— A great-grandson to Queen Elizabeth has been born in London, becoming third in line to the throne.
In this age of social media and instant worldwide communication, the royal birth was announced on Twitter as well as the traditional way - a brief notice posted outside Buckingham Palace.
The baby’s name has not yet been announced and no photo has been made public.
As soon as he was born Monday afternoon, he became third in line to the British throne.
The baby was born to the Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton, wife of the queen’s grandson Prince William. She spoke about the importance of family and her desire to have children during a Reuters interview shortly after she and the prince were engaged three years ago.
“It’s very important to me. And, you know, I hope we’ll be able to have a happy family ourselves," she said.
People gather outside a floodlit Buckingham Palace in London to mark the birth of a baby boy to Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, July 22, 2013.
The London Eye on the banks of the Thames is lit up in red, blue and white to mark the birth of a baby boy to Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, London, July 22, 2013.
An easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace carries an official document to announce the birth of a baby boy, at 4:24pm to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at St. Mary's Hospital, July 22, 2013.
Members of media give live reports across from St. Mary's Hospital exclusive Lindo Wing in London, July 22, 2013.
British police officers guard the entrance of St. Mary's Hospital exclusive Lindo Wing in London, July 22, 2013.
Royal fan Margaret Tyler waits outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, where Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge is expected to give birth, in London July 20, 2013.
Women pretending to be pregnant and wearing masks of Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge pose outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, where the Duchess of Cambridge is expected to give birth, in London July 18, 2013.
A bookmaker agency employee poses for the photographers with a board of odds regarding the royal baby's name near St. Mary's Hospital, London, July 17, 2013.
Royal fans sit outside St. Mary's Hospital in anticipation of the birth of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge's, first baby in central London, July 16, 2013.
Representatives from a betting company wear baby masks outside St. Mary's Hospital in London, July 12, 2013.
Cards depicting the 'royal baby,' either as a boy or a girl, are shown outside St. Mary's Hospital, London, July 11, 2013.
Prince William is second in line to the throne, after his father, Prince Charles. The royal baby is also the grandson of the late Princess Diana.
The pomp and ceremony of a monarchy, and its system of hereditary succession, seem hopelessly outdated to some.
But not to historian Miles Taylor at the University of London.
“I think there is still a place for monarchy. It is the most visible and familiar symbol of our national identity, whether that’s British or English or formerly imperial, now Commonwealth. People not only respect it, they are enthralled to it," he said.
Indeed, the royal baby was a celebrity before he was born, complete with his own unofficial souvenirs. But the role he will inherit will be very different from the one his great-grandmother took on more than 60 years ago. Queen Elizabeth presided over the evolution of the royal family from an unapproachable imperial ideal to a modern, less formal “first family.”
Still, someday, barring unforeseen tragedy or political upheaval, the new royal baby will become King - head of state in more than a dozen countries, leader of the 54-nation Commonwealth and symbol of Britain’s national identity - with a lineage dating back hundreds of years. It’s a heavy responsibility, one the child will spend a lifetime preparing to take on.
* For official news about the royal baby's birth, you can follow @BritishMonarchy and/or @ClarenceHouse on Twitter.