AND FUTURE KING MAKES THREE The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital in London …
There was much about the birth of George Alexander Louis, third in line to the British throne, that his parents couldn't control: the timing, the media frenzy, the weight of history. But judging by the decisions Prince William and Kate did make in their son's first weeks, he'll get the best of two very different worlds. In an adaptation from her latest royal biography, Katie Nicholl provides an inside look at the brand-new family.
The manicured lawn of the Middleton family estate was the perfect retreat. Here the proud mother of the new third in line to the throne was free to roam as she pleased without fear of being spied on. The baby-blue Bugaboo pram Kate revealed she had bought weeks before the birth, along with a fully furnished nursery, had been set up at the Manor, the family's 18-acre estate, on the outskirts of Bucklebury, a sleepy village in the middle of the Berkshire countryside where Kate grew up, 50 miles from Buckingham Palace. Surrounded by lush green fields and protected from the outside world by high oak trees and an impenetrable security system, it was like a fortress. Here, cocooned by her family, Kate felt safer than anywhere else in the world.
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The Cambridges had arrived in Bucklebury when their son, Prince George Alexander Louis, was just two days old, and for the first few weeks they barely stepped out the front door. The Middleton family home had been a haven for the couple from the intense media attention surrounding the royal birth. Not only did Kate have to cope with the anxiety of labor for the first time but she was also managing the hopes and expectations of an excited nation.
From the moment the Palace announced the pregnancy, in December, speculation about when the baby was due, the sex, potential names, and where he or she might have been conceived dominated column inches worldwide. One British newspaper reported that the royal baby was due on July 13, while another claimed the due date was July 19. The Palace declined to comment, but since the end of June the media had been assembling outside the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital, in Paddington, in northwest London, where, aides had confirmed, Kate would be giving birth. It was one of the hottest summers in England on record, and as the mercury soared into the 90s the ongoing story known in the media as "the Great Kate Wait" monopolized the news headlines. The merest hint of activity fueled a frenzy of rumors that Kate had gone into labor. When a helicopter landed at Kensington Palace or a police car swept through Bucklebury, the cameras were ready to roll, and newsdesks around the world were on red alert. False reports that the Duchess had gone into labor sent the Twitter-sphere into a meltdown on more than one occasion.
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When William played in a charity polo match in Gloucestershire on July 13 there was speculation that the media might have been misinformed about the due date. By the following weekend, there was still no announcement from the Palace. It wasn't just the hot and flustered media throng that was growing impatient. Prince Charles and Camilla continued their engagements around the country and admitted to well-wishers that they were "all waiting at the end of the telephone," while the Queen told one little girl during a walkabout at Lake Windermere, in Cumbria, that she hoped the royal baby would "hurry up" because she was planning to go to Balmoral for her annual vacation.