LONDON — Britain has a new princess.
The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to an 8-pound, 3-ounce baby girl Saturday morning at the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in London, with her husband, Prince William, by her side.
In a statement, Kensington Palace said that the duchess gave birth at 8:34 a.m. and that,“Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.”
The palace also said that “The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news.”
The royal newborn is fourth in line to the throne, knocking uncle Harry down a peg in the line of succession.
Britain is in the middle of a parliamentary election campaign that many have found a bit drab — voters go to the polls on May 7 — and the news of the newest Windsor has been embraced as a ray of sunshine.
“It’s a girl, it’s a girl!” shouted John Loughrey, 60, a self-described “super fan,” who was jumping up and down outside of the Lindo Wing, next to camera crews from around the world waiting to catch the world’s first glimpse of the baby.
“Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their baby girl. I’m absolutely delighted for them,” British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted.
The 33-year-old duchess, widely known as Kate, arrived at the hospital with her husband at 6 a.m. Saturday, their car slipping past a phalanx of photographers who were keeping watch.
In a nod to the times, the palace announced details of the birth with a news release followed shortly by notices on social media. The palace also continued its ancient tradition of posting a notice of a royal birth on a gilded easel in the courtyard of Buckingham Palace.
The palace said that William and Kate didn’t know the sex of the baby, but those stepping into betting parlors around the country were convinced the baby was a girl. Prince Charles, William’s father, reportedly let slip that he, too, hoped that his next grandchild was a girl.
The favorite names for the newborn are Alice, Charlotte and Elizabeth.
When the baby’s name is announced — the world was told of Prince George’s name when he was two days old — it will take the form of Her Royal Highness Princess (name) of Cambridge.
But for all the fanfare for the “spare to the heir,” the royal baby fever is a couple of degrees lower than it was for the birth of Prince George, which saw the world celebrating with Canada lighting up Niagara Falls in blue and New Zealand welcoming the arrival of the young prince with a 21-gun salute.
“We know that George is the heir, so the second born rather skates in rather nicely. It’s an also-ran in royal life,” said Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty magazine. “It’s not so important, because it will be the first born that inherits the kingship, if indeed there is a kingship by then.”
Kate’s medical team was lead by Guy Thorpe-Beeston, an obstetrician, and Alan Farthing, the royal surgeon-gynecologist.
While the palace had not commented on Kate’s actual due date, it was widely assumed that the baby was expected in April. Kate had reportedly told a volunteer at a children’s center that she was due mid to late April. That time frame was supported by the parking restriction signs outside of the Lindo Wing, which originally ran from April 15 to 30. When no baby arrived in April, the Westminster City Council extended the parking restrictions until May 5.
As days wore on, the crowds outside the Lindo Wing grew, with some superfans pitching up tents. Last week, the prince and duchess sent coffee and croissants to the fans camped outside of the hospital, after seeing reports of them on television.
The palace also seemed to be having a little fun with the #GreatKateWait, as the Twitterati once again dubbed Kate’s pregnancy. On Thursday, they teased eager royal watchers with a picture from two years ago, when George was born.
Prince George was born in the Lindo Wing, as was his father, Prince William, and his uncle, Prince Harry.
Prince William, who is training as a pilot with East Anglia Air Ambulance, is on six weeks of unpaid leave until he starts the next phase of his training on June 1.
The Cambridges are a deeply private couple, and it’s unlikely that the world will see much of them in the coming weeks. According to the palace, they plan to spend the next few days at Kensington Palace, their London home, before heading to Anmer Hall, their country home that’s part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.
Griff Witte contributed to this report.