Congratulatory messages are flooding in from around the world to mark the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s son, the third in line to the throne.Prince William said the couple “could not be happier” following the birth of the boy, who weighed 8lb 6oz and is yet to be named, at 16:24 BST on Monday.
Thousands of well-wishers descended on Buckingham Palace after the news broke.
The royal birth will be marked later with gun salutes and the ringing of Westminster Abbey’s bells.
The duke was at the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, west London, for the birth – and stayed with Catherine and the baby overnight.
BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt said royal officials told him it was too early to say whether Catherine and her son would leave hospital on Tuesday.
The couple are expected to talk to their medical team before a decision is made, our correspondent said.
It is thought to be unlikely that the Queen will visit her great-grandchild in hospital, he added – “she can of course see him privately once he leaves”.
The birth of the prince means the monarchy has three generations of heirs to the throne for the first time since 1894.
The world now awaits the couple’s choice of names for their son, who will be known as the Prince of Cambridge. George is the bookmakers’ favourite, followed by James and Alexander.
After the new arrival was announced in a statement issued by Kensington Palace, a large cheer went up from well-wishers and journalists outside the hospital.
A bulletin announcing the birth was taken by a royal aide from St Mary’s to Buckingham Palace and displayed on an ornate easel.
The announcement prompted celebrations in the UK and elsewhere:
- New Yorkers were informed of the news when it was tickered in lights at Times Square
- In London, Trafalgar Square was lit blue for a boy, while the BT Tower delivered the message: “It’s a boy!”
- US president Barack Obama was among foreign leaders to send their good wishes, saying of the duke and duchess: “We wish them all the happiness and blessings parenthood brings”
- The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Reverend Justin Welby, greeted the news by saying: “Along with millions here and around the world, I share in their joy at this special time”
At 14:00 BST, the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will stage a 41-gun salute in Green Park, after riding past Buckingham Palace.
At the same time, the Honourable Artillery Company – the City of London’s army reserve regiment – will fire a 62-gun salute from Gun Wharf at the Tower of London.
And the church bells of Westminster Abbey, where William and Catherine were married in April 2011, are expected to ring out for three hours from 14:00.
Following the announcement, a statement from Kensington Palace said: “The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news.”
It added that mother and baby were “doing well”.
The Prince of Wales, in a separate statement, said he and the Duchess of Cornwall were “overjoyed at the arrival of my first grandchild”.
“It is an incredibly special moment for William and Catherine and we are so thrilled for them on the birth of their baby boy,” he added.
“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.”
Royal doctor Mr Setchell described the new arrival as a “wonderful baby, beautiful baby”.
Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking outside Downing Street, hailed the “wonderful news”.
BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said the third in line to the throne could expect to be brought up in a “secure and loving environment”, shielded from many of the pressures of ordinary life but facing the specific challenges his position will bring.
The baby’s future, he said, will be “a lifetime of public curiosity and, in due course, the responsibility of refreshing and taking forward the ancient institution that is the world’s best-known hereditary monarchy”.