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Royal baby: inside Lindo Wing where Kate Middleton is due to give birth

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton

Lindo Wing prices run into the thousands but there will be champagne to greet the arrival of the new royal baby

LAST UPDATED AT 14:38 ON Fri 24 Apr 2015

Royal 'superfans' are already camping outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington hoping to catch a glimpse of Kate Middleton arriving to give birth.

The due date for royal baby number two is rumoured to be this week, although the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have said only that it is mid to late April.

Police have been making final security checks outside the hospital, with parking restrictions in place from 15 to 30 April for an undisclosed "special event".

Media outlets have agreed to wait until after Kate has been admitted before they begin reporting from the scene. TV crews and photographers swarmed the pavement outside for weeks before the birth of Prince George, a commotion the hospital was keen to avoid a second time around.

So what do we know about the Lindo Wing, where Kate is due to give birth?

'Discretion is key'

The Lindo Wing, which was opened by the Queen Mother in 1937, promises "world-class maternity care" with private en suite rooms and a "modern, homely" environment. Deluxe rooms are available for "patients who would like to take advantage of a larger space". The hospital says: "Discretion is key to our service, and we will ensure that you have the space, security and privacy you need to enjoy these precious early moments as a family."

Packages cost £5,000+

A "normal" delivery package at the Lindo Wing costs £5,215 for the first 24 hours, plus £945 for any additional night's stay. Instrumental delivery and caesarean sections cost more, with upgrades to deluxe rooms also available. It's a hefty increase since 1937 when the maternity unit charged seven guineas a week before consultant fees. Fortunately, the Duchess of Cambridge has been offered a ten per cent discount after having Prince George there two years ago, says The Independent.

Royal connections

Both Prince William and Prince Harry were born in the Lindo Wing. Princess Anne, the Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Michael of Kent also had children in the private maternity unit. Instead of using the Lindo Wing's obstetricians, Kate's baby will be delivered by royal gynaecologists Guy Thorpe-Beeston and Alan Farthing, who helped deliver Prince George.

'State-of-the-art' facilities

Recently refurbished, the Lindo Wing offers WiFi, satellite television with major international channels, a radio, bedside phone and fridge. Patients are also offered a choice of daily newspaper every morning throughout their stay. According to the Daily Mirror, the unit also boasts art installations and a secure, supervised nursery. Images on the Lindo Wing's website show luxury White Company toiletries, a fresh fruit platter and afternoon tea served on a three-tiered stand.

Extensive menu

As well as afternoon tea, the maternity unit offers chef-made food and a wine list, giving patients the option to celebrate their new arrival with a bottle of bubbly. The Lindo Wing says its "extensive and nutritious" menu caters for special dietary, cultural and religious requirements, including vegetarian, kosher and halal meals with chefs preparing meals on site to order.

Royal baby: Kate Middleton's baby may be born outsife London

April 20

Kate Middleton may visit Berkshire and Norfolk in the next few days, raising the prospect that the new royal baby will not be born a Londoner.

The last member of the Royal family born outside the capital was Princess Margaret, who was delivered at Glamis Castle, Scotland in 1930.

The likely venue for the birth of the new royal baby, which is due any day now, remains the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in west London, as the Duchess is currently staying at Kensington Palace.

But the Daily Telegraph reports royal aides saying that she may visit her parents in Bucklebury, Berkshire, this week. They say there is also a chance she will choose to stay at Anmer Hall, the couple's country home in Norfolk.

A hospital in each location – the Royal Berkshire in Reading and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn – has been put on standby to deliver the royal baby. The Duchess's obstetricians have been warned that they could be summoned to either location.

St Mary's has been the hospital of choice for two generations of the royal family. Prince George was delivered there in 2013, as were his father and his uncle, Prince William and Prince Harry.

Previous generations of the royal family were more usually delivered at home. The Queen was born at her grandparents' London residence in Mayfair, and her childen, Prince Charles, Prince Edward and Prince Andrew, were delivered at Buckingham Palace.

Wherever the new royal baby comes into the world, it is likely that Prince Harry and the Prince of Wales will miss the birth.

Bookmakers predict that the baby will arrive on 24 or 25 April, when both Harry and Charles will be in Turkey, attending services marking the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign. But if the royal baby does not arrive until 29 April, his or her arrival will coincide with William and Kate's wedding anniversary, says the Daily Mirror.

The Daily Express, meanwhile, reports that "the spirit of Princess Diana" has told a clairvoyant that "Kate Middleton is having a girl on Saturday".

Although the royal couple have said they do not know whether their second child will be a boy or a girl, the public seems to be convinced that Prince George will be getting a sister. The three favourite names with bookmakers – Alice, Charlotte and Elizabeth – are all female.

 

Royal baby: how will Kate Middleton's child change the world? 

15 April

A second wave of royal baby fever is on its way, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge prepare for the arrival of child number two later this month.

Media outlets across the world have been busy speculating on the baby's gender, Kate Middleton's due date and the impact that the "spare to the heir" will have on the election, economy and retail. (Prince George is apparently excited too, although he has been busy looking in the royal china cabinet after hearing his father was visiting China.)

