With the majority of London media still fast asleep and the sun barely risen, the Duchess of Cambridge’s early morning admittance to the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital couldn’t have been more low-key.
Sources exclusively tell BAZAAR.com it was a cloak-and-dagger operation to get Kate inside the medical facility at approximately 5:20 AM, precisely on her due date of April 23. “She was driven in via the back delivery entrance of the Imperial College Medical School building,” reveals a hospital insider, noting two senior aides accompanied the couple to the hospital, with Prince William in the driver’s seat. “Once inside she was escorted by protection officers through a secure tunnel to the entrance of the Lindo Wing. It was all very hush-hush.”
Midwives from the birthing team, who had been given just five minutes notice before the couple’s arrival, escorted a “relaxed” Kate to the same third-floor labor suite in which gave birth to children Prince George and Princess Charlotte in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Meanwhile, staff from the Kensington Palace press team, including head of communications Jason Knauf, were already awake and preparing to roll out their well-oiled media action plan. Not a word would be sent to the press until household staff arrived outside the Lindo Wing at 8:20 AM to issue a statement announcing the Duchess had been admitted “earlier this morning in the early stages of labor.”
“It’s peaceful inside the room. We try and create as calm an environment as possible.”
Thankfully, inside the luxe $10,000-a-night suite, Kate wouldn’t have heard the crash of 30 TV crews simultaneously setting up their equipment and photographers quickly erecting their ladders outside the main entrance of the wing. “It’s peaceful inside the room,” a hospital staffer tells BAZAAR.com. “The windows are triple-glazed and it’s very quiet. You wouldn’t hear anything from the streets. We try and create as calm an environment as possible.”
Guiding the Duchess through the delivery were four very familiar faces, all of whom helped deliver the Cambridge family’s first two children. On hand were Mr. Guy Thorpe-Beeston, surgeon gynecologist to The Royal Household; Alan Farthing, surgeon gynecologist to the Queen; Dr. Sunit Godambe, consultant neonatologist at Imperial College NHS Trust; and Professor Huw Thomas, physician to the Queen.
Outside the suite—prepped pre-arrival with a simple request of bottled mineral water—royal protection officers patrolled while the Duchess of Cambridge’s private secretary, Caroline Quinn, waited patiently for news of a birth. Meanwhile, personal assistant Natasha Archer—who is responsible for the Duchess’s wardrobe—had already snuck out a side door of the hospital to return to Kensington Palace and collect that all-important departure outfit for Kate. Nanny Maria Borrallo was also back at the Cambridge’s Apartment 1A home with Princess Charlotte, who doesn’t return to pre-school until later this week. Prince George had already been dropped off at school in Battersea earlier in the morning and would no doubt have been told his mother was at the hospital to deliver a new sibling.
And then, less than six hours after she arrived at the hospital, the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a healthy baby boy, fifth in line of succession, weighing 8 pounds and 7 ounces. It was a smooth delivery for the Duchess, who gave birth to Princess Charlotte just two-and-a-half hours after arriving at the hospital in 2015.
Kensington Palace held the big announcement back until 1:02 PM to give Prince William time to personally call the Queen and Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with the happy news, an aide tells BAZAAR.
With all members of the Royal Family notified, the Kensington Palace press team were given the nod to put out a statement announcing the arrival of the couple’s son, confirming that, “Her Royal highness and her child and both doing well.”
And it wouldn’t have been a family celebration without George and Charlotte visiting. Ducking out of the hospital at 4:42 PM, William left Kate in the capable hands of the Lindo Wing midwives as he drove off to Kensington Palace to pick up the children. Perhaps a quick word for the press? “Back in a minute,” the Duke promised, before putting on his driving glasses and zipping down the road with police escorts.
Just 30 minutes later he returned with his children in tow, both excited to meet their new sibling. Charlotte waved to the cameras before entering the doors of the hospital with her father, George a little more subdued with his head down. Charlotte sported a light-blue Little Alice London dress and a navy cardigan, which matched her brother’s school uniform nicely.
On the other side of the Lindo Wing, Nanny Maria quietly entered via a different door, on standby to take the children home 25 minutes later, a source confirms to BAZAAR.
Following the children’s departure, it was glam at the ready. Archer brought in a red Jenny Packham dress (the color a nod to today’s holiday of St. George’s Day, perhaps?), nude Gianvito Rossi heels, and a pair of earrings on loan from the Queen for the Duchess’s photo op. The 30-year-old Palace assistant had helped coordinate the look with Kate long before her April 23 due date. “These things are prepped long in advance,” a source tells BAZAAR.com, who notes that mother of three would have “wanted to be comfortable” above anything else. The Duchess of Cambridge also wore Jenny Packham to mark the births of her elder children.
Meanwhile, loyal hairstylist Amanda Cook-Tucker was onsite to help prepare Kate’s hair and makeup for her walk down the infamous Lindo Wing steps to introduce her newborn to the world’s press.
As for Baby Cambridge’s attire? Only the finest “Nottingham Lace” shawl from G. H. Hurt & Son Ltd, a British-based company with a long-standing connection with the Royal Family. Prince William wore the same Nottingham-based designer following his 1982 birth, and both George and Charlotte wore similar shawls from the company for their hospital debuts.
It took just 45 minutes before the Duchess was ready to introduce the couple’s beautiful baby son to the world. A quick heads up to the media outside and moments later the famous doors of the Lindo Wing opened and the world was given its first look at the new prince.
Waving to the photographers and hundreds of well-wishers outside the hospital, the couple braved the 50-degree breeze to give a close up look at the newborn, who wore a handmade bonnet to protect him from the wind. “Shall we go back inside?” William asked Kate, protectively, rubbing his wife’s back. “Yes, it’s a little cold,” replied Kate. The two headed back inside to transfer the tot to a car seat and prepare for their exit.
A navy blue Land Rover pulled up outside the hospital entrance, ready for the trio to make their way home. Two minutes later, at 5:54 PM, William exited with Kate, holding his son in a new Britax “Romer” car seat. “Thrice worry now!” he joked to reporters after carefully placing the carrier in the back seat, adding that George and Charlotte were “very happy” during their earlier visit. A Kensington Palace aide tells BAZAAR the couple will not hire a new nanny to help with their third addition.
Kate was several days past her due date for Charlotte, but for baby number three, she delivered on the exact day. William quipped, “We didn’t keep you waiting too long this time!”
As they made the one-mile drive back to Kensington Palace, it marked the beginning of a two-week paternity leave for William; a palace aide tells BAZAAR.com it will see the prince “focused on supporting his wife and children.” Kate, who started her maternity leave on March 22, will continue to “focus on family” until the fall.
As for that all-important name announcement? William simply teased, “You’ll find out soon.”
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