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The royal baby is coming!
Kate Middleton has gone into labor and is awaiting the birth of her and Prince William's first child at St. Mary's Hospital in London, Kensington Palace has confirmed.
"Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted this morning to St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London in the early stages of labor," read an official statement from the palace, released Monday morning, local time. "The Duchess traveled by car from Kensington Palace to the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital with The Duke of Cambridge."
Kensington Palace confirms Kate entered the hospital shortly before 6 a.m. local time and went into labor naturally.
"Things are progressing as normal," a spokesperson said.
And everyone's already on high alert: two policemen are currently guarding the hospital's front steps.
Will, who is on paternity leave from his post with the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue Force, accompanied his wife to St. Mary's, where he himself was born 31 years ago. Both of them were accompanied by a bodyguard who has been on Kate's security detail for the past few months (and who also, incidentally, went along with Prince Harry on his royal trip to Las Vegas).
And now...we wait.
Dr. Marcus Setchell, former OBGYN to Queen Elizabeth II, will serve as head doctor in the delivery room on this oh-so-important day for the royal family. Dr. Alan Farthing, the queen's current surgeon/gynecologist, will also be on hand.
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News of the royal birth will first come to us civilians when a proclamation, signed by the doctors who deliver the next heir to the British throne, is handed off to a royal aide at the entrance to St. Mary's exclusive Lindo Wing. Then the aide will take off for Buckingham Palace, where the ultimately historic document will be displayed on an easel set up in front of the palace gates.
The queen will know that she's expecting a visitor, of course, because William (or someone else with the queen's personal number) will have informed her already of her third great-grandchild's arrival.
While mom Carole and sister Pippa Middleton are expected to be in the delivery room along with her husband, the rest of Kate's immediate family will be notified at the same time as William's. British Prime Minister David Cameron will also be among the first to know.
Our best wishes to the parents-to-be (any minute now)!
(Originally published on July 21, 2013, at 11:48 p.m. PT)