France was “underwhelmed” and China unmoved, but Americans couldn’t get enough of the future king.

    “In the republic that celebrates its escape from the British monarchy every 4 July,” it reported, “America’s royalty-obsessed television networks covered the christening with their usual enthusiasm.”  

    Prince George christening: first pictures from St James

    PRINCE GEORGE was back in the limelight today as he was baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury using water from the River Jordan.

    Wearing a replica of a christening gown made in 1841 for Queen Victoria's first daughter, also called Victoria, the royal baby was oblivious to the media storm ignited by his arrival at St James Palace. It's likely he was also unappreciative of the hymns - Breathe on Me, Breath of God and Be Thou My Vision - sung in his honour in the palace's Chapel Royal.

    It is understood that Pippa Middleton and Prince Harry were both due to read lessons during the 45-minute service.

    Earlier, the names of Prince George's seven godparents were announced. They are Zara Tindall, Oliver Baker, Emilia Jardine-Paterson, Earl Grosvenor, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, Julia Samuel and William van Cutsem.

    Tindall, wife of former England rugby international Mike Tindall, is Prince William's cousin.

    While much of today's service was steeped in tradition, the royal couple's choice of photographer was decidedly contemporary. The man taking the snaps was Oxford-educated Jason Bell, 44, best-known for his pictures of rock stars, actors and other celebrities.

    More controversially, he has spoken in the past of taking cocaine, reports the Daily Express.

    Royal baby: Prince George to be christened tomorrow 23/10/13

    AS THE DUKE and Duchess of Cambridge prepare to have their son Prince George baptised, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that there will be "tough times" ahead.

    The third in line to the throne will be christened in the Chapel Royal of St James's Palace at 3pm tomorrow in a 45-minute ceremony. Justin Welby, who will baptise the prince, said it will be an "extraordinary" moment in history but was keen to stress that "all babies are unbelievably special, not only royal babies".

    In a video message recorded at Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop said he was sure that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have had "so much advice that they could probably fill a house with it".

    But he added: "My message to them would be, what a treat, what an amazing gift, what wonderful times that you will have. There will be great times and tough times, as there always are with children."

    Despite both Prince William and his father Prince Charles being christened in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace, the Duke and Duchess have chosen the Chapel Royal, where Princess Diana lay at rest before her funeral in 1997. The chapel was also where the Duchess of Cambridge was confirmed into the Anglican church before the royal wedding two years ago.

    The ceremony will be attended only by close friends and family, including Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Middletons, the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Harry.

    Prince George is expected to wear a replica of the 1841 Honiton lace and satin christening gown that was first worn by Queen Victoria's children.

    He is expected to have six godparents, including Fergus Boyd, a university friend of the Duke and Duchess; Hugh van Cutsem, whose daughter Grace was a bridesmaid at the royal wedding; and Emilia D'Erlanger, Kate's childhood friend.

    Royal baby: Prince George's story so far 06/09/13

    KATE MIDDLETON had the perfect natural birth she was hoping for when Prince George was born on 22 July, according to Vanity Fair magazine.

    "She spoke to some of her best girlfriends after the birth and described the birth as perfect," a source told VF. "She said it was straightforward and there were no complications. She wanted a natural birth and she was so happy she was able to have one."

    According to an old family friend of the Middletons, George Brown, this came as no surprise. "She was fit and competent from the word go. She seemed to take to motherhood amazingly well, and when I went round to see her, she was happily breastfeeding and seemed to know exactly what she was doing."

    Brown said Kate's experience with George mirrored her mother Carol Middleton's with her 31 years previously. "Catherine was a lovely little baby, cherubic and chubby-cheeked and so good. I remember she didn't cry much at all. I think that was probably because Carole was so relaxed."

    The VF article also reveals that Kate had her hairdresser, Amanda Cook Tucker, on standby for the entire month of July. When Tucker was finally needed, she also brought to the hospital a selection of dresses for Kate to choose from for her first post-baby appearance.

    "She chose the pale blue spotted Jenny Packham dress that afternoon because her tummy was still very rounded and she decided there was no point trying to hide her bump, so she went for a flattering dress that showed off her curves," a source said.

    Despite the ease of her birth, the Duchess is reported to have been very emotional as she prepared to leave hospital and "incredibly nervous" about posing for photographs.

    Kate's first formal outing with George will be to his christening at Buckingham Palace by the Archbishop of Canterbury in October or November, the Daily Mail reports. "In accordance with tradition", George will have six godparents and they are are likely to include his aunt, Pippa Middleton, and uncle, Prince Harry.

    William and Kate pay tribute to Diana with visit to sister

    PRINCE WILLIAM and Kate Middleton marked the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death by taking Prince George to meet his great aunt, Lady Sarah McCorquodale. William is reportedly very close to his mother’s sister, who dated Prince Charles before Diana and acted as her informal lady-in-waiting.

    The royal couple were seen getting on a helicopter close to the farm in Stoke Rochford where Lady McCorquodale lives, according to the Daily Express.

    • Pippa Middleton reveals crush on 'undeniably fanciable' master

    Prince William has done his best to stay in touch with his Spencer relatives in the sixteen years since his mother died in a car crash in Paris.

    The prince, who was just 15 when she died, has rarely spoken about his mother’s death in public. However, in 2009 he recalled his grief while launching a campaign to raise awareness of child bereavement. "Never being able to say the word Mummy again in your life sounds like a small thing. However, for many, including me, it is now really just a word - hollow and evoking only memories," he wrote in the Daily Mail.

    He added: “Initially, there is a sense of profound shock and disbelief that this could ever happen to you. Real grief often does not hit home until much later. For many it is a grief never entirely lost.

    “Life is altered as you know it, and not a day goes past without you thinking about the one you have lost.”

    Prince William and his brother Prince Harry were on holiday at Balmoral with the royal family on 31 August 31 1997 when Princess Diana was seriously injured in a car accident alongside her boyfriend Dodi Fayed.

    Both princes have refused to discuss an ongoing police assessment of claims that the SAS was somehow responsible for the crash that killed her.

    Prince George photos: Kate's father turns royal snapper 20/08/13

    PICTURES of the royal baby taken by Kate Middleton's father using a "humble point-and-shoot" camera have been given the thumbs-up by a professional snapper.

