Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate were spending their first day at home with their newborn son, a day after the world got its first glimpse of the little boy destined to become king.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent Tuesday night at Kensington Palace after emerging from St Mary’s Hospital in London with the unnamed baby boy in their arms, to huge cheers and a roar from the massed ranks of international media.
Wearing a cornflower-blue polka-dot dress, a beaming Kate said the couple were “very emotional” to have welcomed their son, who is third-in-line to the British throne.
William, meanwhile, said they were still choosing a name for the child dubbed Baby Cambridge, and revealed that he had already changed his first nappies.
The new heir raised a tiny hand above his white blankets – his first royal wave of a lifetime that will be spent in the public eye.
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He remained peaceful, despite deafening cheers from well-wishers and shouts from journalists who had camped for three weeks outside the hospital.
“It’s a special time,” said 31-year-old Kate, who wore her long brown hair loose. “I think any new parent would know what this feeling feels like.”
Wearing jeans and a casual blue shirt, her 31-year-old husband told reporters: “He’s got her looks, thankfully,” as Kate giggled and interjected, “No, no, no, I’m not sure about that.”
Their son was born at 4.24pm on Monday (0124 AEST Tuesday) weighing a healthy eight pounds six ounces (3.8kg), and William described him as “a big boy, he’s quite heavy”.
“He’s got a good pair of lungs on him, that’s for sure,” William joked.
After speaking briefly to the media, the couple returned to the hospital before re-emerging a few minutes later with the baby in a car-seat.
William secured the seat deftly in the back of a black Land Rover parked outside the entrance, and drove his new family himself towards Kensington Palace, where family members were reportedly waiting.
William will now take two weeks of paternity leave from his job as a Royal Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter pilot.
Royal aides said the couple had no immediate plans to hire a nanny.
The first public appearance by the new family caused a storm on social media, with Twitter counting more than 18,000 tweets a minute – a testament to the global fascination with the couple since their fairytale wedding in 2011.
The first photographs of Britain’s new prince dominated newspaper front pages on Wednesday, with the sapphire engagement ring that belonged to William’s late mother Diana conspicuous on the hand of new mother Kate.
Kate’s empire-line dress, a bespoke design by Jenny Packham, also drew strong comparisons with that worn by Diana when, in 1982, she stood on the same steps with Prince Charles and presented the newborn William to the world.
Newspapers pored over every detail of the public appearance, from the continued visibility of Kate’s baby bump to the car-seat chosen by the couple.
The couple had earlier received their first visitors in the form of the baby’s grandparents – first Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, and later Prince Charles and his wife Camilla.
First-time grandmother Carole Middleton had pronounced the baby “absolutely beautiful”, while Charles said his grandson was “marvellous”.
Talk has now focused on what the couple will call their baby, with bookmakers favouring George and James as names fit for a king.
“We are still working on a name so we will have that as soon as we can,” William told journalists outside the hospital.
Under British law, the couple have up to 41 more days to register the birth of their child with local authorities — for which they will need a name.
Royal tradition suggests there could be a wait ahead. William’s name was not revealed until a week after his birth, while when Charles was born in 1948, the suspense went on an entire month.
Congratulations have poured in from across the globe for the baby, a great-grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II who is set to one day reign over Britain and 15 other countries including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Cannon fire had echoed over the skies of London on Tuesday to celebrate the birth, while world landmarks including Niagara Falls turned blue on Monday when news broke that a baby boy had arrived.