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Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Gives Birth to a Boy

Outside the hospital, the news drew a curious mix of journalists, Britons and tourists.

[Read more about the modern tradition of the royal baby watch at the Lindo Wing.]

Around 1:20 p.m., a man named Tony Appleton appeared on the steps of the hospital’s Lindo Wing in knee breeches and a tricorn hat with yardlong, trembling feathers, carrying a very large bell, which he rang repeatedly and at earsplitting volume.

“Oyez, oyez, oyez, we’ve got a royal baby, a prince!” he bellowed on the stairs, before proceeding down the street a dozen times for various camera crews. He had taken the train in from Chelmsford for a second time on Monday morning, after a false alarm on Saturday.

“Kate, don’t have any more, my nerves are shattered,” he said afterward.

Mr. Appleton expressed irritation that he has frequently been identified as an “unofficial” town crier, noting that he is the official town crier of his hometown, Great Baddow.

“How lucky we are to have a royal family,” said Vanessa Crossley, 40.

Her friend Joanne McLoughlin, 45, said the young royals had invigorated public support. “We look up to the queen, don’t we,” she said, looking inquiringly at her friend. “But they’re a lot more normal.”

Lars Vergunst, 26, said to the co-worker who had insisted that he accompany her, “Can we go now?”

Catherine gave birth in a familiar setting: the Lindo Wing is where Princess Charlotte, Prince George and several other members of the royal family were born. Its website notes, “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.”

Despite that promise of discretion and privacy, the mere announcement that Catherine had gone into labor prompted throngs of camera crews to take up positions across the street from the hospital, though for the moment they are unlikely to get a view of anything but the building’s red-brick exterior.

Photo

Supporters of the royal family took up positions near the hospital on Monday. Credit Henry Nicholls/Reuters

The crowd of journalists was sorted by caste: The royal press corps, from major British outlets, had their own enclosure, directly opposite the hospital’s front door. They were dressed in trench coats and handsome suits, like intelligence agents.

Farther down the road was the enclosure for unaccredited journalists, who were crowded in their own enclosure, reporting in a variety of languages.

The baby’s birth came a week before Catherine and William’s seventh wedding anniversary and, perhaps more important in the eyes of the English news media and public, occurred on St. George’s Day, named after England’s patron saint.

Arthur, Albert, Frederick, James and Philip are the most likely names, according to bookmakers, the BBC reported.

Whatever the baby’s name, the new child will be fifth in line to the throne, following Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, and before Prince Harry.

Charlotte carries a particular distinction: Changes to the Succession to the Crown Act in 2013 removed male bias, meaning that she is the first girl to go before her younger brother in the royal line of succession.

One of the longest baby-waiting vigils this time was held by Terry Hutt, an 82-year-old carpenter wearing a suit made with a Union Jack pattern. He had been sleeping outside the hospital on a bench for 15 days, having received contradictory reports about the Duchess of Cambridge’s due date. As a gift for the baby, he had brought a piggy bank, also printed with the Union Jack.

When the new prince’s birth was announced, Mr. Hutt held up a baby doll that had been fitted with a crown, with blue eyes that opened and closed. He and the small knot of hard-core royalists drank sparkling wine in plastic pint glasses.

“Hip hip hurray!” they shouted. “Hip hip hurray! It’s a prince, born on St. George’s Day!”

Gary Petersen, 60, who was visiting from Australia, said his daughter had texted him Monday morning from Perth with news of the baby’s birth. Standing opposite the front door of the maternity ward, he confessed he expected something grander.

“This is the infamous Lindo Wing,” he said. “Have a look around, it’s an industrial estate, not very glamorous.”

As an Australian, he said, he viewed the monarchy from a skeptical distance, but he said he thought Princes Harry and William had helped to “re-establish the credibility” of the royal family by opening up about their mother’s death.

“If I have one negative about the queen, it’s that, apart from the opening of the Olympic Games, she’s too rigid, in my opinion,” he said. “I suppose from an Australian point of view, it’s figurehead, it doesn’t have a role in the day-to-day running of the country.”

Mr. Hutt, who also held a vigil outside Buckingham Palace when Charles was born in 1948, said he did not expect any more babies from this family.

“Now it’s Harry’s turn,” he said.

Source: NYT > World

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