LONDON — The heir is almost apparent.
Britain and the world waited for news Monday afternoon, after Prince William's wife, Kate, checked into the private wing of a central London hospital and palace officials announced that she was in labor. William was at his wife's side for the birth of their first child.
It is a historic moment for the British monarchy — the baby will be third in line for the British throne, after Prince Charles and William, and should eventually become king or queen.
William and Kate entered St. Mary's Hospital in central London through a side door early Monday morning, avoiding the world's media. Kensington Palace confirmed her arrival about 90 minutes later. Royal officials said they traveled by car, without a police escort, just before 6 a.m. Kate — also known as the Duchess of Cambridge — is expected to give birth in the private Lindo Wing of the hospital, where Princess Diana also gave birth to William and his younger brother, Prince Harry.
"Things are progressing as normal," the couple's spokesman said.
Palace officials are not expected to provide many details about how her labor is progressing. The baby is in line to become Britain's monarch and be recognized as head of state in 15 other countries, including Canada and Australia, playing a leading role in charting the future of the Commonwealth. But little else is known, including how the baby will arrive — it is not clear if Kate will have a natural birth or deliver by a cesarean section — its gender and its name.