    In a break with tradition, Kensington Palace has released a series of informal pictures of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George taken by Michael Middleton. The pictures were taken in the garden of the Middleton's home in Bucklebury, Berkshire and feature cameos by the family's dogs Lupo and Tilly.

    Commentators said the relaxed pictures are a refreshing change from more formal royal baby portraits taken down the years by such luminaries including Cecil Beaton, Lord Snowdon and Lord Lichfield.

    Celebrity photographer Brian Aris told the Daily Mail that the shots were a reflection of Prince William's conception of a modern monarchy.   "The decision to take them in such an informal manner means they, perhaps, lack the level of gravitas that would normally be expected," said Aris. "But on the whole I would say this is quite refreshing."

    Prince William: Royal baby George is a 'rascal' - video 19/08/2013

    PRINCE WILLIAM has described his new son as "a bit of a rascal" in his first interview since the birth of Prince George on 22 July.

    Speaking to CNN, the Duke of Cambridge said he and the Duchess were enjoying being parents even though the new arrival did not “want to go to sleep that much”.

    William revealed that he had changed George’s first nappy and had practised attaching a baby seat before he performed the often tricky feat in front of the world’s press outside St Mary’s hospital in London.

    Kate and Prince William leave Anglesey – where to next?

    15/08/2013

    THE DUKE and Duchess of Cambridge are leaving their home in Anglesey next month and are expected to start a new life in London.

    Eager to spend more time with his family, Prince William is giving up his job as an RAF search and rescue pilot in North Wales.

    According to the Evening Standard, William and Kate will initially spend more time at Kensington Palace, where they have the two-bedroom Nottingham Cottage.

    They are tipped to move into Apartment 1a at the palace, a lavish 19-room suite that is currently being refurbished.

    Prince William announced their departure yesterday at an agricultural show on Anglesey, where he assured locals that he and his “young family” would return.

    “I know that I speak for Catherine when I say that I have never in my life known somewhere as beautiful and as welcoming as Anglesey,” he said.

    “I know that both of us will miss it terribly when my tour of duty comes to an end next month and we have to move elsewhere. This island has been our first home together, and it will always be an immensely special place for us.”

    It was one of William’s first public engagements since he became a father to Prince George three weeks ago. He spent an hour talking to visitors at the show and told one woman that he hoped George “will sleep through the night soon”.

    It is not yet known whether William will serve in another capacity within the RAF or the armed forces. Several sources have suggested he will return for a posting with his regiment, the Household Cavalry’s Blues and Royals, based at Hyde Park barracks in Knightsbridge.

    The prince has said that he wants to be a “hands on” father and will not take a job that requires him to be away from Kate and George, who are currently staying with Kate’s family in Bucklebury, Berkshire.

    Royal baby gifts: what party leaders gave Prince George

     02/08/2013

    WHAT do you get for the royal baby who has everything? Party leaders David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband have all revealed the gifts they sent after the arrival of William and Kate’s son, Prince George.

    Clegg got the ball rolling after being pressed about it on LBC. He told listeners he had sent a pack of coffee to help the new parents cope with fatigue and an embroidered cot blanket made by Spanish nuns, which he bought on holiday in Spain last month.

    Miliband and Cameron soon followed suit, the Daily Telegraph reports. The Prime Minister and his wife chose a selection of books by children’s author Roald Dahl.

    Labour leader Miliband sent a three-year-old apple tree, from London orchard project BEST – a traditional gift for a first born son.

    Meanwhile, the Duke of Duchess of Cambrdige today formally registered the birth of Prince George.

    It’s a birth certificate like no other, with the parents listing their occupations as – respectively - Prince and Princess of the United Kingdom. Their “usual address” is Kensington Palace, London.

    Unlike other couples, there was no trip to the registry office. Westminster City Council’s superintendent Registrar Alison Cathcart travelled to Kensington Palace so Prince William could sign and fill in the birth register entry for his young son, the Daily Mirror notes.

    On the certificate itself, Prince George’s full name is listed as His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge. His parents’ full titles are given as Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine Elizabeth, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge.

    "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have formally registered the birth of Prince George”, a royal spokesperson said. "The Duke of Cambridge signed the birth register at Kensington Palace this morning, witnessed by a Registrar from Westminster Register Office."

    Royal baby snippet: will Prince George be circumcised?

     31/07/2013

    WILL they or won’t they? It used to be the “done thing” in royal circles to circumcise newborn boys. But it is generally accepted that the practice came to an end with the births of princes William and Harry in the 1980s and that baby George will escape the knife.

    As the Daily Beast notes, the majority of aristocratic families in Britain stopped circumcising their sons in the 1970s. And although it used to be as common a thing to do in the first week of a baby boy’s life as hiring a nurse and putting it down for Eton, times have changed and so has the royal family.

    According to her biographers, Princess Diana refused to allow William and Harry to be circumcised. And the fact that Kate is being modern enough to refuse a nanny in the short-term at least suggests she will not fpall back on tradition.

    But we don’t know for sure. The Daily Telegraph reports that “understandably, Clarence House will not comment on such a private and delicate matter”.

    Meanwhile proud grandfather Prince Charles said yesterday the baby prince “will be known as Georgie in no time” – a moniker the Daily Beast suggested would be necessary since “Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge is a bit of a mouthful”.   Speaking during a visit to the Whitstable Oyster Festival with Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, Charles said he was as “pleased as punch” with his “wonderful” first grandchild.

    William and Kate, who are currently staying with the Middleton family in Buckinghamshire, are getting ready to move into a new country house provided by the Queen on her Sandringham estate in Norfolk. It is thought the Queen paid the current tenant of Anmer Hall a “generous settlement” to vacate the ten-bedroom property as soon as possible.

      Royal baby: George gets his own crocodile to play with

       26/07/2013

      WHAT do you give the royal prince who’s got everything? Australia's Northern Territory has come up with a suitably Antipodean answer: a baby crocodile.

      The five-month old reptile – named George, naturally – already sports a fine set of fangs and weighs a healthy 410 grams. Measuring 51cm from nose to tail he looks adorable, although he may become a less suitable playmate if he emulates the largest members of his species and grows into a one-tonne, 20ft monster.

