LONDON -- Prince William and Kate are seen as the new face of a centuries-old institution, keeping the best of traditions while moving forward with the times. Here are 10 things to know about the royal baby in relation to royal births of the past:
Most people take a hospital birth for granted these days, but just a few decades ago the custom among royals – as it was among commoners – was to give birth at home.
Queen Elizabeth II was born at 17 Bruton Street in London, a private family home, and she gave birth to her sons Charles, Andrew and Edward in Buckingham Palace. Her only daughter, Princess Anne, was born at Clarence House, also a royal property.
That changed by the 1980s, when Princes William and Harry were both born at the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary's hospital in central London. William and Kate's first child – a prince – was born Monday in the very same wing.
For a long time, royals were educated in private. The queen was taught at home by her father, tutors and governesses, and never mingled with commoners at a school, college or university.
Charles was the first royal heir to have gone to school, and William and Kate, who were both educated at independent schools, will doubtless have their son do the same.
DADS IN THE DELIVERY ROOM
William said he would be there with Kate when she gave birth, in line with the expectations of many modern parents – and he delivered on that promise. He follows in the footsteps of his father, Charles, who declared how much he relished being in the delivery room in a letter to his godmother, Patricia Brabourne.
"I am so thankful I was beside Diana's bedside the whole time because by the end of the day I really felt as though I'd shared deeply in the process of birth," Charles wrote shortly after William's birth.
Things were quite different when Charles was born. When the queen (then Princess Elizabeth) went into labor, her husband, Prince Philip, was off playing squash in the palace – out of restlessness, not indifference, noted Charles' biographer Jonathan Dimbleby.
In the early 1900s – and probably before – custom dictated that government officials should be present when a royal was born. When the queen was born in 1926, for example, the home secretary was present among the doctors.
The current home secretary, Theresa May, said the centuries-old tradition required the official to attend "as evidence that it was really a royal birth and the baby hadn't been smuggled in." Fortunately for Kate – the practice was abolished years ago by George VI.
The custom is thought to have been linked to the so-called "warming pan plot" of 1688, when rumors swirled that the supposed child of James II was sneaked into the delivery room in a long-handled bed-warming pan. Some 40 to 60 people were said to have dropped in to witness the birth.
HOW MANY NAMES?
Now that the baby's gender is known, the biggest guessing game surrounding the royal birth is the name. Most royals have three to four first names, usually in a combination that honors previous monarchs or relatives. The queen's full name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, after her mother, great-grandmother and grandmother, and William's full name is William Arthur Philip Louis.
The bookmakers had the shortest odds on Alexandra, Charlotte, Elizabeth for a girl, and George or James for a boy. It could take a while for the public to find out the future king's name. When William was born, it took a full week before his name was announced.
AND THE LAST NAME?
The royals don't require a surname. The correct title when referring to the new prince will be His Royal Highness Prince (name) of Cambridge. If required, current members of the royal household may use Mountbatten-Windsor, the surname adopted in 1960 for all of the queen's children. (That name combines Windsor, the family name adopted by King George V in 1917 to replace Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and Prince Philip's family name, Mountbatten).
Prince William, the heir of Charles, the Prince of Wales, is known as Flight Lt. Wales when on military duty.
Royal babies tend to be officially christened several days to weeks after they are born, and there are a few potential places this could take place for the new baby.
The queen was christened in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace, while both William and his father Charles were christened in the palace's Music Room.
A PLAIN OLD EASEL VS. TWITTER
The traditional way the palace announces a royal baby's birth to the world is as quaint as it gets: A messenger with the news travels by car from the hospital to Buckingham Palace, carrying a piece of paper detailing the infant's gender, weight and time of birth. The bulletin is then posted on a wooden easel on the palace's forecourt for everyone to see.
This time, however, the Palace announced the news by press release.
In the old days the announcement was made to the wider public by a reader on radio, but today that's replaced by the Internet and social media: After the announcement was made, officials posted the news on Twitter to millions of followers worldwide.
TO NANNY OR NOT
William and Kate have not made any public announcements about hiring a nanny to help them bring up their son. Many expect the couple to be more hands-on parents than earlier generations of royals, and some have speculated that because of the couple's close ties with Kate's parents, Michael and Carole Middleton will also have a big role in helping Kate with the baby.
Nannies have always been central to bringing up royal babies. Charles was famously close to his nannies, and William and Harry also enjoyed a bond with their former nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke – who was so well known that she herself frequently appeared in the news.
A WELCOME WITH A BANGSome things don't really change. A 62-gun salute from the Tower of London and a 41-gun salute from Green Park, near Buckingham Palace, were to welcome the baby into the world with a bang, just as it did when previous royals were born.
Speculation over the royal couple's choice of name has run wild in the time since the Duchess of Cambridge's pregnancy was announced, with Brits betting on front-runners with and without strong historical precedents.
