The #GreatKateWait is over! In just over 12 hours, Princess Kate was admitted to the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, welcomed her second child with husband Prince William, presented her little girl (!) to the world, and headed home to Kensington Palace.
But there’s still plenty of royal baby news to get excited about. From the pre-baby buzz to the post-birth details, PEOPLE will be there every step of the way, and we’re covering it all here in real time.
Keep your eyes on this space for details on everything royal baby.
To follow the royal baby’s birth from the very beginning, click here.
Tuesday, May 5, 3:00 p.m. BST: Officially bringing the royal baby watch to a close, Kensington Palace shared Princess Charlotte’s just-registered birth certificate on Twitter.
Tuesday, May 5, 2:40 p.m. BST: At long last, the Queen meets her fifth great-grandchild. Queen Elizabeth arrived at Kensington Palace this afternoon to be formally introduced to Princess Charlotte.
Monday, May 4, 5:05 p.m. BST: William and Kate are set to spend one more night at Kensington Palace before departing for their Norfolk home, Anmer Hall, on Tuesday. Before they go, however, it seems likely that Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana will meet one of her namesakes: The Queen has left Sandringham, and it is believed that she’ll meet the newest member of her family in London tomorrow.
Monday, May 4, 3:25 p.m. BST: Bookmakers are believed to have paid out £1 million as William and Kate named their little Princess, Charlotte.
Charlotte was the most popular bet since Kate, 33 gave birth over the weekend. Three times as many wagers were placed on Charlotte compared to Alice, Diana and Olivia, with Ladbrokes, forcing the odds in to 3/1 from 6/1, leaving punters jumping for joy as royal betting records were broken. Those who picked Charlotte when the couple first announced Kate was expecting will have been quids in — with a payout at odds of 25/1.
Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes said in a statement: “Charlotte was the hot tip over the weekend and royal watchers up and down the land are quids in. We may have lost a fortune but we’re paying out with a smile and wish the Duke and Duchess all the best.”
Monday, May 4, 3:00 p.m. BST: The little princess has a name! Kensington Palace announced on Monday that Will and Kate have named their daughter Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. Making this birth even more sweet and sentimental, two very important relatives — Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana — were recognized in the naming. Beyond those obvious namesakes, Charlotte’s name is filled with significance: Charlotte is the female version of Charles, William’s father’s name, as well as the middle name of Kate’s sister, Pippa, and Elizabeth is both Kate and her mother Carole’s middle name.
Monday, May 3, 2:00 p.m. BST: In keeping with royal tradition, British soldiers fired volleys in honor of the little princess’s birth in London’s Hyde Park (a 41-gun salute) and at the Tower of London (a 62-gun salute) today.
Sunday, May 3, 6:05 p.m. BST: After an hours-long visit, Carole Middleton and Pippa left Kensington Palace just after 6 o’clock. Shortly after, Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, the director of midwifery at London’s Imperial College arrived at the palace at 6:10 p.m.
Sunday, May 3, 5:00 p.m. BST: With a big smile on his face, Michael Middleton drove away from Kensington Palace
Sunday, May 3, 4:30 p.m. BST: Prince Harry, who is currently in Australia on military duty, released a statement about his new niece: “She is absolutely beautiful.” How adorable.
Sunday, May 3, 2:25 p.m. BST: Prince Charles and Camilla wave to the crowd as they drive away from Kensington Palace, after spending an hour and a half with their new granddaughter.
Sunday, May 3, 1:35 p.m. BST: Kate’s father, Michael Middleton, arrives at Kensington Palace solo to greet his new granddaughter.
Sunday, May 3, 11:31 a.m. BST: She was just born yesterday, but Prince William and Princess Kate’s little girl is already receiving plenty of visitors. Proud grandmum Carole Middleton just drove into Kensington Palace in a black Range Rover with Pippa in the passenger seat. An hour and a half later, Prince Charles, 66, arrived at the palace with Camilla, 67, to meet his granddaughter for the first time driving a light green Audi. Friends of Will and Kate’s also stopped by: A couple thought to be Kate’s close friend Emilia Jardine-Patterson and her husband drove up to the palace around 12:00 p.m. BST.
