Royal baby: How will news of the birth be announced?

The age-old custom of placing a proclamation of birth behind the iron railings of Buckingham Palace will continue with the newest royal

Joan Webb, the registrar of births and deaths for the City of Westminster, with the entry of Prince William of Wales in 1982

Even in the fast-paced age of the internet, palace aides have signalled that tradition will be adhered to for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first-born.

This includes the age-old custom of placing a proclamation of the royal birth behind the iron railings of Buckingham Palace.

The brief bulletin, on headed palace notepaper, confirms the sex of the baby but gives little else away other than that the baby has been “safely delivered” and perhaps the weight.

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It used to be hand-written but is now usually typed and then signed by royal doctors.

Placed in a foolscap-sized dark wooden frame, it's set on an easel behind the railings, just to the side of the front gates of the Queen’s London home for members of the public to read.

When the Queen gave birth to Prince Andrew in 1960, some 2,000 people crowded around the railings as the official confirmation announcing the birth of a son - the Queen’s third child - was fixed there by Stanley Williams, the then Superintendent of the Palace.

The names given to royal babies are not usually revealed straight away and the public is often left guessing for several days.

When Princess Beatrice was born in 1988, it was two weeks before her name was known. When William was born in 1982, his parents the Prince and Princess of Wales waited seven days before deciding upon and announcing his name.

The Prince of Wales’s name remained a mystery for an entire month and was only declared ahead of his christening in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace in December 1948.

William and Kate could, however, buck the trend and unveil their chosen name immediately.

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Royal births are usually celebrated with a Royal Salute of 41 guns. They are registered in the normal way, although the Home Secretary is required to notify certain officials including the Lord Mayor of London, the Governors of Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

The Queen's top aide, her private secretary Sir Christopher Geidt, informs governor generals overseas. Town criers will also sound out the news of the birth of the future monarch.

Alongside these traditions, the baby’s arrival will no doubt also be officially declared via the monarchy's website, on Facebook and summed up neatly in under 140 characters on Twitter - perhaps including an accompanying hashtag - making this royal baby the first future British King or Queen to have news of their birth tweeted by a royal household.

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