      Luckily for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the croc isn’t being dispatched to Kensington Palace. He will be kept at Crocosaurus Cove in the NT's capital city, Darwin. The animal park is renowned for its Cage of Death, where visitors are submerged in a glass cage into a pool of crocodiles, reports the Courier Mail.

      Announcing the gift yesterday, the NT’s chief minister Adam Giles said he was hoping Prince George would visit his namesake in the near future.   George the crocodile will be in good company. He will share an enclosure with crocodiles William and Kate, who were named when the prince’s parents announced their engagement.

      And he may well outlive the baby prince. Crocodiles in captivity can live for more than a century.

      Royal baby: Kate and William have 41 days to think of a name

      - 24/07/2013

      WILL it be George or James? Now that the world has got its first glimpse of the royal baby, the vexed issue of its name is obsessing the media.

      The Daily Telegraph points out that the royal family like to take their time when it comes to naming their offspring and “such delays have almost become part of royal tradition”.

      The Daily Mirror points out that the royal couple can’t leave their son without a name too long. Its birth and name will need to be registered, in person, with Westminster register office in the next 41 days.

      The world finally got a glimpse of Britain's future king yesterday evening when Kate Middleton and Prince William walked through the doors of the Lindo Wing of St Mary's hospital cradling their baby boy.

      After weeks of anticipation, the royal couple finally appeared in front of the world's media at 7.10pm. Kate Middleton, wearing a pale blue dress, cradled her new baby as the white blanket in which it was swaddled was lit up by hundreds of flashlight. As if on cue, the baby raised its arms obligingly as its proud father described the birth as "very emotional, very special."

      "He's a big boy and he's got a good set of lungs that's for sure," Prince William said. "He's got his mother's looks luckily."

      Royal baby: first picture of Kate Middleton and Prince William's child

       23/07/2013

      THE world finally got a glimpse of Britain's future king this afternoon when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge walked through the doors of the Lindo Wing of St Mary's hospital cradling their as-yet-unnamed baby boy.

      Kate Middleton, wearing a pale blue dress, cradled her new baby as the white blanket in which it was swaddled was lit up by hundreds of flashlight. "He's a big boy and he's got a good set of lungs that's for sure," Prince William said. Asked if he and his wife had chosen a name for the third in line to the throne, Prince William laughed and said, "we're still working on a name".

      The Duchess passed her baby to his father as the royal couple walked to the black Range Rover that took them to Kensington Palace where they will spend the next few weeks.

      Earlier today, the baby had been visited by Middleton's parents, Michael and Carole, who described their grandson as "absolutely beautiful". The Middletons were followed into the Lindo Wing by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. As she emerged, the Duchess described the birth as "wonderful news" and an "uplifting moment for the country".

      The royal birth was marked in London today by a 41-gun salute. The blanks were fired by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the Honourable Artillery Company at 2pm in Green Park, adjacent to Buckingham Palace.

      There was more clamour in the capital after the bells of Westminster Abbey rang for three hours this afternoon. Three of the team of ten ringers carried out the same duty when the Duke was born in 1982.

      Messages of congratulation are still flooding in for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. But while world leaders and celebrities have been sending their best wishes to the couple, the British press has gone into something close to meltdown.

      The Sun even changed its name to honour the new arrival, rebranding for one day only as The Son. The Daily Mail devoted 20 pages to the birth, and The Times put out a souvenir edition, featuring a wraparound image of William and Kate with the first 12 pages dedicated to news of the royal baby.

      Even The Guardian, which had been offering a royal-free front page on its website, led with the headline: "A birth, a boy, a prince, a king". Only the steadfastly non-royalist Independent leads on other news, reporting on David Cameron's crusade against pornography.

      But even Cameron seemed more concerned with the royal baby. He emerged from Downing Street last night to rejoice at the "wonderful news".

      "It is an important moment in the life of our nation, but I suppose above all it is an important moment for a warm and loving couple who have got a brand new baby boy," he added.

      Other political and religious leaders also offered their congratulations, although the comment from London Mayor Boris Johnson was unusually abrupt. "Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their new arrival," was all he said.

      Australian PM Kevin Rudd referred to the child as the "royal bub" and described Monday as "a day of great joy".

      Stephen Harper, the Canadian PM, was rather less off-hand. He said the birth was a "highly-anticipated moment for Canadians given the special and warm relationship that we share with our Royal Family".

      US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle wished William and Kate "all the happiness and blessings parenthood brings".

      Striking an optimistic note he added: "The child enters the world at a time of promise and opportunity for our two nations."

      Kate Middleton gives birth to a baby boy 

      22/07/2013

      THE Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a baby boy weighing eight pounds, six ounces, the palace has confirmed.

      After weeks of anticipation and fevered speculation about the sex of the third in line to the throne, a press release confirmed that the baby boy was born at St Mary's hospital in London at 4.24pm. Both mother and baby are doing well, but will stay at the hospital overnight accompanied by Prince William.

      The news triggered a deluge of congratulations lead by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh who are said to be "delighted" by the birth of their great grandson. Prince Charles said he was "enormously proud and happy to be a grandfather for the first time". 

      The birth of the first royal baby to be born in the age of Social Media was announced via the palace's Twitter and Facebook accounts. Shortly afterwards, it was confirmed in the rather more traditional manner: a proclamation placed on a wooden easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace. 

      CNN royal correspondant Max Foster said the baby's name may be announced when the family leaves the hospital. But others believe it may be at least a week before the baby boy's name is confirmed.

      Confirmation of the birth sent TV reporters waiting outside the hospital in Paddington into a frenzy. Just hours earlier they had been desperately “filling” as their anchors, in television studios from London to Los Angeles to Sydney, pressed them for information that did not exist. The winner of the Most Desperate Comment award went to Kay Burley at Sky News.

      "Paul, you just had a call on your mobile,” she said to her reporter on the spot, Paul Harrison. “Was it a tip-off?"

      Harrison: "No, it was PPI."

      Burley is also nominated in the Most Inappropriate Comment category: "I asked how many centimetres… but they said it's not the kind of info they give out."

      The media had been on red alert since 6 am this morning when the Duchess of Cambridge was admitted to St Mary’s in “the early stages of labour”, according to Kensington Palace officials. She and her husband, Prince William, slipped into the building through a discreet side entrance - the same one used by Princess Diana when she gave birth.