May 2, 6:40 p.m. BST:
The electric atmosphere in front of the Lindo Wing following William, Kate and their newborn daughter’s big exit from the hospital continued after the car pulled away as fans excitedly gushed about the moment everyone’s been waiting for.
May 2, 6:20 p.m. BST: Here she is! Kate, with William at her side, held her infant daughter on the steps of the Lindo Wing. She wore a white-and-yellow Jenny Packham dress for the occasion. The two posed for photographs for a few minutes before ducking back inside to grab the car seat. William then strapped his daughter into the Range Rover, and drove the family home to Kensington Palace.
This embed is invalid
May 2, 5:30 p.m. BST: Prince George has left the building. After spending some time with his baby sister, the new big brother returned home to Kensington Palace. Later this evening, his family will join him there: Kensington Palace tweeted that Prince William, Princess Kate, and the newborn Princess of Cambridge will return home this evening. They also thanked the hospital staff for their care, and the public for their warm wishes.
May 2, 4:15 p.m. BST: Prince George managed a brief slightly bemused wave as his proud dad took him to see his new sister. Looking towards ranks of camera crews and photographers, he and William, 32, stopped to pose for a moment before heading into St Mary’s hospital. They had got out of the second of two Range Rovers and initially William tried to get him to walk along the sidewalk. Then, to cheers from well wishers down the streets, he hoisted his son up and carried him towards the door. As he turned to go up the steps, William kissed his son on the head.
This embed is invalid
May 2, 4:00 p.m. BST: Prince William has left the Lindo Wing — but not for long. The proud dad stepped out in a blue sweater and told onlookers “We’re very happy, very happy.” He also said who will be returning with him: “I’m just going to pick up George.”
May 2, 3:30 p.m. BST: The Queen is clearly happy about her newest great-grandchild! The monarch stepped out at an event in Yorkshire dressed in pink.
May 2, 3:00 p.m. BST: News of the royal birth is still spreading through Princess Kate’s hometown of Bucklebury. Diners in all the local pubs can be heard telling their friends “She’s had a girl!” This is nearly always followed by a big cry of “Oh, that’s fantastic. How lovely!” But that doesn’t mean the locals are going overboard: In true British style they are taking it all in their stride and not letting the royal birth get in the way of their Saturday lunch or afternoon stroll. “Today’s my birthday too.” a local tells PEOPLE. “But I don’t think my arrival caused quite so much fuss!”
May 2, 2:00 p.m. BST: The lunch-time atmosphere at the Duchess of Cambridge pub is quiet, but still maintains a detectable buzz of excitement as the news of the baby princess continues to circulate. “It’s just fantastic news, isn’t it?” John Johnson, the pub’s manager, says to PEOPLE. “The thing is now, she’s got one of each. It’s just going to be fantastic. I think it’s probably just what she needed on a bank holiday weekend.” The pub, which has been anxiously planning a celebratory garden party for the royal arrival, says the festivities will commence tomorrow, just as soon as the word is spread around.
May 2, 2:00 p.m. BST: Outside Buckingham Palace, people continue to share their thoughts on potential names for the little princess. Sophie Poole, age 7, is here with mom, Jennifer, from Gloucester, was hoping to have something special in common with the royal baby. “I was hoping for the baby to be born tomorrow on my birthday when I turn eight but I’m not too disappointed,” she tells PEOPLE. “I would’ve also been as happy if it had been a boy! I would like her to be called Alice.” Mom Jennifer added: “We think she might have Diana in her name somewhere, maybe as the second name.”
May 2, 1:40 p.m. BST: The celebration isn’t over yet! The (unofficial) town crier is still making the rounds near the hospital and ringing his bell.
May 2, 1:15 p.m. BST: Former royal chef Darren McGrady knows exactly what Prince William’s late mum would be feeling now — utter pride and love and support for Princess Kate. That’s because he witnessed how Princess Diana welcomed his own daughter Kelly when his wife Wendy gave birth. On August 22 1996, she wrote “Many congratulations on the safe arrival of your little lady! With love from Diana.” He tells PEOPLE, “This is exactly the sort of wishes the Princess would be saying to Kate today. “Congratulations William and Kate. Princess Diana would have been dancing with joy around Kensington Palace today at the news of her new grand daughter. The “little girl” she desperately longed for.”
