Kate opts for natural childbirth
Kate Middleton, pregnant with her first child, has decided to give birth naturally rather than opting for a Caesarian section and the delivery will take place in the same hospital where Prince William was born.
Asked whether the Duchess had opted for an elective Caesarian birth, an option which has led to some mothers being dubbed "too posh to push", palace sources said she intended to give birth naturally.
The 31-year-old Duchess of Cambridge, is planning a natural birth at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington in the Lindo wing, the same as where Princess Diana had both her children – William and Harry.
Having undergone extensive refurbishment and now comprising 17 en-suite rooms, the Lindo Wing boasts on its website as being a "dedicated facility which provides modern, world-class consultant-led care in one of the UK's leading teaching hospitals".
At a cost of well in excess of 5,000 pounds for the first night, Kate is expected to take up one of the suites equipped with satellite television, radio, a fridge and a choice of newspaper brought to the room each morning.
"We offer a comprehensive wine list should you wish to enjoy a glass of champagne and toast your baby's arrival," the the hospital website says.
The plans in place for the birth of the royal baby, who will one day be the King or Queen of England, were revealed by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's office here today ahead of an expected due date in mid-July.
"This will be a deeply private moment. But the couple recognises that this is also a moment for national celebration," a Kensington Palace spokesperson said.
Aides also confirmed that the arrival of the new heir to the throne will be announced in the same way as Prince William's birth was – by delivering a formal notice to be placed on an easel at Buckingham Palace.
He or she will then be named at a later date.
The "notice of birth" will be publicly transferred from the Paddington hospital by car to Buckingham Palace and will confirm the time of birth, weight and gender of the couple's baby.
The notice will be placed by a footman on an easel on the Palace forecourt in public view. The easel is believed to be the same as that used for the announcement of Prince William's birth in 1982.
"The Duke and Duchess do not know the sex of their baby and don't want to find out," said an aide, quashing media speculation that the royal couple were expecting a girl child.
It has also been revealed that royal gynaecologist Dr Marcus Setchell will supervise the birth and William plans to be at his wife's bedside during the delivery.
After the birth, the 31-year-old new father plans to take two weeks' paternity leave from RAF Valley in Anglesey.
With their Kensington Palace apartment in central London not yet ready, the couple may stay in the smaller Nottingham Cottage on the palace grounds during the first few weeks.