The royal mom is in labor in the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London – the same place where she and Prince William welcomed Princess Charlotte almost exactly three years ago, and Prince George in 2013.
Opened in 1937, it was extensively refurbished in 2012, just in time for George’s arrival, and is decorated with modern art by London’s Julian Opie.
While consultant-led care starts at $8,135 a night, Kate will likely be looked after in one of the more expensive suites (price on application!) – one of about 10 en-suite rooms set aside for births. The maternity unit in the Lindo Wing consists of 16 rooms: five for labor and 11 for postnatal care.
Although the rooms clearly have the requirements of any modern hospital, the wing in general has the facilities of a top-tier hotel, and the website even talks of a “friendly hotel services team” on hand to help parents and family feel at home.
The food, all freshly prepared on-site, can cover any special dietary, cultural or religious requirements (including vegetarian, kosher and halal meals). All inpatients have a separate breakfast menu consisting of a choice of juice, fruit, yogurt, cereal, bread and hot drinks. Lunch and supper, meanwhile, consist of three-course meals and may include dishes like pork loin or mushroom risotto, followed by desserts such as cheesecake, fresh fruit platters or a selection of cheese. A light-bite menu of soups, omelettes, jacket potatoes, salads, sandwiches and baguettes is available.
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Satellite TV, a radio, bedside phone and Wi-Fi are on offer, and if William needs to lie down during, or after, the excitement, there is a reclining seat for partners in every room. Guests can also choose from a list of wines and champagne for a celebratory tipple, and a daily newspaper is provided so the couple and staff can read about (or ignore!) the hubbub going on outside the hospital walls.
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In the run-up to Prince George’s birth, there were ladders in position across the road from the hospital doors for at least three weeks before Kate welcomed him on July 22, 2013. The same set-up was replicated in 2015 for Charlotte’s birth, and again this year for baby number three.
A Top Medical Team
The team attending to Kate is likely to be very similar as it was to her previous two births, with one exception. Marcus Setchell, who led the team during George’s birth, won’t be there. Setchell, 71, retired soon after George was born – and received a knighthood for his service. He has been replaced by Alan Farthing, who was on the team the first time, as the Queen’s surgeon-gynecologist. Farthing, 51, and obstetrician Guy Thorpe-Beeston, who is also in the royal household’s medical department, have pulled the team together to work at the Lindo Wing.
The tradition of having royal babies at the Lindo Wing was started by Sir George Pinker, who was royal gynecologist from 1973 to 1990 (and oversaw Prince William’s delivery). It was he who ended the practice of princes and princesses being born in palaces.
William had followed his cousin Zara Phillips in being born there, and was himself followed by Prince Harry two years later.
While some mothers might like to try different forms of maternity care and delivery, such as water births or home births, the royals are creatures of habit. “Short of having a birthing pool in Kensington Palace and having a flock of storks fly over, it’s in the book – having the baby at the Lindo is what they do,” Ken Wharfe, former personal protection officer to William, Harry and their mother, Princess Diana, previously told PEOPLE. “They won’t change it.”
And when there is something to celebrate, royal watchers will see the happy couple on the steps. Wharfe said: “William will want to come out with an open-necked shirt and pair of jeans and drive away. It’ll be a rerun of the last one.”