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Kate Middleton gives birth to baby boy

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LONDON (AP/ABC7) -- It's a boy!

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Prince William's wife, Kate, has given birth to a prince who is now third in line to the British throne.

The child was born Monday, after many Britons woke up to the news that Kate, also known as the Duchess of Cambridge, had gone into labor with the couple's first child.

The blessed event happened at 4:24 in the afternoon, London time, to the delight of hundreds of royal watchers from around the world. The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, had gone into labor early Monday morning.

 

And following tradition, the official announcement was posted at Buckingham Palace on the same gilded easel used to announce the birth of Prince William some 31 years ago.

Cries of joy erupted from the waiting crowd amassed near Buckingham Palace as the news came through, and hundreds of onlookers - some of whom had camped outside for hours - crushed against the palace's fences to catch a glimpse of the bulletin formally announcing the birth placed outside the palace's forecourt.

William's father, Charles, and his wife, Camilla, spoke of their joy and pride in becoming grandparents for the first time.

"It is an incredibly special moment for William and Catherine and we are so thrilled for them on the birth of their baby boy," Prince Charles said in a statement. "Grandparenthood is a unique moment in anyone's life, as countless kind people have told me in recent months, so I am enormously proud and happy to be a grandfather for the first time and we are eagerly looking forward to seeing the baby in the near future."

Even across the pond, admitted Anglophiles are following every step.

"It's important to us, we'll wait to see him leave the hospital," said Jeff Carter.

The royal birth recalled that of the baby's father, William, in 1982, at the same central London hospital. Many remember the moment when he was carried out in his mother Princess Diana's arms with proud father Prince Charles at their side.

William and Kate's son is expected to follow Charles and William to the throne.

Now the world must wait for that very first glimpse.

Betting on a name

Bookies cashed in big Monday as thousands of Britons placed bets on what Prince William and his wife, Kate, would name their newborn child.

Ladbrokes took 50,000 bets in the hours after the Duchess of Cambridge went into labor Monday morning. Company spokesman Alex Donohue said the public rushed to put small amounts of money, such as a pound, the on the royal infant's name because they "want to be involved."

"Never underestimate the British public's obsession with the royal family," he said. "This is such a big story. And besides, it's summer. The weather is good."

For much of the day, the money was on Alexandra for a girl and James or George for a boy. Late Monday, it was announced that Kate had delivered a son, though there was no word on the name.

Betting agency Coral described it as the biggest non-sporting betting event in the company's history, with gamblers racing to wager on everything about the new heir to the throne.

"The whole world has been waiting for Kate to go into labor and now that she has, we have witnessed another betting frenzy," said Nicola McGeady, spokeswoman for the firm, in the hours before the birth was announced. 

Many Britons had hoped that William and Kate would start a family shortly after their gala 2011 wedding, which drew a global television audience in the hundreds of millions.

The couple waited, however, until William was nearly finished with his military work as a search and rescue helicopter pilot based at an air base in a remote island off the coast of Wales.

That allowed Kate to ease into royal life, and to become more comfortable in the spotlight, before becoming a parent. It also allowed her to play a supporting role during Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations last summer.

The first months of her pregnancy were not easy, and she was hospitalized in early December with acute morning sickness that left her weak and dehydrated.

She seemed to recover her stamina fairly quickly and made a series of public appearances until the final weeks before giving birth, drawing praise for her poise and good cheer.

The royal couple and their newborn are expected to spend much of their time in the coming years in renovated quarters at Kensington Palace, where William and Harry also spent much of their childhood.

Royal officials say Kate and William will try to give their child as normal an upbringing as possible - which may be challenging in an age when the British royals are treated as major world celebrities.

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