May 2, 1:00 p.m. BST: Inga van Detmrent, 26, from The Netherlands, is in the packed crowd trying to get close to see the easel with the birth announcement at Buckingham Palace. ” I had to come! This is part of history! We’re monarquists too at home.”
Lyn Beardsley, no age given, from Australia, is also thrilled. As the lineoces very slowly, she says, “we just heard from someone as we walked down the Mall. The whole city is vibrant and full of energy! Weight have to pop some champagne tonight. It’s special, a little princess!”
Here from Florida, Sue Serpone, 61, says, “I’m ecstatic and happy. I would love to see them use Diana as the middle name.”
May 2, 12:45 p.m. BST: London’s Tower Bridge glows pink in honor of the little Princess’s birth.
May 2, 12:25 p.m. BST: And the easel has made its debut. At 12:25, a Buckingham Palace employee in black suit and red gilet put the traditional golden easel, which displays the new princess’s birth announcement, up behind the main gates. There were some initial screams of excitement from happy onlookers, but the crowds quickly organized so as to see the easel in orderly fashion. Victoria Rollason, 30, from Coventry, England, says: “It’s historical isn’t it? The atmosphere is great! It’s a once in a lifetime memory.”
May 2, 12:00 p.m. BST: As throngs of memorabilia-clad royals fans wave their flags and parade their celebratory signs in honor of the new princess, Praed Street souvenir and gift shop London Red Bus mirrors the excitement about the newest royal birthday. “These days are looking really good–obviously sales are going up,” Shan, a shop employee, tells PEOPLE.”People are really coming to see and are excited about the royal birth. The last one that was born, it was really nice on that day and during that period. We hope this time will be the same.” As for the electric atmosphere of the hospital and surrounding area, Shan says with a smile, “It’s making us really happy.”
May 2, 12:00 p.m. BST: Charles Spencer, sister to Princess Diana, uncle to William and Harry, great uncle to Prince George and his new sister, and the ninth Earl Spencer, tweeted his congratulations to his nephew and niece-in-law on the birth of their daughter.
May 2, 11:45 a.m. BST: A palace official descended the steps of St. Mary’s Hospital’s Lindo Wing, ringing a celebratory bell and shouting the royal proclamation over the roaring crowd. “Oh yea! Oh yea! On this day, the second of May, in the year 2015, we welcome with humble duty the second born of their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The princess is fourth in line to the throne. May our princess be long-lived, healthy and glorious, and, mainly, long reign over us. God save the queen!” The throngs of royal fans who have been devotedly planted at the hospital pining for the big moment are now parading along the sidewalk, singing, dancing and shouting in honor of the new baby princess.
This embed is invalid
May 2, 11:45 a.m. BST: Crowds were more interested in the Changing of the Guard than in the news of a new baby sister for George outside Buckingham Palace this morning. But some tourists were excited. “We’d like her to be called Victoria,” said Louise Delorte, 49, from France. “That’s a very British Royal name.” James Moir, 8, visiting London with his family from Worcester for the day, was slightly disappointed. “George should have a brother and he should have been called James,” he said. But the baby girl can be called Elizabeth, “like my aunties,” he conceded. Asked which Royal is his favourite he replied Henry VIII!” And Fabriio Fontana, 47, here from Italy with his daughter Alice, said she feels that will be the name. “We are very happy it’s a girl and hope she chooses the name Alice.”
May 2, 11:45 a.m. BST: One of Kate’s key charities was among the first to send congratulations. East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) has spoken of their delight following the birth the couple’s daughter. Kate, 33, became Royal Patron of EACH in January 2012 and has provided the charity with many great benefits including raising awareness and understanding of the charity’s services, boosting the media profile and inspiring people to raise funds. Graham Butland, EACH Chief Executive, said in a statement, “We’d like to sincerely congratulate The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their second child. We’re delighted by the fantastic news. “Her Royal Highness has shown great dedication to the role of EACH Royal Patron from the very beginning in January 2012, right throughout both pregnancies, and we’re incredibly grateful for all the support the charity has received.