So what can we expect when his little brother or sister arrives? Here are five predictions: 

Fashion

The Kate Effect was swiftly followed by The George Effect. As soon as photos appear of Kate in a pair of LK Bennett shoes or Prince George in a Cath Kidston tank top, the tills can be heard ringing as demand skyrockets for their latest royal outfits. Prince George was even ranked among GQ's 50 Best Dressed Men in Britain. Will the second royal baby have as much impact on the fashion world as his or her older brother? 

Markets

Whether the Duchess of Cambridge's second child is a boy or girl, it's likely to be good news for City, claims This is Money. The Dow Jones rose by an average of 2.4 per cent in the week following the births of Princesses Anne and Margaret and Queen Elizabeth, says the website. Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, says: "Births in the royal family have been cause for celebration around the world. This can spill over into the stock markets as well."

Food and booze

Food and drink sales achieved their best performance for five years in July 2013 thanks in part to the arrival of Prince George, says The Grocer. A heatwave and several sporting wins for Britain were also given credit for the boost. "Sales of food and drink soared as consumers popped open the bubbly and held barbeques to celebrate the royal family's newest arrival, Murray's Wimbledon triumph and the warm delights of summer," said KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale. Will the second baby have a similar effect?

Election

Kate and William's second child is due mid-to-end of April, prompting speculation that it might arrive on election day and steer the polls. Gordon Rayner, chief reporter for the Daily Telegraph, has suggested an "election day baby" could help the Conservatives "as anything that gives the country a feel-good boost so close to polling day is usually regarded as a plus for whoever is in power".

London traffic

The Daily Express is predicting "traffic chaos" and "parking mayhem" in London as police put up barriers outside the hospital where Kate is due to give birth. Officials are trying to prevent journalists from camping outside the private Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, weeks before the birth as they did two years ago.

 

Royal baby: will Kate Middleton have a boy or a girl?

13 April

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge insist they don't know what sex their second child will be, but this hasn't stopped the world from guessing about the new royal baby. Commentators have been dissecting Kate Middleton's clothes, bump and diet in a bid to predict its gender. Here are some of the theories to emerge over the last nine months:

Kate is 'a natural' with girls:

PopSugar has put together a gallery of 32 images showing Kate's "cutest interactions" with young girls around the world (also described as "Snaps That Are Sure to Make Your Heart Explode"). The celebrity news site says Kate "does seem to be in her element when she's meeting with young female admirers" and is "a natural with little girls". This is apparently a "sign" that the new royal baby might be of the female variety. "She's a natural with kids in general, but there's a ton of photo evidence that proves how sweet she'd be with a daughter," it adds.

Kate 'very interested' in girls' clothes:

One of Kate's favourite children's clothes stores is said to be Amaia Kids in Chelsea, London. Prince George was pictured wearing a pair of its navy bloomers for a series of official photographs on the steps of Kensington Palace last Christmas. But during one of the Duchess's recent visits to the boutique, she was "very interested" in the girls' clothes, claims People. The store's co-owner told the magazine: "We all hope it's a little girl because it will be so cute – they will be like a little couple."

The blue coat:

"Pregnant Kate Middleton hints at baby's sex in blue coat," announced OK magazine in January. The Duchess attended a charity coffee morning in London wearing a blue cashmere dress-coat by Seraphine, a "possible hint at the second baby's sex", said OK. But the coat theorists were left baffled last month when Kate turned up to the Commonwealth Observance service at Westminster Abbey dressed head to toe in pink.

Pippa's 'pink baby shower':

A report from Star Magazine last year claimed that party-planner Pippa Middleton had thrown a "baby shower fit for a princess" with pink-iced cupcakes, pink cocktails and a huge white cake with pink sponge and strawberry filling.

Higher bump:

America's Hello magazine claims the way the Duchess is carrying her unborn child is one "telltale" sign that a little princess is on the way. Apparently her bump looks higher and wider than at the same stage of her pregnancy with Prince George two years ago. 

Odds on a girl: 

Girls' names currently dominate the bookies' ten top spots for royal baby names. Not a single boy's name appears in the top five, with bookies favouring Alice, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Victoria and Alexandra. 

Sweet treats: 

Charlotte Griffiths, diary editor for the Mail On Sunday, claims the Duchess is convinced she is having a girl because she "can't stop scoffing sweet treats". Kate has developed a particular penchant for chocolate biscuit cakes and sticky fruit loaves, says Griffiths, and "according to an old wives' tale, if a pregnant woman has cravings for chocolate and biscuits, it is a sure sign that she is carrying a daughter".

Pink paint: 

The Daily Mail's Sebastian Shakespeare has heard that Oxford-based designer Annie Sloan has recently supplied three "decidedly feminine" paint samples to Anmer Hall, currently home to the expectant couple. The colours were said to be Henrietta, a "beautiful rich complex pink with a hint of lilac"; Antoinette, a "soft pale pink with a hint of brown"; and Emile, a "warm soft aubergine colour with pink red undertones".

