London - Prince William's wife Kate was admitted early on Saturday to a London hospital for the birth of the couple's second child, who will be fourth in line to the throne and the fifth grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II.
In a brief statement, palace officials said the Duchess of Cambridge was admitted at 06:00 local time on Saturday at St Mary's Hospital. She travelled by car to the Lindo wing with William.
The baby will be a younger brother or sister to William and Kate's first child, Prince George, who was born July 22 2013 at the same hospital. William, who is on leave from his job as an air ambulance pilot, was at his wife's side in the hospital, as he was for George's birth.
Royal officials are not expected to provide any more information until the birth, which will be announced on Twitter and Instagram. That announcement will say what gender the baby is, as well as its weight and the time of birth.
Prime Minister David Cameron sent his best wishes in a Twitter message. "The whole country will wish her well," he said.
Die-hard royal fans
Anticipation has been building for days. Kate had told a well-wisher earlier this year that the child was due in the second two weeks of April, kicking off what the tabloid press called the Great Kate Wait.
Die-hard royal fans have camped outside the hospital, draped in Union Jack flags and waving festive banners. They have waited patiently on the sidewalk, hoping for a glimpse of the family.
"I told you it'd be a weekend baby," royal camper Kathy Martin said outside the Lindo Wing.
The world's media have gathered outside the hospital, waiting for news. The couple has been anxious to avoid the media circus that accompanied George's birth, and camera crews began setting up only after the announcement Saturday morning.
Kate will be residing in style. Each en-suite in the private maternity unit has Wifi, satellite television, a radio, a safe, a bedside phone and a refrigerator. The wing also offers a "comprehensive wine list should you wish to enjoy a glass of champagne and toast your baby's arrival".
Kate gets a 10% loyalty discount, as she had her first child there as well.
A suite now costs £6 570 ($10 034) for a one-night stay with normal delivery —or £5 913 with Kate's discount. Doctors' fees are extra.
The couple has said that they don't know whether the baby will be a boy or a girl. A girl will hold her place in succession, and would be the first to benefit from a change in the law which had always put men ahead of their sisters.
The pending birth and uncertainty about the gender has been a boon for Britain's bookmakers, who say they have received thousands of bets on the newborn's gender and possible name.
Most people seem convinced that it will be a girl, despite the lack of any solid evidence to back that up.
All the top bets for the baby's name are for girls — Alice and Charlotte are the clear favourites, followed by Elizabeth, Victoria and Diana. All of the names have strong connections to royal tradition.
Prince Charles has signaled — twice — that he's hoping for a granddaughter, which led some to speculate that Charles had some inside information.
But many probably just hope Britain will see a new princess: The monarchy has not welcomed a princess born this high up the line of succession for many years.
Princess Anne, Charles' sister, was born third in line in 1950. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the daughters of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, were fifth and sixth in line at the time of their birth.
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