May 2, 11:27 a.m. BST: The Royal Navy tweeted out an adorable message of congratulations from the HMS Lancaster.
May 2, 11:15 a.m. BST: Local shop owner Lynda Tillotson was the first to celebrate the arrival of the new princess. The owner of L Interiors proudly placed a baby deep sleep pillow spray in her shop window as soon as she found out the news. It’s something that William and Kate could probably make use of themselves in the coming weeks. “I am totally delighted that we have got a princess,” Tillotson tells PEOPLE. “Kate will be totally delighted. Obviously, she would have been happy with a boy or a girl, but to have a princess is mega. Carole will be completely over the moon too. She has a granddaughter. She has one of each!”
May 2, 11:00 a.m. BST: News that it’s a girl hits Bucklebury, Princess Kate’s hometown. Locals at the Bladebone Inn raise the first of many toasts to the little princess. “We will open a bottle of something bubbly later on,” landlord Kiren Puri tells PEOPLE. “We will raise a toast with some English sparking wine. It’s an English princess, so it’s only fitting that we open something English.”
Puri isn’t stopping there either. He’s also had a beer specially created for the new royal baby from a local brewery. “Its got a sign on the top that can be turned to say ‘It’s a boy!” or ‘It’s s girl!’,” he adds. “So now we know which way to turn it! We had a beer made for the wedding and for the birth of Prince George, so I’m sure it will sell well.” He adds: “They are a lovely couple and a lovely family, so it’s nice to wet the baby’s head properly.”
May 2, 11:00 a.m. BST: Kate Alexander from Bucklebury Bakes is a regular at the village’s weekly farmer’s market. But today she arrived with some extra special Kate cookies, priced at £2.50 each! “I made them specially to commemorate the birth,” says Alexander of the cookies, which are made with refined sugar and come in both vanilla and chocolate. “I am thrilled that she has got a little girl, as I have got a little girl too. “It’s great for the village and for Prince George. He will now have a little sister to play with and show the ropes to and she will have a big brother to have fun with.”
May 2, 11:00 a.m. BST: It’s a girl! After a speedy delivery and a few hours of private time to alert both of their families, who are “delighted,” Prince William and Princess Kate announced that they’re the new parents of a daughter, who was born at 8:34 a.m. The little one weighs 8 lbs., 3 oz., and both mother and child are doing well.
May 2, 10:20 a.m. BST: The Sky Tower in New Zealand, where Will, Kate and George were just about one year ago today, is flashing pink and blue in anticipation of the baby’s arrival, Yahoo! New Zealand reports.
May 2, 9:15 a.m. BST: The devoted royal fans who’ve camped outside St. Mary’s Hospital are buzzing with joy now that Princess Kate is in the early stages of labor. “No words can describe how excited I am,” says Australian Kathy Martin, 52, who’s camped out on the sidewalk in a tent for 13 days. “I am also so relieved because we have been in terrible conditions and I don’t know if I could last another week. Our spirits were getting down.
“This morning there were so many police cars on this street with flashing lights I thought I was in a disco,” she adds. “They were patrolling the street before she went in at 6 a.m.”
John Loughrey, 60, of Wandsworth, was fast asleep when someone tapped him on the shoulder and told him, “The Duchess of Cambridge is in the hospital,” he recalls. “Now I feel nervous. It could be the excitement.
“It would be nice if it were a girl,” he says, “and if she was named Elizabeth. The Queen has been a perfect monarch. They are a very special family and that is why we come here to celebrate.”
Adds Martin: “Last night I had this feeling that Kate was going to give birth this weekend. I saw flashing lights in the window of the hospital and thought Princess Diana will be with them in spirit.”