By choosing a polka-dotted dress for her hospital departure, Kate has inadvertently opened the flood gates to another wave of comparison to a woman she has never even met.
Sin City has officially extended an offer for the royal baby to visit once he's of age. Do you think baby George's uncle, Prince Harry, will come along?
Your sex life will never be the same. In my day. What, not breast-feeding?
From diet tips to "little baby, little problems," sleep-deprived and super-stressed new parents have heard it all. And they want you to stop it.
As Britain's Prince William and his wife, Kate, move along on their parenting journey, it seems even the queen has had a what-not-to-say moment. According to a special edition of Us magazine on raising royals, she exclaimed soon after William's birth: "Thank goodness he hasn't ears like his father!"
All of a sudden, there's a lot more interest in Carole Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge's 58-year-old mom and the only biological grandmother of the littlest future king of England.
With Kate and her mom extremely close, and the new parents both eager to live somewhat of a normal life, you can be sure Grannie Middleton will want to be very hands-on in her new royal role. Here's what you need to know about Carole.
...as told by GIFs. See them here.
The Telegraph reports that the couple hasn't yet finished decorating a nursery because they are waiting for the completion of their new apartment within Kensington Palace. According to E! Online, this 20-room space, also known as Apartment 1A, will be ready for the growing family in August. Prior to the renovations, this vacant area was serving as an office and storage space.
The royal baby is here! Now that we've seen him and his parents have said some sweet words about the birth, we're left wondering... what is his official title?
Until Will and Kate choose a first name, the royal baby will officially be titled as "HRH Prince of Cambridge." It makes sense, given that his father is titled "Prince William, Duke of Cambridge" and Kate is titled "Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge." In fact, the royal baby's title will be the first time "Prince of Cambridge" has been used in 194 years! Find out more about his royal title here.
Kate Middleton gave birth to a son on Monday afternoon, but the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have not yet made their baby name choice public -- and if precedent is any indication, it could be a week or even a month before their selection is announced.
On leaving the hospital with his wife and newborn on Tuesday, Prince William said the couple are "still working on a name," assuring an eager public, "We'll have that as soon as we can."
In the meantime, the baby name frenzy, that's been brewing since Kate's pregnancy was announced, is at its peak. Find out which royal name is the favorite!
Preliminary thoughts upon “meeting” the Royal Baby for the first time:
He waves! Our first Royal wave.
Kate didn't fall down the steps while holding her son. I held my breath just in case. After all, she was wearing heels.
Kate made absolutely no attempt to appear like anything other than a woman who has just given birth. Okay, her hair looked better than most new mothers, but
Auntie Pippa and uncle Nico waiting at Kensington Palace for thier nephew.#BabyCambridge— Niraj Tanna (@IkonPictures) July 23, 2013
Kate Middleton and Prince William left St Mary's Hospital at 7:14 pm BST on July 23 with the royal baby boy in tow.
The duchess arrived at the hospital early in the morning on July 22 through a secret entrance. She gave birth to the 8-pound, 6-ounce baby at 4:24 p.m that day, more than a week after his rumored due date.
"I'll remind him of his tardiness when he's a bit older," Prince William joked to the press waiting outside the hospital. Kate stood beside Will holding her newborn son while wearing a bespoke blue dress by British designer, Jenny Packham. See photos here.
Though he may never escape the glare of the limelight, we hope the newborn son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be comforted by his many blessings: a beautiful home, famous friends, thousands of adoring fans and… oh yes, a hefty billion dollar inheritance. Read more about it here.
Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog just became the latest heavyweights to congratulate Prince William and Kate Middleton on the birth of the royal baby.
Walt Disney Studios posted a video on Tuesday of Kermit and Miss Piggy on the set of the upcoming Muppets movie, "Muppets Most Wanted." Watch it here.
Charles smiled and pointed at Sky News presenter Kay Burley, crouching down to give the snappers a shot. "Have you been there long? "— Richard Palmer (@RoyalReporter) July 23, 2013
Prince Charles & Camilla just showed up to the hospital! pic.twitter.com/PMPohhIjBT— HuffPostStyle (@HuffPostStyle) July 23, 2013
When asked about the royal baby, the first-time grandmother said he's "absolutely beautiful."
The majority of British residents would be comfortable if Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge's firstborn child grew up to be gay, according to a new survey.
Kate's mother and father, first-time grandparents, arrived at the Lindo Wing shortly after 3 pm on Tuesday.
Within Will and Kate's first day as parents, revelers celebrate at Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey tolls bells and royal artilleries launch gun salutes. Australia has already dedicated a building to the royal baby.
Queen Elizabeth's imminent vacation may speed an announcement along.
Royal tots in Belgium, Tokyo and beyond just got a new playmate to join their exceptionally exclusive kids' club.
Protection officers were spotted dropping off not one, but two pizza pies at the rear entrance of St Mary's Lindo Wing.
The bells will ring from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm in London. Watch and listen here.