NEW: The queen doesn't mind if the baby's a boy or a girl -- she just wants it to arrive soon
A royal source says Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, is overdue
She is expected to give birth at the private Lindo wing of St. Mary's Hospital
Bookies' favorite baby names include Alexandra, Elizabeth, Charlotte, George and James
Kate Bolduan hosts a CNN special on the royal baby ’Will & Kate Plus One’ Thursday, 10pm ET
Royal watchers eagerly await the arrival of a child that will be heir to the British throne. Here’s what you need to know and the latest developments:
• Queen Elizabeth II is among those keen for the new baby to greet the world. On a visit to northern England Wednesday, she was asked by a little girl whether she wants her great-grandchild to be a boy or a girl. The queen replied: “I don’t think I mind. I would very much like it to arrive. I’m going on holiday.”
• The Duchess of Cambridge is now overdue. A royal source tells CNN that her due date was July 13. She and Prince William announced at the start of the year that the baby was due in July, but did not announce the date.
• Prince Charles’ wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, said Monday that the family was on tenterhooks for the baby’s arrival – and suggested it could be very soon. “We’re all waiting at the end of a telephone,” she said, in an exchange filmed by ITV. “I hope by the end of the week, he or she will be there.”
• The baby will have the title His or Her Royal Highness Prince or Princess (the baby’s name) of Cambridge, St. James’s Palace said this month. However, it could be as long as 10 days before the baby’s name is announced.
• Speculation on what that name will be is rife – and betting is going strong. Bookies’ favorites include Alexandra, Elizabeth or Charlotte for a girl, and George or James for a boy.
– Anyone born in Britain on the same day as William and Catherine’s baby will receive a special coin from the Royal Mint: a silver penny, dated 2013, that will come in a blue pouch for a boy or a pink one for a girl.
– Catherine is expected to give birth at the private Lindo wing of St. Mary’s Hospital, next to Paddington Station in London. It’s where William was born. Catherine’s mother, Carole Middleton, is likely to be on hand at the hospital.
• The first indication that the royal baby is on its way will be an announcement in the media that the duchess has been admitted to the hospital in the early stages of labor, royal sources tell CNN. The next public announcement is expected to be that of the birth. It will be made in the form of a formal bulletin, signed by medical staff and rushed in a car with a police escort to Buckingham Palace. There, the notice will be placed in a gilt frame positioned on an easel – the same one used to announce William’s birth – and placed in the palace forecourt for all to see.
• The first to know about the royal baby will be Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister David Cameron and the governors general of each of the commonwealth nations, along with the rest of the royal and Middleton families. If the baby arrives in the middle of the night, it’s unlikely the queen will be awoken, so there is a chance in that instance that an official announcement will not be made until the following morning.
• Celebratory gun salutes will be sounded by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Green Park (41 rounds) and the Honorable Artillery Company at the Tower of London (62 rounds) after the baby is born.
• William and Catherine did not want to know the sex of their baby beforehand, royal sources say. There has been speculation it is a girl, however, especially after a member of the public said in March that the duchess almost uttered “daughter” while at a public event in Grimsby. The woman said the duchess was given a teddy bear and replied, “Thank you, I will take that for my d–” but then stopped herself.
• The baby will be third in line to the throne after Prince Charles and Prince William, regardless of gender. A rule change in 2011 ended centuries of male primogeniture, which decreed that the crown passed to the eldest son and was bestowed on a daughter only when there were no sons. It means that if the next royal baby is a girl, she will eventually become queen; previously, a younger male sibling would have taken precedence.
• The queen’s cousin, Margaret Rhodes, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour she hoped the child would have a normal childhood. “I imagine and hope that its early life, until it’s at least in its teens, will be just a jolly, happy, ordinary child’s life,” she said.
• It’s not known where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge plan to spend the days and weeks following the birth. William is expected to be given the usual paternity leave of two weeks by the Ministry of Defence, royal sources say. He will then return to his job as a helicopter search and rescue pilot.
• The revelation that Catherine was pregnant came after she was admitted to a London hospital in December for acute morning sickness.