The public's insatiable interest in Kate Middleton's baby was piqued further this week when details of her birth plan were revealed. It's easy to forget that Kate is a first-time mum like any other, and will no doubt be experiencing the same excitement and apprehension felt by all women in that position.
It comes as no surprise then that as she prepares to welcome her baby under the watchful eye of the world press, Kate wants to keep her loved ones close.
But while a newspaper reported that the Duchess, 31, asked her mother Carole and younger sister Pippa to be by her side when she goes into labour, HELLO! understands that this is not the case.
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Kate — who wants to give birth naturally, unless nature intervenes — hopes to have her husband Prince William with her. William is said to be determined to make it to the delivery suite in the private Lindo suit in St Mary's Hospital, Paddington "by hook or by crook".
It's understood that the new dad will take two weeks paternity leave, as allowed by the Ministry of Defence.
Royal aides have appealed for an "appropriate degree of sensitivity" regarding the royal arrival. The birth was a "very personal matter for the Duke and Duchess," they said. "But they also know it's a time to celebrate and many will want to share in their joy."
It has been revealed that Kate and William decided not to find out the sex of their firstborn, which will be delivered in the Lindo Wing of St Mary's — where Prince William and Prince Harry were both born. The baby will be delivered by Marcus Setchell, the Queen's gynecologist.
After the arrival, an official announcement will be signed by medical staff and driven to Buckingham Palace, almost certainly under police escort. The notice will then be placed at the Palace central gates.
It's not known how long it will be before the baby's name is revealed. When Prince Harry was born, the public were told his name the day Princess Diana left the hospital. But it took almost a week for his older brother's name to be announced.
All the news as Duchess Kate's due date draws close...