Prince William, Catherine and their baby boy were spending their first day as a family yesterday inside a London hospital, thanking staff for their care but making well-wishers wait for a first glimpse of the royal heir.
As celebratory lights, gun salutes and other tributes were unleashed in Britain and abroad, William thanked staff at St Mary’s Hospital “for the tremendous care the three of us have received.”
“We know it has been a very busy period for the hospital and we would like to thank everyone — staff, patients and visitors — for their understanding during this time,” he said in a statement.
The couple’s Kensington Palace office said the Duchess of Cambridge had given birth to the 3.8kg boy at 4:24pm on Monday, triggering an impromptu party outside Buckingham Palace and in front of the hospital’s private Lindo Wing.
The palace yesterday said that “mother, son and father are all doing well this morning.”
The new family was expected to remain in the hospital until last night or this morning.
In the meantime the infant’s appearance — and his name — remain a royal mystery.
Tourists and well-wishers flocked to the palace yesterday, lining up outside the gates to take pictures of the golden easel on which, in keeping with royal tradition, the birth announcement was displayed.
Other celebrations included gun salutes by royal artillery companies to honor the birth and the ringing of bells at London’s Westminster Abbey.
Halfway around the world, royalist group Monarchy New Zealand said it had organized a national light show, with 40 buildings across the islands lit up in blue to commemorate the royal birth, including Sky Tower in Auckland, the airport in Christchurch and Larnach Castle in the South Island city of Dunedin.
A similar lighting ceremony took place in Canada; Peace Tower and parliament buildings in Ottawa were bathed in blue light, as was CN Tower in Toronto.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said an enclosure at Sydney’s Taronga Park Zoo would be named after the new prince as part of a gift from Australia. The government would donate A$10,000 (US$9,300) on the baby’s behalf toward a research project at the zoo to save the endangered bilby, a rabbit-like marsupial whose numbers are dwindling in the wild.
British media joined in the celebration, with many newspapers coming out with souvenir editions.