Nonsensical science:

Meanwhile, Bustle suggests that, by having Prince George, Kate might have "set a precedent for having boys". This is somehow backed up by the fact that it is the father's sperm that determines the sex of a baby and that William is one of two sons...

 

Royal baby: could an election day birth steer the polls?

19 March

The Duchess of Cambridge has revealed that her second child is due mid-to-end of April, prompting speculation that the royal baby might arrive on election day.

Kate Middleton was asked about her due date during a visit to Brookhill Children's Centre in Woolwich on Wednesday. She apparently told Christine Osborne, a 49-year-old volunteer at the centre: "I'm due mid-April, to the end of April. Not long to go now."

The new prince or princess is therefore set to arrive just weeks before Britain goes to the polls and perhaps on election day if it is a few days late.

"Two of the biggest media circuses are set to collide," warns the Spectator's Steerpike. He suspects political coverage will "grind to a halt for at least 24 hours as all media eyes turn once again to the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, Paddington".

Noting that it is customary for party leaders to send their congratulations to the Royal family after a birth, Steerpike wonders if Natalie Bennett, whose Green Party hopes to abolish the monarchy, will get round to sending a card.

"Is new royal baby the most politically charged in history?" asks the Independent, pointing out that the Duke and Duchess confirmed the pregnancy just ten days before the Scottish referendum.

The newspaper suggests that the Tories will be hoping for a "boom in national pride and happiness with the status quo to make people vote Conservative".

Gordon Rayner, chief reporter for the Daily Telegraph, also thinks an "election day baby" could help David Cameron's party.

"That could be good news for the Conservatives," he says, "as anything that gives the country a feel-good boost so close to polling day is usually regarded as a plus for whoever is in power."

The Guardian has previously noted that the baby could come as a birthday surprise for the Queen on 21 April or a wedding anniversary surprise for the Duke and Duchess on 29 April.

 

Royal baby: when is it due and will it be called Elizabeth?

10 March

With the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge due to welcome their second child next month, the name Elizabeth is proving to be the favourite among bookmakers.

Betting opened on the name and gender of royal baby number two just hours after Clarence House confirmed that Kate Middleton was pregnant.

The Duchess has insisted that the sex of her second child will remain a surprise, but it is girls' names that currently dominate the bookies' five top spots for royal baby names, with Elizabeth, Charlotte, Victoria, Alexandra and Alice the shortest-priced bets.

The current favourite for a boy is James, which is the name of the Duchess's brother. Henry and Diana also feature in the top ten, but bookmakers haven't ruled out the possibility that the royal couple might opt for a new name rather than a tried and tested royal favourite.

Some are offering odds on the names Tracey, Tyrone, Mohammed and Joffrey. Others are taking bets on the baby's hair colour and the colour of dress Kate Middleton will wear when she leaves the hospital (top three are currently red, white and blue).

Odds on Kate having twins plummeted from 20/1 to 9/1 and were then suspended at William Hill in September after it reportedly received about 200 bets on the arrival of twins, including "a significant gamble" made in York. Ladbrokes is still offering 3/1 on twins, 100/1 on triplets and 500/1 on quads or more.

The exact due date has not been announced, but it is thought to be in late April. The Guardian notes that the baby could come as a birthday surprise for the Queen on 21 April, a wedding anniversary surprise for the Duke and Duchess on 29 April or, if it is late, could arrive on election day on 7 May.

Here are the top ten names, according to OddsChecker:

Elizabeth
Charlotte
Victoria
Alexandra
Alice
James
Diana
Arthur
Henry
Daniella

 

Royal baby: Kate reveals baby kicks 'all the time'

20 January

Kate Middleton has insisted that the sex of her second child will remain a surprise, but revealed the royal baby is always kicking.

"It's moving all the time. I can feel it kicking now," she told a teenager at the official opening at the Kensington Leisure Centre in west London, the Daily Mirror reports. 

The Duchess of Cambridge, who is now six months pregnant, was attending her third royal engagement of the day when she made the comments.

"I told her I hoped it was a girl but she said she doesn't know yet," 17-year old Martina McDonagh said after meeting the Duchess. "She said it was moving around a lot."

Royal watchers are predicting that the baby will be girl, as the Duchess' bump "appears to be higher and wider than at the same stage of her pregnancy with Prince George," according to STV.

Last year, Prince Charles said he was "thrilled" to be having a second grandchild and revealed that he too was secretly hoping for a baby girl. The royal baby may be named after her late grandmother, Diana, if she turns out to be a girl, a royal biographer revealed last year.

The leisure centre in Kensington was where both Prince William and Harry learned to swim and Kate said she hoped Prince George would go there too. Both royal babies were given free lifetime memberships to the centre.

Council leader Nick Paget-Brown promised the family, who live nearby, special treatment. "You are always free to contact us if your bins haven't been emptied," he told Kate.

"Or if Prince George develops a taste for noisy parties in his teenage years, just call our noise nuisance service and we'll have a quiet word," he added.

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