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July 22, 2013

Palace: Prince William's wife, Kate, in labor

LONDON — Prince William's wife, Kate, is in the early stages of labor in a private wing of a central London hospital, palace officials said Monday.

It is a historic moment for the British monarchy — the couple's first child will become third in line for the British throne, after Prince Charles and William, and should eventually become king or queen.

William and Kate entered St. Mary's Hospital in central London through a side door early Monday morning, avoiding the world's media. Palace officials confirmed her arrival about 90 minutes later.

Royal officials said they traveled by car, without a police escort, just before 6 a.m. Kate — also known as the Duchess of Cambridge — is expected to give birth in the private Lindo Wing of the hospital, where Princess Diana also gave birth to William and his younger brother, Prince Harry.

"Things are progressing as normal," the couple's spokesman said.

She will be looked after by a top-notch medical team led by royal gynecologist Dr. Marcus Setchell. Palace officials are not expected to provide many details about how her labor is progressing.

The baby is in line to become Britain's monarch and be recognized as head of state in 15 other countries, including Canada and Australia, playing a leading role in charting the future of the Commonwealth.

But little else is known, including how the baby will arrive — it is not clear if Kate will have a natural birth or deliver by a planned cesarean section — its gender and its name.

Royal watchers must wait to be told of the baby's arrival from the palace, which is planning to reveal the news through a mixture of tradition and social media.

Palace officials have said that the first hint will come when a royal aide emerges from the hospital with a signed bulletin carrying the Buckingham Palace letterhead. The bulletin will be given to an official who will be driven to Buckingham Palace, where it will be posted on an easel in public view in front of the building.

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