Your Burning Royal Baby Questions, Answered

The Duchess of Cambridge in June. Photo: Getty ImagesThe latest rumor in the ongoing royal-baby frenzy is a doozie: Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge reportedly left Kate’s parents in Bucklebury for London at 3pm (U.K. time) on Friday, meaning the infant’s arrival could be imminent. Buckingham Palace, though, would not confirm it, telling Yahoo! Shine, "We won't discuss positions or movements of police who are part of the royal diplomatic protection group."

While we’re waiting to find out if it’s true, let’s go over the most burning questions and review what we know so far, shall we?

What is Kate’s actual due date?
The Royal Palace has only ever announced that the due date was in “July,” which a spokesperson reiterated for Yahoo! Shine Friday. “We have always said July. The Duchess herself announced that she will give mid-July on a number of engagements.” For the past few weeks of Royal Baby Fever, meanwhile, news outlets have been camped out at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, going by the belief that the precise due date was July 13. But the latest update, according to “well-placed sources,” as reported by the Daily Telegraph, is that today, July 19, is the true royal baby due date.

That would mean we could be waiting up to another two weeks for the heralded arrival, as due dates are always estimates, and it’s normal and healthy for babies to be born anytime from two weeks before to two weeks after such a date. In fact, only 5 percent of babies are born on their actual due date. Further, though it’s widely considered an old wives’ tale that first babies are born past their due dates, a recent study found evidence that they were indeed slightly more apt to be born “late,” at 41 weeks or later as compared to the more hoped-for 40 weeks.

However, on Friday, a Palace aide reportedly told Us Weekly that the July 19 due date is “not true,” and that “Kate’s due date has passed.” In that case…

…If it is true that Kate is late, why isn’t her labor being induced?
Again, a truly late baby would be still in-utero only after two weeks past his or her estimated due date. Though some women could opt for induction sooner, reports have consistently stated that Kate is hoping for a natural birth—and even planning to use the technique known as HypnoBirthing, rather than drugs, to help get her through it. For Kate, going for an elective induction (as opposed to one that’s medically proscribed, for reasons that could include preeclampsia and hypertension) would fly in the face of such a wish. Rumors that an induction plan could be in place if baby hasn’t arrived by the end of this week kicked into high gear on Monday, when Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, said, “We are all just waiting by the telephone. We are hopeful that by the end of the week he or she will be here." The palace told Yahoo! Shine it would not discuss any medical details or plans surrounding the birth.

How will we know when Kate goes into labor?The Palace has stated, and confirmed with Yahoo! Shine Friday, that it will publicly announce when Kate is in labor. But only after it is satisfied that Kate is safely inside the hospital. Then details of the baby's sex and weight will be written down, and someone will be seen leaving the hospital carrying an envelope containing the news, amidst a swirl of pomp and circumstance. Those details will be personally delivered to Buckingham Palace, and then displayed in the front courtyard on the same wooden easel used to announce Prince William's birth.

So far, no word—though it hasn’t stopped a rumor that Kate may actually be in labor, sparked when Queen Elizabeth II abruptly and without warning left a scheduled appearance at a cricket match on Thursday. But the palace had not much to say about that on Friday. “I don’t know the link between the cricket match and labor. But once the duchess has been admitted to the hospital we will release a press release. We have not at this stage issued a press release. If it was yesterday we would have admitted it by now.”

Where is the very pregnant duchess spending these final days before the birth?
Kate is reportedly relaxing at her parents’ house in Bucklebury, about 50 miles and an hour’s drive from London, to escape the city’s heat. But the Palace wouldn’t confirm it, telling Yahoo! Shine, “We won’t comment on where they are unless they’re on an official engagement, their private time is their private time. We don’t comment because it’s their private time.”

Will she definitely give birth at St. Mary’s?
And are mobs of reporters—and a growing number of tourists—gathered at the wrong hospital? That’s the latest frightful rumor going around, considering Kate’s alleged location in Bucklebury, which is much closer to another hospital, in Reading. But reports have consistently repeated Kate’s desire to give birth in the same hospital where Princess Diana delivered Prince William. A palace representative was vague about hospital plans, telling Yahoo! Shine, “We’ve never on the record confirmed which hospital that she will be admitted to.”

At Queen Elizabeth's birthday parade on June 15. For her last public appearance before her due date, Middleton wore custom Alexander McQueen as she stood in the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the... more 
At Queen Elizabeth's birthday parade on June 15. For her last public appearance before her due date, Middleton wore custom Alexander McQueen as she stood in the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony. The light wool crepe coat features flattering side darts, three-quarter sleeves, an oversized collar, and big pearl buttons. Her coordinating hat is by Jane Corbett, and she wore it once before at the queen's Buckingham Palace garden party in 2012. She accessorized with a small gray clutch, pretty pearl earrings, and, best of all, an ear-to-ear grin. less 
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Fri, Jul 19, 2013 1:00 PM EDT