      The news that Kate was safely inside the hospital’s exclusive Lindo wing – where a normal “delivery package” including a one-night stay costs £4,965 – came as a relief to the large contingent of reporters, photographers and cameramen who have been camped outside the hospital for days.

      Starved of any real news, besides the bookies’ odds on possible names, they could at least report this morning that the pregnancy was now “progressing as normal”.

      Having said that, however, there was nothing more to add. Hence the Burley-burble and a BBC staffer saying at at one stage today: "The news is there is no news”

      The royal couple travelled from Kensington Palace to the hospital without a police escort. Prince William, who is on leave from his job as an RAF helicopter pilot, will take two weeks' paternity leave.

      “It is believed the next time the couple appear in public will be on the steps of the hospital with their baby,” the BBC said.

      The baby will be the Queen's third great-grandchild. It will be expected to succeed to the throne after reigns by Princes Charles and William.

      Kate Middleton due date: how did media get day so wrong? 

      19/07/2013

      AS THE WORLD’S media swelter outside St Mary's Hospital during London's most severe heatwave for a decade, it seems the reporters and TV crews awaiting the arrival of the royal baby may have spent much of the last fortnight camping out under false pretences.

      It has been generally accepted since early May that the baby was due on 13 July – because the Mail on Sunday newspaper stated that Kate Middleton had been given this as an “official due date” and that friends of the royal couple had been heard discussing the date at a barbecue.

      No one at Kensington Palace ever confirmed the due date – but nor did they categorically deny it.   According to the Daily Telegraph, the actual due date is today, 19 July, not the 13th. The paper notes that the Palace has only ever said the baby was due in “mid-July” and it quotes a source saying: "A small number of staff at St Mary's who might be called upon when the Duchess gives birth were told they had to remain teetotal for a month before the Duchess's due date. They were told the due date was July 19, meaning they couldn’t drink from June 19 onwards."   The paper adds: "A later due date would tie in with the fact that the Duchess has spent this week at her parents' home in Bucklebury... and the Duke of Cambridge's decision to play polo last Saturday and Sunday.” It also notes that Pippa Middleton spent last weekend in Vienna.   The Daily Beast's Royalist blog produces further evidence that the 13 July date was a bum steer. Sunday Telegraph diarist Richard Eden was told that Kate's mother Carole Middleton believes the baby will be a Leo, meaning that it won't be born until July 24 at the earliest.   Meanwhile, bored journalists continue to wait outside St Mary’s, unsure whether they are even at the right hospital, thanks to yesterday’s claim that the Royal Berkshire Hospital could be the venue if Kate is out of town when the moment comes.

      Some media personnel have resorted to mugging for the webcams. Valentine Low of The Times recreated the video for Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues outside the Lindo Wing and found himself mobbed by camera crews from Sky, the BBC, CNN and Polish television.

      Royal baby: Are the media waiting for Kate at the wrong hospital?

       18/07/2013

      THE phalanx of reporters and photographers awaiting the birth of the royal baby may have descended on the wrong hospital, the Daily Telegraph says.

      While Kate Middleton still intends to have her baby in a private wing at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, the paper says there is a "contingency plan" to have the baby delivered at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. The plan would be put into action if the Duchess of Cambridge goes into labour while staying at her parents' home in Bucklebury less than half an hour's drive away.

      By contrast, St Mary's, where journalists have been camped out for several weeks, is 53 miles from the Middleton family home.

      If the Duchess does give birth in Reading she is likely to spend her first night with her baby on a public ward shared with other mothers, as the hospital does not have a private maternity wing, the Daily Telegraph says. It also means she would have her baby on the NHS although the Queen's former gynaecologist, Marcus Setchell, and her current gynaecologist, Alan Farthing, would be allowed to supervise the delivery.

      As rumoured due dates for the royal baby come and go, no one – not even the royal family – seems to be sure when the third in line to the throne will be born.

      Like the rest of the country, the Queen rather hopes the stork will get a move on. During a royal walkabout in Cumbria yesterday she was asked by a little girl in the crowd whether she was hoping for a boy or a girl.  "I don't think I mind," the monarch replied. "But I would very much like it to arrive because I'm going on holiday soon!"

      The Daily Telegraph says that gives the Duchess a further eight days to produce her royal baby. The Queen heads to Balmoral for her annual summer break at the end of next week.

      Kate Middleton baby not wildly exciting, says Queen’s cousin 

      17/07/2013

      WHEN CNN landed an interview with the Queen's cousin about the impending royal birth, it was expecting to find a woman "breathless with anticipation", says the Daily Telegraph.

      Instead, Mary Rhodes, 88, gave the network's star correspondent Christiane Amanpour a masterclass in British stiff upper lip.

      Asked about the birth of the Duchess of Cambridge's first child – an event that is captivating all of London, Amanpour claimed – Rhodes pointed out bluntly that "everybody has babies".

      But surely, Amanpour insisted, she was excited about the birth?

      "It's lovely, but I don't get wildly excited about it," said Rhodes.

      While The Sun, for instance, is live-streaming the view from outside St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, where Kate is due to give birth, the octogenarian was displaying the kind of "sangfroid" that has made her a lifelong friend and confidante of the Queen, the Telegraph says. The two women grew up together and Rhodes lives in a cottage in the grounds of Windsor Castle given to her by the monarch.

      Pressed by Amanpour, Rhodes did have some advice for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. She advised them that their baby's childhood should be "sacrosanct" and properly protected from the grandeur of royal life.

      Rhodes said she hopes the baby's early life and teenage years will be "just a jolly, happy, ordinary child's life".

      Meanwhile, the Duchess's due date continues to be the subject of intense speculation. The initial date, 13 July, has come and gone and the second rumoured date, today, seems highly unlikely to be correct.

      Now NBC is suggesting the royal stork won't arrive until the middle of next week. NBC presenter Mandy Clark says the Duchess's mother has "told friends" that the baby will be a Leo, a star sign that does not begin until July 23.

      Meanwhile, William Hill are offering 250/1 on David Beckham being named as a godparent to the royal baby. Given that the footballer is a friend of the royal couple, says the bookmaker, it is “not completely out of the realms of possibility”.

      The wait continues.

      Kate Middleton could have royal baby this week, hints Camilla 

      16/07/2013

      KATE MIDDLETON’s due date has been and gone but the royal family are hoping for their new arrival to be born “by the end of the week”.

