The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a baby son.
The royal baby was delivered at 4.24pm, weighing 8lb 6oz, Kensington Palace confirmed, while a name will be announced ‘in due course’.
Both mother and baby are said to be doing well at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, central London, and will remain there overnight.
Prince William was present at the birth and said the couple ‘could not be happier’ after becoming parents for the first time.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh said they were ‘delighted’ at the news, while Prince Charles said he was ‘enormously proud and happy’ following the birth of his first grandchild.
The announcement had originally been expected to be delivered in the traditional manner, with a bulletin posted outside Buckingham Palace, but in the event the news was confirmed before the notice was displayed.
Kensington Palace confirmed the birth in an official statement shortly after 8.20pm, with the birth notice posted a few minutes later.
The couple’s first child becomes the third in line to the throne.
Kate Middleton was admitted to the Lindo wing of St Mary’s Hospital, in Paddington, central London – where Prince William and Harry were born – at 6am this morning.
The couple, both 31, travelled to the hospital by car, without a police escort, and managed to avoid the majority of the world’s press, who have camped outside the hospital for the last few weeks.
The Duchess was tended to by a top medical team led by the Queen’s former gynaecologist Marcus Setchell, who delivered the Countess of Wessex’s two children.
The couple, who married in April 2011, announced that they were expecting their first child in December.
They were forced to reveal the news before the pregnancy reached the 12-week stage after Kate was admitted to King Edward VII hospital suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum – severe morning sickness.
After recovering at home Kate made her first public appearance after leaving hospital at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony later that month, presenting cyclist Bradley Wiggins with the award.
Her last public appearance saw the Duchess of Cambridge attend the annual Trooping the Colour parade, marking the Queen’s 87th birthday.
Kate’s due date was believed to be July 13, with Clarence House only saying the baby was expected ‘mid-July’.
The Duchess of Cornwall hinted Kate was overdue last week, saying the royals were ‘waiting by the telephone’ and that they were ‘hopeful that by the end of the week he or she will be here’.
It is believed the next time the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be seen in public is when they appear on the steps of the hospital with their baby.
History suggests it will be a few days before the couple announce the name of their new arrival.
When William was born in 1982, his parents, the Prince and Princess of Wales, waited seven days before deciding upon and announcing his name.