As time for Britain's royal baby nears, Palace sheds light

Officials will keep public notified of Kate's progress

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LONDON -- With Prince William and the former Kate Middleton expecting their first child in mid-July -- and much of the world interested in the birth of a future monarch -- the royals' office has released some of the couple's plans, although many details are still being kept private. Kate has made several public appearances recently but is expected to keep a low profile in the final weeks of her pregnancy. Here is the latest news about the infant who will, upon entering the world, be third in line for the British throne.

King or Queen?

Royal officials can't say -- and it's not because they are being coy, it's because Kate and William have not found out -- and don't plan to.

"They don't know the sex of the baby and have decided not to find out," said a royal official who spoke on condition of anonymity under Palace guidelines for distributing information to the press.

Hallway or delivery room?

Officials said William "fully intends to be present at the birth." The birth is expected to take place at the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary's hospital in central London. That is the hospital where William and his younger brother, Prince Harry, were born.

Who's in charge?

A spokesman said the medical team will be led by royal gynecologist Dr. Marcus Setchell.

Updating the public

Officials said there will be no advance notice. The public will be told once she has settled in her room in the early stages of labor, the spokesman said, anticipating that this would be within an hour of her arrival at the hospital.

Official announcement

This will be a mix of tradition and new social media. Officials said a royal aide will emerge from the hospital with a signed bulletin on foolscap-sized paper carrying the Buckingham Palace letterhead.

The bulletin will be given to an official who will be driven to the Palace, where it will be posted on an easel in public view in front of the building.

At the same time the bulletin is posted, there will be an announcement on Twitter and the media will be formally notified. The document will give the baby's gender, weight and time of birth.

And the name?

Not so fast. Officials said they don't know how quickly a name will be chosen. When William was born, a week passed before his name was announced.

Visiting hours?

Officials said royals and members of the Middleton family are likely to visit, but Queen Elizabeth II is not expected to visit at the hospital because she will be on her summer vacation at the Balmoral estate in Scotland.

Where's daddy?

William plans to take two weeks paternity leave and then return to his military duties as a search and rescue helicopter pilot in Wales.