      That’s according to Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, who gave the strongest hint yet that the baby is imminent, telling ITV News yesterday: "We're all waiting at the end of a telephone. I hope by the end of the week he or she will be there."

      Speaking during a visit to the Little Harbour Children's Hospital near Cornwall, Camilla also hinted to guests that the royals share the excitement of the world’s media over the impending arrival.

      William was playing polo at the weekend – a clear signal that the baby wasn’t immediately due because he has promised to attend the birth.  But he is now taking a few days off from his work as an RAF Search and Rescue pilot in north Wales, the Daily Mail reports, suggesting Camilla iis on the right track.

      It is understood William and his wife are staying at their home in Kensington Palace, which is just a short drive from St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, where Kate is planning to have a natural birth.

      As the media awaits the baby’s arrival, bookmakers William Hill are already offering odds on any future children the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge might have. “We expect there to be just as much [interest] when/if Kate and Wills decide to have baby number two,” a spokesperson said. “And we expect we won’t have too long to wait.”

      The heavy betting is on this royal baby being a girl, named either Charlotte or Elizabeth. The name Alexandra, last week’s favourite, is now slipping in popularity. If Kate gives birth to a boy, George is the top name, closely followed by James.

      The Daily Mirror has published 96 royal baby name ideas based on what punters have put money on – including Chardonnay (250/1), Psy (5000/1), Arsene (500/1) and Tulisa (500/1)

      Royal baby due date: Kate’s ‘shabby chic’ delivery suite 

      12/07/2013

      AS THE WORLD waits for the royal baby’s arrival, one woman who has used the private obstetrics facility where Kate is due to give birth says it’s more shabby chic than five-star hotel, despite the high cost.

      • Waiting for Kate’s baby – in pictures

      Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Anna Maxted, who gave birth to all three of her children in the Lindo wing of St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, said the £10,000-per-visit cost was worth it, despite the less-than-glamorous outlook.

      “My large room, best described as shabby chic, looked on to a brick wall. It was forensically clean, but basic, despite the TV and en-suite (although the unit has since undergone refurbishment)”, she writes.

      “We were paying for personal, consistent, consultant-led, exquisite care; unparalleled medical expertise - i.e., peace of mind. We got it.”

      But while Kate Middleton’s official due date of 13 July is imminent, it’s still not clear how close she is to giving birth.

      Speaking yesterday, the Duchess of Cornwall said she and Prince Charles were “very excited” and “immensely looking forward to” the royal birth. But, says The Times, Kate “was nowhere near going into labour”.

      Camilla and Charles aren’t the only ones excited about the impending royal birth. Bookies William Hill said today that betting on the baby’s name, gender and delivery time had reached record levels – with most punters backing it to be born this weekend.

      The Daily Telegraph has published a royal baby sweepstake, while the Washington Post has developed a royal baby name generator. The Daily Mirror, meanwhile, has published 96 royal baby name ideas based on what punters have put money on at the bookies – including Chardonnay (250/1), Psy (5000/1), Arsene (500/1) and Tulisa (500/1).

      The heavy betting suggests the royal baby will be a girl, with Alexandra, Charlotte, Elizabeth and Victoria currently the top favourite names.

      Levels of expectation have reached “fever pitch” according to William Hill. “There is more media outside the hospital than ever, rumours keep circulating on social media,” said a spokesman. “There is every possibility that the newest member of the royal family could arrive this weekend.”

      Royal baby due date: media on Kate Middleton watch

       11/07/2013

      THE WORLD’S media have set up camp outside the west London hospital where Kate Middleton is due to have her first baby. The due date is 13 July and photographers and cameramen have been staking out their spots opposite the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington for ten days.

      • Waiting for Kate’s baby – in pictures

      The pavement opposite the entrance to the Lindo Wing entrance - where the royal baby’s father, Prince William, was born in 1982 - is now a sea of step-ladders from which photographers will attempt to capture pictures of royal arrivals and departures over the heads of the competition. Some websites are already offering a live stream of the hospital’s walls ahead of the birth.

      Inside, Kate will be well looked after, according to The Sun, which reports that a one-night stay in the unit costs £6,265, plus £2,200 for each extra night. Every room comes with satellite TV, wi-fi, radio and a “comprehensive wine list”. Fresh flowers are delivered everyday and blackout curtains ensure the royal couple has complete privacy.

      The heavy betting at bookmakers is on the baby being a girl, with Alexandra, Elizabeth and Charlotte currently the top three favourite names.   After the birth, Prince William plans to take two weeks’ paternity leave to spend time with his new child. Countering rumours that he could be playing polo when Kate gives birth, historian Anna Whitelock tells euronews that William is part of a new generation of royal fathers.

      “Prince Charles was there at the birth of William and Harry, but before that the royal father would be elsewhere.

      “Prince Philip was playing squash when Prince Charles was born, so it wasn’t something that the fathers got involved with. But I think we’ve seen already that Kate and William are very much a modern couple and, in a way, their preparations for the birth will be similar to [those of] other such couples.”

      Royal baby due date: could Kate give birth on Thursday?

       10/07/2013

      AS THE BIRTH of Kate Middleton’s baby draws closer, the bookies are claiming that the smart money is on a royal birth tomorrow, 11 July, rather than the official due date of 13 July.

      And a late rush of bets says Britain is expecting a girl who will be called Alexandra.

      The baby is due to be delivered at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, west London, where Prince William was born.

      “We have seen a flurry of activity in the last couple of days, the majority of which is for the baby to be born on Thursday this week,” a spokesman for William Hill said.

      The same bookmaker reports a surge of bets on the baby being a girl called Alexandra: “We have had punters desperate to back Alexandra today, which has been gambled on before.”

      Other favourite names for a girl are Charlotte and Diana. If it’s a boy, the favourite names are Harold and George.

      Intriguingly, the Daily Telegraph reports that Ladbrokes has seen a last-minute surge on bets on James, the name of Kate Middleton’s younger brother, with the odds narrowing from 20/1 to 6/1.

      The BBC is on royal baby watch, asking punters to place their bets on the royal baby’s name, despite the fact that no one can be sure of its gender.

