Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Queen Elizabeth II

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Being a royal sure has its perks. You get your snazzy title, slammin' digs, a jet-setting schedule and the unblemished patina of rarified blue-blooded living.

Oh, yeah: And if you're Queen Elizabeth II, you also get a high-security phone call on a James Bond-esque encrypted phone line informing you of the latest addition to your family.

Indeed, in a departure from royal protocol, Prince William is expected to call his grandmum to let her know that his wife, Kate Middleton—who has been admitted to London's St. Mary's Hospital after going into labor early Monday morning—has given birth to the third in line to the throne.

That's all well and good—if you happen to be the reigning British monarch.

But for us hoi polloi, things will be a wee bit different—but no less swaddled in pomp and pageantry.

Once the baby is born, a medical bulletin will be signed by Kate's doctor certifying the birth, and it will be carried by a royal envoy outside the hospital and into a waiting vehicle—a irrefutable sign to the public that the third in line to the throne has arrived.

The vehicle will then whisk the medical bulletin to Buckingham Palace.

Kate Middleton, Duchess Catherine


Once at the palace, the proclamation will be placed on a gilded easel inside the palace gates. The easel itself carries historical significance: It's the very same one that was used to herald Prince William's arrival 31 years ago—the first future British monarch to be born at a hospital.

(Princess Diana gave birth to both Prince William and Prince Harry at the very same hospital wing at St. Mary's—the Lindo Wing—where Kate has now gone into labor.)

When the proclamation is placed on the easel, it will contain many of the birthing details of the royal baby, including its gender, weight and time of birth.

This is, of course, assuming that the baby is born between 8 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. local time. Otherwise the medical bulletin's delivery will be delayed until the following morning.

Royal watchers, however, looking for a less ornate way to learn of the royal baby's birth can get it in a swifter and more straightforward manner: by checking out media reports.

In an 11th-hour change, Kensington Palace has revealed that it is switching up the protocol for announcing the royal baby's arrival by issuing a press release containing details of the birth shortly before the royal medical bulletin is sent to Buckingham Palace—an effort, palace officials said, to make the news available "as quickly and simply as possible."

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share