Kate Middleton is now officially on maternity leave in advance of her April due date, and the rails outside St. Mary’s hospital have been freshly painted— meaning the Great Kate Wait is on (again!).
If the palace follows the pattern of her first two pregnancies, the first news will come when they announce that Kate has been admitted to St. Mary’s in London in the “early stages of labor.” Once again, she will be under the supervision of a medical team headed by Dr. Guy Thorpe-Beeston and Dr. Alan Farthing.
After that initial announcement, it’s all a waiting game until Kensington Palace confirms the baby has been born. With Prince George, nearly 12 hours passed between the labor announcement and the birth announcement. With Princess Charlotte, it was about only three hours.
Whenever the news arrives, it will again be announced to the press and on Kensington Palace’s official social media. Soon after, a paper proclamation will be placed on an easel outside Buckingham Palace. The most exciting part of this initial announcement? It will come with a confirmation of whether the new royal baby is a boy or a girl.
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Next, all eyes will be on the doors of the Lindo Wing, waiting to see who will be visiting the new baby. When George was born, Kate’s parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, as well as Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, both came to visit as Kate spent another night at the hospital after giving birth.
But with Charlotte, the only visitor was big brother George, whom William brought to the hospital to visit his new sibling. Just a few hours later, Kate and William brought their new addition outside and then got in the car to head home. (After George’s birth, she spent the night in the hospital and the new parents didn’t bring George out to greet the public until the next day.)
Exactly how everything will play out this time is still a bit of a mystery: The proud parents may take a few moments for questions — with Prince George they did, but with Princess Charlotte, they didn’t — or it could just be a few minutes to pose for photographs.
When will the name announcement come? In all likelihood, within a day or two. With George, it came the day after William and Kate left the hospital, announced on social media and in statements to the media. And Charlotte’s name was announced two days after her birth. However, not all royal babies’ names are announced so quickly: After her 1988 birth, Princess Beatrice’s name wasn’t announced for two full weeks.
One event where we’ll certainly see the family again — though likely without the newest addition? The only day that will eclipse the birth of royal baby #3 when it comes to the biggest royal event of the year: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s wedding on May 19.