      Depending on whether it’s a boy or a girl, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first child will hold the official title of His Royal Highness Prince of Cambridge, or Her Royal Highness Princess of Cambridge. Any other children the couple have will be known by the same title. Prince William was given the Dukedom of Cambridge by the Queen on his wedding day in 2011.

      As the Daily Mail notes, Kate and William are not the first members of the royal family to hold the Cambridge titles. In 1850 King George III’s son Prince Adolphus and his wife Princess Augusta were known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children took the titles Prince and Princess of Cambridge.

      Kate’s baby is due any day but hospital choice splits nation 

      05/07/2013

      KATE MIDDLETON’S plan to give birth in a private hospital ward has divided Britons, a new poll has found.

      As the NHS celebrates its 65th anniversary, more than a third of those questioned by the think tank British Future, said they believe it will be a “powerful symbol” if the royal baby is “a child of the NHS”, reports the Daily Express.  The ICM poll found 25-34 year olds strongly believed that the royal baby should be born on an NHS ward, with 45 per cent in favour compared to 32 per cent against.

      However 43 per cent of overall respondents said they supported Kate’s decision to give birth in a private hospital. The Duchess of Cambridge, 31, is due to give birth to her first child this month in the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, in west London.

      "Most people understand and respect that the decision is for her and William to make,” said Sunder Katwala, the director of British Future. “It was interesting that their contemporaries, the 25 to 34-year olds, who are perhaps thinking of starting families themselves, were keenest on the future monarch being a child of the NHS."

      On Twitter, opinion was also divided with some questioning if the NHS was "not good enough for the royals". One user suggested "How about Kate Middleton gives birth in an NHS hospital like any normal person and gives the £5,000+ saved to people who really need it."

      Royal Baby due date

      Meanwhile, speculation has increased about the royal baby’s due date. According to bookies William Hill, the majority of punters believe the royal baby will arrive sooner rather than later  – with the 6th, 7th and 8th of July joint 10/1 favourites as the birth date despite reports the baby is due on 13 July. 

      “Overnight there has been a surge of support for the imminent arrival of the royal baby and we have been forced to cut the price of the announcement being in the next few days,” a William Hill spokesman said.

      More than £80,000 has already been bet on the name, age and even hair colour of the unborn child. The bookies expect that figure to pass £100,000 by Sunday evening. 

      Reuters notes the flurry of bets is due to speculation that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have followed in the footsteps of Princess Diana by fudging the due date to shake off the world’s media.

      Princess Diana announced that William was due on 1 July, 1982, but he was actually born 10 days earlier. Prince William and Kate’s first child is expected between 11-13 July but, as The Independent notes, Buckingham Palace has never confirmed the date. When the couple flew by helicopter from their home in north Wales to Buckinghamshire, on the outskirts of London, recently, the early baby rumours went into overdrive.

      The Duchess of Cambridge is certainly planning on following in the footsteps of Princess Diana in one respect – she intends to give birth in the same hospital where Prince William was born. Kate plans a natural delivery in the private Lindo wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London.  Photographers yesterday set up camp outside the hospital in case of an early delivery.

      Royal baby betting

      Bets on the royal baby are expected to outstrip those for the couple’s wedding in 2011 – and punters can bet on name, sex, weight and hair colour.

      Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes told AFP: "We thought the royal wedding last year was the biggest royal betting event but the royal baby will be bigger.” William Hill, spokesperson Joe Crilly added that it was a “global market”.

      "British people love the royal family and so do people around the world”, he said

      Kate makes final public appearance

      24/06/2013

      PREGNANT Kate Middleton made her final public appearance last week and now all eyes are on the royals as they prepare for their new arrival.

      ABC News reports the Duchess of Cambridge has prepared two nurseries for the baby, which is reportedly due between 11-13 July. The first is at her parent’s million-pound estate in Bucklebury, England, where she plans to stay with the baby after giving birth. The second is at her and William’s residence in Kensington Palace.

      Royal commentator Victoria Williams predicted Kate will go for “classic” and “elegant” designs for the nurseries, adding: “She does like a bargain, we know that she’s haggled for antique things in markets. We know that she visits outlet stores.”

      Aside from decorating, the couple have also been planning the birth. According to the Daily Mirror, Kate will follow in the footsteps of Princess Diana by giving birth in the same hospital where Prince William was born. She plans a natural delivery in the private Lindo wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London. But given that a royal spokesperson has insisted William and Kate “do not know and do not plan to find out the gender of the baby in advance” of the birth, it might be harder for the couple to plan their child’s name.

      Once Kate has given birth and both families have been told, an official will come out of the hospital with a piece of paper. This piece of paper will then be driven – with a police escort – to Buckingham Palace where the announcement will be positioned on an easel in the forecourt for well-wishers to see, as per royal tradition. 

      As the BBC’s royal correspondent Peter Hunt explains, the birth will be a very personal moment in the lives of both William and Kate, but one played out on a very public stage.

      “The unborn child offers an ancient institution the prospect of a future stretching into another generation. William, like his father, plans to be by his wife's side. Prince Philip was playing squash when his eldest son came into the world", he writes. 

      “And although Kate has joined a family steeped in history, she will be spared some past customs. The practice of the home secretary being present at a royal birth ended in 1936.”

      Prince William will take two weeks’ paternity leave.

      Kate Middleton nose job: it's what New York women want 

      15/03/2013

      KATE MIDDLETON is the perfect model for New York women seeking a nose job. So much so that Manhattan plastic surgeon Stephen Greenberg has 20 patients scheduled to get "royal rhinoplasty" over the next month – at a cost of $7,000 each.

      One of those waiting for surgery, secretary Johanna Ricardi, told the New York Daily News: "It's just this cute, little perky nose. It's not too big. It's not too small. It will pretty much suit any type of face."

      Greenberg said the Duchess of Cambridge's nose is so coveted "we have made a file of a dozen Kate Middleton pictures to show patients when they come in for their consultation".

      Dr Thomas Romo, of Manhattan's Lenox Hill hospital, estimates he has performed more than 100 of the procedures and believes the Duchess of Cambridge's nose is popular with patients seeking a "natural" look. "Women, especially over the age of 28, want the nose of a woman who is regal, refined and strong," he claimed.

      "They certainly don't want the scooped out, over-affected, upturned, pinched nose of a pop star. Before her [Middleton], we used to get a lot of people wanting Jennifer Aniston's nose, but now Kate Middleton is everywhere and everyone admires her nose."

