Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate looked relaxed and happy as they introduced their newborn son to the world, joking at how the 8lb 6oz child was a “big boy”.
The duke and duchess of Cambridge said becoming parents was “such a special time” but added that they were still “working” on a name.
On the steps of the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London, the royal couple posed for the press and waved and smiled at the cheering well wishers.
The baby prince was the star attraction and appeared oblivious to the flashguns of the world’s press photographers going off, but did seem to be partially awake during his first public appearance, as his hand poked over the white shawl he was wrapped in.
The duchess, who still had a little bump under her bespoke blue and white polka dot Jenny Packham summer dress, held her son first before handing him to William, who was casually dressed in dark trousers and a pale blue shirt with his sleeves rolled up.
Observers were quick to draw parallels with Kate’s outfit worn by William’s late mother Diana when she posed on the same doorstep with her first-born son in a green polka dot dress.
But where Diana appeared nervous and bewildered by the attention, a glowing Kate smiled broadly and spoke assuredly as she introduced her child to the world’s press and the hordes of cheering well-wishers.
William’s attire, meanwhile, was a stark contrast to the pinstripe suit worn by his father in 1982.
The couple gave an impromptu and good humoured press conference telling reporters about how their lives had changed.
Asked how he felt, William said: “Very emotional”, and Kate agreed: “It’s very emotional and such a special time and I think any parent will probably know what this feeling feels like.”
William and Kate’s appearance outside the Lindo Wing harked back to the day the duke first emerged into the world outside the same hospital in the arms of his parents, Charles and Diana, in 1982.
But the atmosphere was very different this time, as the royal couple were casually dressed and appeared to be at ease.
Joking about his son, William added: “Well, he’s got a good pair of lungs on him, that’s for sure. He’s a big boy, he’s quite heavy.”
The royal couple have yet to name their son and the duke said it was now a priority: “We’re still working on a name so we will have that as soon as we can.”
Asked about changing nappies William said: “We’ve done that already”, and the Kate added “he’s done his first nappy already”.
William looked very relaxed holding his son and after speaking to the press for a few minutes returned inside the Lindo Wing with his wife.
The couple soon emerged with their son in a baby seat and William carefully fitted it onto the back seat of a Range Rover beside his wife before driving his family home.
A crowd of well-wishers was waiting to greet the couple when they arrived at Kensington Palace and they cheered as the duke drove past and smiled from behind the wheel while his wife waved.
Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth revealed she was “thrilled” at the arrival of her first great-grandson.
During a Buckingham Palace reception for recipients of the Queen’s award for enterprise Louise Butt, of Bath-based science marketing firm Select Science, said: “She [the queen] said she is thrilled and she said he is a big boy. She said the first born is very special. We agreed.”
In the hours before they left hospital, William and Kate had received visits from their son’s beaming grandparents — Michael and Carole Middleton and Charles, the prince of Wales, and his wife Camilla, duchess of Cornwall.
Charles’s visit to the hospital was an historic moment as it is believed to be the first time three male heirs to the throne — Charles, his son William, and grandson — who are expected to reign have come together in more than 100 years.
The last time a similar gathering happened was likely to have been before Queen Victoria’s death in 1901, when her son, later Edward VII, was with his son the future George V and grandson, later Edward VIII.
Asked how his first grandchild was, Charles replied: “Marvellous, thank you very much, absolutely wonderful.”
Mrs Middleton described her grandson as “absolutely beautiful” and of mother and baby said: “They are both doing really well, and we are so thrilled.”
Asked what the first cuddle with her grandson was like, Mrs Middleton said: “Amazing, It’s all coming back.”
However, when asked if she had suggested a name for the baby, she said: “Absolutely not, but thank you.”
Taiwan’s animated news network NMA wins the award for most bizarre coverage of the royal birth.
The video, entitled “Royal baby born! Kate Middleton pops out a future monarch” is available on YouTube and features photographers snapping Kate giving birth, Prince Harry attempting to murder the Queen (who returns as a deadly robot), and a future gay royal wedding in 2040.
Royal name game
The names of Britain’s royal babies are historically not announced straight away, leaving the nation playing a guessing game until the chosen moniker is revealed.
When William arrived in 1982, his parents Charles and Diana, the prince and princess of Wales, waited seven days before deciding and announcing his chosen forenames.
Diana was thought to have preferred Sebastian or Oliver, while Charles was reportedly holding out for Albert.
When the names were finally revealed as William Arthur Philip Louis, it ended a week of intense speculation.
Experts had predicted Louis would be among the names in honour of the prince of Wales’s late uncle Lord Mountbatten, as well as Philip in a nod to his father, the duke of Edinburgh.
Buckingham Palace revealed at the time that the name William would not be shortened in any way and even William has since insisted he is never known as “Wills”.
At the time, William was the second favourite at the bookmakers, behind George.
Prince Harry’s name was announced much more quickly after he was born in Sept 1984, with the palace confirming it on the day he left hospital.
When Princess Beatrice was born in 1988, it was two weeks before her name was known.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved