— Besotted royal-watchers across the world waited for their first glimpse of Britain's new prince on Tuesday, with Prince William and his wife Kate expected to leave a London hospital soon with their baby son.
WATCH NOW: view at St. Mary's Hospital
Kate, 31, gave birth to the couple's first child, who is third in line to the British throne, on Monday afternoon, ending weeks of feverish anticipation about the arrival.
Royal aides said the couple and their newborn were all doing well and expected to leave St. Mary's Hospital early on Tuesday evening or possibly Wednesday morning.
The baby's name will be announced later. George and James, both traditional royal names, were favored choices with British bookmakers for the child who is destined to be king one day.
Kate's parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, gave no clues about the name when they became the first visitors to see the royal couple and their new child in hospital on Tuesday.
Asked if she would reveal the baby's name, Carole Middleton laughed and said: “Absolutely not.”
“He is absolutely beautiful,” she told the ranks of reporters after their visit, adding that Kate and William were “both doing really well”.
Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge (L) and his wife Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge leave the King Edward VII hospital in central London, on December 6, 2012.
Kate and William are expected to adhere to tradition by giving the public the first sight of the royal baby on the steps when they leave St Mary's in west London - just as William's father Prince Charles and late mother, Princess Diana, did with him.
“We're here to witness history, where a future monarch has been born. I just can't wait to see them today,” said Maria Scott, a housewife from Newcastle in northern England who has camped outside the hospital since Saturday.
Kensington Palace announced the arrival of the boy, weighing
8 lb 6 oz (3.8 kg) at about 8:30 p.m., on Monday, four hours after his birth, saying Kate and her child were doing well and would remain in hospital overnight.
William, who said he and Kate could not be happier, was with them.
Their son is third in line to the throne after grandfather Charles and William, 31, and pushes the fun-loving Prince Harry, William's brother, into fourth place.
“I'm thrilled and very excited,” said Charles during an official visit to northern England.
His second wife, Camilla, said: “I think mother, son and father are all well. And I think it's a wonderfully uplifting moment for the country,” adding that Charles would make a “brilliant” grandfather.
Congratulations flooded in from around the world after the announcement of the birth, which was followed moment-by-moment by global media as well as TV and press in Britain.
British tabloid newspaper the Sun
temporarily renamed itself the Son
in honor of the baby and most newspapers issued special supplements. Three trumpeted the banner headline “It's a Boy”.
A man buys a newspaper displaying the news of the Royal birth by Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in central London, July 23, 2013. Already touted as one of the most famous babies in the world, the first child of Prince William and wife Kate face
The birth fuels a new wave of popularity for the House of Windsor led by the younger royals, William and Harry, who were both born to Diana at St Mary's Hospital.
Support for the royals dipped after Diana's death in a car crash in Paris in 1997, a year after her divorce from Charles, as the royals were accused of being out of touch with modern Britain over their handling of the aftermath.
But last year's celebrations of Queen Elizabeth's 60th year on the throne showed support for the monarchy was running at a record high.
Hordes of TV crews and photographers, and royal fans wrapped in Union Jack flags, remained camped outside the hospital, waiting for the first photo of the baby, who will be called the Prince of Cambridge.
To mark the birth, the Royal Artillery unleashed a 41-gun salute at London's Green Park and 62 rounds were fired at the Tower of London. Bells at Westminster Abbey, where the couple were married in April 2011, rang out for more than three hours.
Outside the Queen's Buckingham Palace London residence, a military band played “Congratulations” following the traditional Changing of the Guard ceremony.
Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, wave as they travel in the 1902 State Landau carriage along the Processional Route to Buckingham Palace, in London, April 29, 2011.
William and Kate, who met when they were students at St Andrews University in Scotland about 10 years ago, have officially been known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge since their sumptuous wedding.
The couple, who have been living in a cottage in north Wales where William is based as a Royal Air Force helicopter pilot, will eventually take up residence with their baby at Apartment 1A at London's Kensington Palace, William's childhood home, when a one million pound refurbishment is completed later this year.
Royal experts said after they leave the hospital, the new prince will be taken out of the public glare.
“All we will probably see is a glimpse of the top of the baby's head,” said Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty
“After that we won't see them for some time. Having a baby is a very private moment and they are a private couple so the next time we see the baby will be the official photo and that could be weeks.”
Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate hold the Prince of Cambridge, July 23, 2013, outside the exclusive Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital in London where the Duchess gave birth.
Kate, Duchess of Cambridge holds the Prince of Cambridge, July 23, 2013, outside St. Mary's Hospital in London.
Britain's Prince William carries his new born son, the Prince of Cambridge, into public view for the first time, outside the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital, in London, July 23, 2013.
Prince Charles and his wife Camila, Duchess of Cornwall arrive at St. Mary's Hospital in London where Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to a baby boy on Monday July 22.
A Mothercare store displays a poster congratulating Britain's Prince William and his wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, on the birth of their baby boy, on Oxford Street, central London, July 23, 2013.
A man buys a newspaper displaying the news of the royal birth by Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, central London, July 23, 2013.
Michael and Carole Middleton arrive at the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital the day after their daughter, Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to a baby boy, London, July 23, 2013.
An impromptu picnic as supporters await the departure of Britain's Prince William, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and the Prince of Cambridge, outside the entrance of the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital in London, July 23, 2013.
Models of Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and their newborn baby, are seen on sale in a Mothercare store, central London, July 23, 2013.
The British Telecom tower displays "it's a boy" to mark the birth of a baby boy for Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and her husband, Prince William, London July 23, 2013.
The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery fire a 41-Gun Royal Salute to mark the birth of the royal baby, in Green Park, central London, July 23, 2013.
Not all Britons were celebrating the news however. Britain's small Republican movement said it was wrong the future head of state should be chosen by birth.
“Storms over London. God must be unhappy with media coverage too,” the campaign group Republic tweeted as sweltering London was hit by a heavy downpour of rain.