      Office manager Brianna Diaz, who will undergo the procedure in two weeks' time, tells the Daily News: "I just knew I had to have it". The 26-year-old said: "I saw her nose a little while ago and now it is a huge thing for me, like an obsession."

      The popularity of the royal schnozz comes as Yahoo Lifestyle! reports that the nine-weeks pregnant Duchess is calling her unborn child "grape", due to the current size of the foetus. The Duchess recently sent the tabloids into a frenzy when she appeared to reveal she is expecting a girl.

      It's a girl? Did Kate Middleton let slip sex of her baby? 

      06/03/2013

      A ROYAL slip of the tongue sent tabloids into a frenzy today as the Duchess of Cambridge appeared to reveal she is expecting a baby girl.

      When the Duchess was handed a white teddy bear by a member of the public in Grimsby yesterday, she said: "Thank you, I will take that for my d… for my baby."

      The 31-year-old has previously insisted she doesn't know the sex of her baby who will be third in line to the throne.

      The source of the Royal scoop was Sandra Cook, 67, who was standing next to the woman who handed Middleton the bear. She told The Sun that the Duchess had clearly started to say the 'd' word, before realising she was letting the cat out of the bag.

      "When she [Middleton] shook hands with me I said, 'You nearly slipped up there, you were going to say daughter, weren't you?" Cook said. "She smiled and said, 'What do you mean? We don't know yet'.

      "I teased her and said, 'Oh I think you do' — to which, still smiling, she replied, 'We're not telling.'"

      Cook, who waited two hours to see the Duchess yesterday, said "I'm certain it's a girl. She wouldn't have said the D-word otherwise."

      The papers agree. The "famously discreet" Duchess "may have dropped her guard a little", says the Daily Mail. The "merest slip of the tongue" may have given away the sex of her baby, says the Daily Telegraph.

      During her visit to Grimsby the Duchess also revealed her baby – due in July – has been "kicking". She admitted to a craving for cupcakes during a visit to a cooking class at a local school and told a well wisher who was looking forward to her becoming Queen: "You might be waiting for a long time."

      Fashion watchers noted that Middleton's baby bump was covered by her "favourite" Hobbs Celeste coat and a "pretty" dress from Great Plains.

      New Kate Middleton bikini pics reignite royal privacy row 

      13/02/2013

      PAPARAZZI pictures of a visibly-pregnant, bikini-clad Kate Middleton walking with Prince William on a beach in Mustique have infuriated the Palace and triggered another debate about the Royal family's right to privacy.

      The Daily Mail says Palace insiders have described the new pictures of Middleton – which will be published today by Chi, the same Italian magazine that ran pictures of her sunbathing topless in France last year – as "grotesque" and "violating". The Palace believes the pictures are "a clear breach of privacy" and says it is consulting lawyers about the incident.

      The Mail says the new pictures have been offered to several other magazines around the world and may fetch up to £250,000. It is understood that the Australian magazine, Woman's Day also intends to publish them. So far, no British publication appears willing to run the pictures even though they can be seen on Chi's website.

      Chi, which is running the pictures of Middleton and her husband under the headline: "Kate and William – honeymoon for three", was widely condemned in the British press today.

      The Mail described the magazine owned by former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi as a "tawdry gossip mag" and points out it became infamous seven years ago, when it ran a picture of a dying Princess Diana, taken just minutes after her fatal car crash in Paris in 1997.

      The Daily Mirror says Middleton is "horrified" and experiencing "fresh paparazzi agony" over the pictures. It says it is unclear if the pictures were taken on the beach or from a boat moored offshore, an important distinction because Mustique is a private island and paparazzi are banned.

      The Caribbean island is patrolled by on-shore and off-shore private security teams, but they "clearly failed to spot the paparazzi waiting for the couple to emerge on the beach", the paper says.

      The Mustique incident echoes the treatment of Princess Diana, when she was pregnant with William in 1982, The Guardian says. The Daily Star and The Sun were both "censured" by the Press Council after they ran photographs of the Princess wearing a bikini on the Caribbean Island of St Kitts.

      Kate shocked at death of nurse who put through prank call 

      07/12/2012

      THE DUKE and Duchess of Cambridge have issued a statement expressing their shock at the news that the nurse who put through a prank call from Australia while the duchess was in hospital this week has been found dead today in a suspected suicide.

      "Their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha's family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time," the statement said.

      Saldanha, a 46-year-old married mother of two, was found at an address nearby the hospital at 9.30am today. The Daily Mail reports that the circumstances in which she was found appeared to indicate that she had killed herself.

      The private hospital, which stressed that Saldanha had not been disciplined over the affair, and that the royal family had not complained about her, said it was announcing the nurse's death with "very deep sadness".

      A statement read: "Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII Hospital for more than four years. She was an excellent nurse and well respected and popular with all her colleagues."

      The Royal Correspondent of the BBC Nicholas Witchell said it had been suggested to him that Saldanha had felt "very lonely and confused" as a result of being duped. 

      It was at 5.30am on Wednesday that Jacintha answered the hoax call from two people purporting to be the Queen and Prince Charles and wanting an update on the condition of the pregnant duchess, in hospital for severe morning sickness. Saldanha transferred the call to another nurse who gave the callers an update on the duchess's condition.

      It quickly transpired that the callers were in fact two Australian DJs from the commercial station 2DayFM, Mel Greig and Michael Christian.

      They have since boasted that it was "the easiest prank call ever made" and that their mock British accents were "terrible".

      At the time of posting, the station's website was still advertising the prank call on its website with the line "Must see!" However, The Times reports that both DJs deleted their Twitter accounts today after they were deluged with abusive comments about the affair.

      Kate Middleton's baby 'means Charles should step aside'  05/12/2012

      PRINCE CHARLES should stand aside following news of Kate Middleton's pregnancy because three heirs to the throne – Charles, William and the new baby - will be "one too many", a royal historian says.

      Writing in the Daily Mail, Michael Thornton says the succession should "skip a generation" pass to William. Charles is 64, but looks and acts older, says Thornton, describing him as "a man prone to self-pity and faltering self-esteem".

      Thornton adds: "His behaviour in recent years has bordered on the unconstitutional. His bombardment of government minister with interfering and meddlesome letters … has become a barely suppressed political scandal that threatens serious damage to the monarchy".