May 2, 6:00 a.m. BST: The Great Kate Wait is coming to an end! At 7:40 a.m. BST, Kensington Palace announced on Twitter that Princess Kate has been admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital in the early stages of labor. Prince William was by her side as she traveled to the hospital by car at 6:00 a.m.
May 1, 4:00 p.m. BST: Inquring minds at the Lindo Wing wonder — what’s an expecting gal to do? Princess Kate and Will might enjoy a cheeky new $7.50 card game called Game of Crowns. The new limited edition Top Trumps 30-card pack pits celebrities and commoners against the Royals to battle for the throne of the United Kingdom. James Corden, J. K. Rowling and David and Victoria Beckham are among the featured celebrities, and the commoners are British politicians. Queen Elizabeth, Wills, Kate and even the corgis represent the Royals. Shuffle up and deal … sounds perfect!
May 1, 3:30 p.m. BST: As the official source for all royal baby updates, William and Kate’s Twitter account has seen a massive bounce in its followers during the Great Kate Wait (ahem, #GreatKateWait). As of 3:30 p.m. UK time on Friday, the @KensingtonRoyal account had added 50,000 followers in a week, bringing the total count to more than 219,000 and counting. They can expect those numbers to grow once news breaks that Kate’s been admitted to the hospital.
May 1, 12:10 p.m. BST: Across the street from St. Mary’s Hospital, Micky’s Fish and Chips is bustling with both locals and members of the media. Outside the restaurant, TV reporters from around the world shoot stand-ups in front of the hospital’s sign.
May 1, 11:00 a.m. BST: Stand down! A palace press officer arrives at the Lindo Wing with a few royal protection officers in tow. The group is set to discuss the barriers for the TV crews and photographers.
May 1, 11:40 a.m. BST: Did someone forgot to tell these guys about the embargo? A couple of ducks waddled into the press pen, which are off limits to media members until Princess Kate goes into labor.
May 1, 10:20 a.m. BST: He’s already shown a pregnant Kate next to a donkey, and now, artist Kaya Mar has returned to the Lindo Wing with two more portraits. One shows Queen Elizabeth with Prince Philip in his bed (possibly after sipping too much red wine) and another of a breastfeeding Kate.
This embed is invalid
May 1, 10:03 a.m. BST: Some unexpected guests — a pair of giant teddy bears — make an appearance at the Lindo Wing as a part of a promotional scheme for betting firm William Hill. And just like the bears, the odds were oversized, too. If you want to bet on Taylor Swift and Kanye West as a possible baby name, that will get you 500/1 odds. The potential returns, just like these stuffed animals, are huge.
This embed is invalid
May 1, 9:15 a.m.: Princess Kate’s second born may not be ready to greet the world yet, but Royal Parks put up Union Jack flags along the Mall leading to Buckingham Palace in honor of the upcoming royal baby’s arrival and celebrations to mark Victory in Europe Day, which commemorates the end of the second World War.
May 1, 9:00 a.m. BST: The day (and month!) began with a flurry of royal baby excitement. A car was reportedly seen leaving the Middleton family’s home village, Bucklebury, under police escort. But the buzz died down soon after: These claims were dismissed by locals contacted by PEOPLE (there hadn’t been any commotion). The palace (still) remains relaxed.
April 30, 8:00 p.m. BST: Losing sleep waiting for the latest Royal? As the Union House Coffee Co pulls down its shutters to close at 10.00 pm tonight, at least one person will be delighted at the elongation of Kate’s great wait. For the past year Italian-born Guiseppe Dispinzeri has been managing the coffee shop opposite the Lindo Wing. The cafe is currently the stopover of choice for the world’s journalists covering the new royal birth. “It’s great,” he tells PEOPLE. “Turnover has doubled. It’s the busiest I’ve ever seen it.” The cafe, which offers patrons free wi-fi, myriad snacks and Starbucks Coffee, can accommodate around 80 customers, and during the day is often full. “My boss wants Kate to have a baby every year,” Dispinzeri jokes.