      If the Queen lives another ten years, as she shows every indication of doing, Charles will be an old man when he finally takes the throne. That would be the "last thing the monarchy needs" if it is to maintain its relevance in a rapidly changing world, says Thornton.

      The historian continues to pile pressure on Charles by pointing out that he and his wife Camilla do not enjoy the popularity of either the Queen and Prince Philip or William and Kate.

      Thornton concedes that abdication is a "taboo word" in the House of Windsor since Edward VIII turned his back on the throne in 1936 to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. But he says standing aside for the good of the monarchy has a "clear and persuasive precedent" among Europe's royal houses.

      Thornton's provocative piece got short shrift on Twitter where a user called Matthew Corner called it "shameful" because "no-one [but Charles] is more experienced or has a more legitimate claim".

      The anti-monarchy organisation Republic applauded Thornton's proposal, but tweeted that Charles is unlikely to take his advice "because that's not how a hereditary monarchy works".

      The John Humphrys Guide to gushing royal baby stories  

      04/12/2012

      THE NEWS that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby has brought congratulations from David Cameron and Barack Obama and a gush of purple prose from some quarters of the press. So much of it that Radio 4 Today programme presenter John Humphrys sounded close to a seizure this morning as co-host Sarah Montague went through the morning papers. 

      The dour Welshman refused to read any of it, saying it was "blissful" to find The Guardian leading on story about the exploitation of VAT loopholes rather than the royal pregnancy.   So, what did Humphrys miss in his efforts to avoid morning sickness?

      The Daily Mail dedicated its first 14 pages to the royal news, including this eulogy to Kate from reporter David Wilkes: "What a picture of rude health the Duchess of Cambridge looked as she enjoyed an energetic game of hockey at her old prep school only five days ago. Nimble, athletic and beaming, she dashed about unhindered by her unusual choice of footwear - a pair of high-heeled boots. And her face? Positively glowing, you might say.   "Many onlookers were struck by that glorious blush, with her cheeks looking a touch rosier and rounder than we have perhaps become accustomed to seeing," he gushed.

      How did Fleet Street’s finest miss all the signals?   Well, Mail columnist Bel Mooney didn't miss them. "Once you've had a child yourself, you can read that body language and recognise the inner glow," she declares. "And I'm sure I speak for countless others, men and women alike, when I say that even if the news wasn't a surprise, it comes as a tonic to lift the mood of austerity and gloom."   Her tribute to the young royals is vintage Mail, featuring knocking asides about the BBC (which almost ruined the Diamond Jubilee with its "pitiful and ill-judged TV coverage") and the French (who must make do with Francois Hollande's "difficult live-in lover" Valerie Trierweiler while we have "intelligent and lovely Kate").   The upcoming birth of a royal baby "will embody our innate sense that — for all its many faults — this remains one of the best countries in the world to live in, due to the pride we have in our Queen, our traditions and our history".

      The Daily Mirror heaped praise on the mum-to-be: "Kate has not put a foot wrong since getting married in Westminster and the royal baby announcement is set to make her the world’s most famous woman since William’s mother Diana."

      The Sun used an editorial to tell its readers not to begrudge the baby a life of privilege. "Being born into the House of Windsor will give the Royal baby the sort of advantages most of us can only dream of," the paper noted. "But one thing that shouldn’t be forgotten is the fact that he or she will have wonderful parents."

      Harry Mount in The Daily Telegraph wrote: "How the republicans must be seething. Not only is another year of rose-tinted royal coverage guaranteed, but a whole childhood’s worth – the first pictures of the baby, the christening, the first steps, the first public words, the first day at school."

      Overseas there has also been an excited reaction. According to German newspaper Bild, England (rather than Britain) is in "a state of ecstasy," and it adds that "the timing could not be more perfect," coming at the end of a year that has seen the Queen celebrate her Diamond Jubilee and London host a successful Olympics.   The French edition of Closer magazine, making no mention of those infamous topless photos it published three months ago, says: "After the announcement that Tatiana Santo Domingo, fiancee of Andrea Casiraghi, eldest son of Princess Caroline of Monaco, is pregnant, the news that Kate Middleton is expecting confirms that 2013 will be a rich year for happy events in high society."

      Tatiana who? Never mind...   On the other side of the Atlantic, USA Today described it as "the news that all of Britain has been waiting for". It was, said the paper, "more than just a boon for the baby-mad media; it's a reassuring symbol of continuity for the monarchy and, by extension, the United Kingdom itself".

      Kate Middleton is expecting a baby, the palace confirms - 

      03/12/2012

      PRINCE WILLIAM and his wife Kate Middleton have confirmed they are expecting their first child. "Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby," St James’ Palace said in a statement. "The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry and members of both families are delighted with the news."

      • You read it here first: new hairdo was the clue

      The duchess was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital today in central London with hyperemesis gravidarum, an acute morning sickness which requires supplementary hydration and nutrients, reports Sky News.

      "As the pregnancy is in its very early stages, Her Royal Highness is expected to stay in hospital for several days and will require a period of rest thereafter," the Palace statement said.

      The baby will be the queen's third great-grandchild. As the first child born to William — who is second in line to the throne after his father, Prince Charles —it stands an excellent chance of one day becoming monarch, reports Time.

      Prime Minister David Cameron wrote on Twitter that he was "delighted by the news," saying the royals "will make wonderful parents."

      Only four days ago, the Duchess was playing hockey - in a pair of high heels – when she visited her old prep school, St Andrew’s in Pangbourne, Berkshire. She said her years at the school were among the happiest of her life.

      On Friday, The Week wrote about how the Duchess’s new hairdo might be a sign that she was expecting her first child.  There had been baby rumours once before, when she  declined peanut butter at event, but it seems the hairdo-watchers got it right.

      In France, Paris Match magazine was first out of the blocks with a photo of the couple taken in the South Pacific this summer, and the cover line: “URGENT. KATE ET WILLIAM ATTENDENT UN BEBE.”

      At the time of posting, Closer magazine, which so offended the royal couple by publishing long-lens topless photos of Kate taken in the South of France, had not reported the happy news on its website.

      Bookmaker Paddy Power is offering odds of 5-6 on the royal child being a boy and the same odds on it being a girl. · 

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