April 30, 5:00 p.m. BST: Seventy-seven percent of those betting on the royal baby’s sex are hoping Will and Kate’s second born will be a girl — and they’ve got a big supporter in their camp. During an event at Windsor Castle, Prince Charles told a 100-year-old veteran that he wants a little sister for Prince George: “We’re hoping for a granddaughter!” But he still has to wait a little bit longer to find out. At the same event, Camilla told guests that there’s no news to report on the baby front — yet.
April 30, 4:00 p.m. BST: Terry Hutt’s fellow superfans aren’t the only ones helping him to celebrate his birthday. Kensington Palace just sent the royal watcher a chocolate cake with a handwritten note congratulating him on his 80th birthday. Hutt, whom the royals know as the “Umbrella Man” because of his signature umbrella hat, was dressed in his trademark Union Jack suit and smiled broadly as he posed for photographers. “I’m really going to enjoy this,” he said of the cream-piped circular chocolate-covered layer cake. Intriguingly, it was delivered in a box tied with both blue and pink ribbons.
April 30, 3:00 p.m. BST: Oh, how Kensington Palace likes to tease us. As the media kept their eyes trained on the Lindo Wing door, the official Twitter account for Prince William, Princess Kate and Prince Harry, @KensingtonRoyal, posted a cruel #TBT photo: Will and Kate on the steps of the Lindo Wing two years ago, debuting Prince George to the public. C’mon, KP — there’s only so much that eager (and impatient) royal watchers can handle.
April 30, 2:30 p.m. BST: Rumors that Princess Kate had left her palace home for the hospital proved unfounded at around 2:30 p.m. Thursday. A “convoy” reported to have left the palace never materialized, and palace sources said there was no news expected to be announced, despite the brief presence of extra security at the famous Lindo Wing door. Officials remained calm — and at their desks. Other members of the royal family use Kensington Palace, insiders point out. The wait continues.
April 30, 12:20 p.m. BST: Patience may be wearing thin, but that won’t speed up the royal baby’s arrival. To prepare for a continued delay, parking restrictions, which were originally in place until April 30, have been extended until Tuesday, May 5. Before the new signs went up, another notice — that had the restrictions going until May 15 — began circling the Internet. Thankfully, the Westminster Council has deemed these inaccurate.
April 30, 10 a.m. BST: Although there is still no sign of Princess Kate at the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital, there was still cause for celebration. Super royal fan Terry Hutt, who has spent 10 days camped outside the hospital, celebrated his 80th birthday today. “It would be a bonus for me if she had the baby today,” he told PEOPLE. “I would feel closer to the family.” Fellow royalist Margaret Tyler, who’s waited outside the hospital with Hutt, gave her friend shaving supplies as a birthday gift. Says Tyler, “I thought he would have run out by now.”
This embed is invalid
April 29, morning: It’s a special day for Will and Kate: Their fourth wedding anniversary. But rather than marking the occasion with a new addition to the family, the couple have been keeping the celebrations fairly low-key, spending the day at Buckingham Palace. Because of the significance of the day for the Duke and Duchess, April 29 was the sentimental favorite for many a royal fan, but not even the wishes of royal watchers can end this wait — but if it drags on much longer (12 to 14 days after her due date) Kate could be induced.
April 28, morning: After the presence of royal protection officers at St. Mary’s Hospital’s Lindo Wing sent royal watchers into a frenzy, we received hard evidence that Kate is definitely not in labor (yet). The Duchess was spotted leaving Buckingham Palace in her Range Rover Tuesday morning. It’s believed that Prince George was in the backseat of the car with nanny Maria Borrallo. Kate and George are frequent visitors to the Buckingham Palace pool for swimming lessons.
April 28, morning: Royal super fans stationed outside St. Mary’s Hospital got a special surprise this morning: pastries and hot coffee direct from the Duke and Duchess themselves. Later on in the day, the palace confirmed that it really was the expectant parents who sent the boxes of croissants and danishes, as well as the cups of hot coffee. The recipients thank the couple in the video below.
This embed is invalid
— Diana Pearl, Simon Perry, Joanne Fowler and Caris Davis with reporting by Monique Jessen, Joanne Fowler Caris Davis, Katherine Foreman, Nina Biddle Luna, and Simon Perry