As the world waits to meet the future king or queen, Digital Spy takes a look back at the notable moments - both joyous and difficult - of the royal couple's journey to parenthood in our pregnancy timeline:
December 3, 2012 - Kate Middleton and Prince William announce pregnancy
After months of speculation, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge gave the nation an early Christmas present by announcing that they were expecting their first child.
Kate was believed to be under the crucial 12-week mark, but the news was confirmed early by St James's Palace and Clarence House due to her being hospitalised with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (acute morning sickness). Because it's the 21st century, Kate's unborn baby immediately got tons of spoof Twitter accounts.
December 6, 2012 - Kate Middleton leaves hospital
The Duchess left the King Edward VII Hospital in London arm in arm with Prince William after a three day stint, a bright bouquet of flowers in her hand. William did his husbandly duty and visited Kate throughout her brief hospitalisation, even managing a smile for the waiting paps.
December 7, 2012 - Nurse Jacintha Saldanha found dead following royal baby hoax call
Amid all the joy of Kate's pregnancy and her recovery, there was also tragedy. Jacintha Saldanha apparently committed suicide three days after taking a call from Australian Radio DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who were posing as the Queen and Prince Phillip. She transferred the call to another nurse, allowing minor details of Kate's pregnancy to leak.
St James's Palace said that Kate and William were "deeply saddened" by Saldanha's death, adding: "Their royal highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha's family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time". The hospital, meanwhile, described her as an "excellent nurse" who was "well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues". She was laid to rest in India on December 17.
The DJs took a leave of absence from their station 2Day FM following the scandal, though Christian returned to the air in February and was given a prestigious award by his employer in June. Grieg, meanwhile, sued Southern Cross Austereo for failing to provide her a safe workplace.
February 2013 - Pictures of Kate Middleton pregnant in a bikini are published
Having already seen topless photos of herself published by the foreign press back in 2012, the Duchess of Cambridge found herself at the centre of a second paparazzi scandal when Italian magazine Chi ran snaps of her pregnant and in a bikini while holidaying with Prince William in the Caribbean.
The palace said it was "disappointed" with the decision, calling it "a clear breach of the couple's right to privacy". UK publishers declared in unison that they wouldn't be printing the photos, although ITV's This Morning made a bit of a slip-up when they showed the front cover of Chi without censoring the controversial images.
February 19, 2013 - Kate Middleton unveils baby bump
The Duchess finally showed a hint of a bump during her first official engagement of 2013 at Hope House, an addiction treatment centre in Clapham. Kate kept busy throughout her pregnancy, attending a variety of different events including a tour of the Tube, a St Patrick's Day military parade where she suffered a heel-related mishap, a face-to-face with Mary Berry and a trip to a Shameless filming location where she planted a tree with John Bishop.
March 5, 2013 - Kate Middleton accidentally reveals the sex of her baby?
The Duchess of Cambridge sent tons a-wagging when she apparently came close to revealing that she was expecting a baby girl on a visit to Grimsby. When she received a teddy bear as a gift from a member of the crowd, Kate replied: "Thank you, I'll take that for my d ...", before quickly stopping herself.
Kate then insisted to the well-wisher/detective that she and Prince William "don't know" the sex of their little one, but the nation had already made up its mind. The other theory is that Kate was going to say she would give the gift to her dog, before realising that this could possibly cause offence - what do you believe?
April 4, 2013 - Kate Middleton reveals she has a 'baby shortlist'
Once she stopped cooing over a small baby in the crowd, Kate apparently revealed during a trip to Scotland in April that she and William had started to draw up a shortlist of names for their monarch-to-be. She stressed, though, that the thought process was "very difficult" due to her friends butting in and texting her their ideas. We hope the royal couple considered some of Digital Spy's own suggestions for their little one as well.
April 25, 2013 - Royal baby will rule the country regardless of gender
Kate and William found out that their baby would one day go on to be king or queen after the Succession to the Crown Bill, which sought to halt male heirs taking precedence over females, became law.
The change had been in the works since October 2011 and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced on December 4, the day after Kate's pregnancy was confirmed, that all Commonwealth realms had given their consent. As a result, the Duke and Duchess's baby will overtake Prince Harry as third-in-line to the throne and, barring unforeseen circumstances, will one day become ruler.
May 2013 - Royal baby due date revealed?
Reports emerged this month that the Duke and Duchess had named July 13 as their baby's due date - and at a barbeque, no less! Even though a royal spokesperson declined to comment, that special Saturday soon became accepted as the day to expect the new arrival. Of course, July 13 came and went without incident and everyone - including the Queen - started getting a little tetchy in the subsequent week and a bit before Kate went into labour.
May 2013 - Kate to receive first ever royal wedding shower
Perhaps as a way of saying sorry for upstaging Kate on her wedding day with her derriere, little sister Pippa Middleton decided to throw the Duchess of Cambridge the first ever royal baby shower, after asking permission from the Queen, of course. Details of the actual event are pretty much non-existent (though a dummy-shaped cake made by their brother James is thought to be involved), so we had to make do with this imagined baby shower staged by lookalikes in which 'Kate' unwraps a 'Born To Rule' onesie while drinking Shloer.
June 13, 2013 - Kate makes final solo engagement before birth
Kate donned an attention-grabbing dalmatian print coat as she headed on down to Southampton to officially name a new ship. The Duchess of Cambridge blessed the appropriately-named 'Royal Princess' cruise liner and spoke to fans for the final time before becoming a mother. She played a much more low key role in her final official public appearance at the Trooping the Colour parade in London two days later (June 15).
June 19, 2013 - Royal birth to be announced at Buckingham Palace
Royal officials confirmed that the joyous news of the baby's arrival will be displayed on an easel outside Buckingham Palace in a royal tradition that was also used to announce William's birth in 1982. Other minor details on the birth were also revealed, including news that the Queen's former gynaecologist Marcus Setchell will deliver the baby and confirmation that we will discover if Kate had a caesarean. However, the spokespeople refused to comment on when the baby's name will become public, which was a tad annoying.
July 2013 - Press assemble outside Kate's hospital
July arrived and all of the sudden the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in Paddington became a media circus, with various photographers, reporters and TV crews from around the globe arriving in order to capture the first pictures of the royal baby. With many having spent days and weeks on end in the isolation of their press pen, we imagine they can't have been too happy when lookalikes of the Duke and Duchess fooled them outside the hospital in a prank organised by The Sun.
July 8, 2013 - Royal baby title revealed
Confirmation arrived that Kate and William's child will become the first ever Prince or Princess of Cambridge, much to the delight of the historic city's residents. Cambridge's mayor described it as "a great honour" and his deputy expressed delight at the "incredible news". "Now we are all sitting on our hands waiting for our prince or princess to arrive," Councillor George Pippas said. Well, it won't be long now, George!
July 10, 2013 - False alarm sparked by Kensington Palace helicopter
The nation has been on edge waiting for the news of Kate's labour throughout pretty much the whole of July, during which time we'd learnt to ignore the many, many false alarms. However, when news emerged of an ambulance and helicopter at Kensington Palace a mere three days before the Duchess's due date, it was assumed that this had to be it - the baby was coming!
It didn't take long though for the rumours to be shot down, with a spokesperson for the London Ambulance Service telling Digital Spy they "were called to two other incidents in the area" and there was "nothing else of significance relating to the royal birth". Still, with all of Team DS at action stations, the 'helicopter scare' served as a good trial run for...
July 22, 2013 - Kate Middleton goes into labour
Kensington Palace confirmed this morning that the Duchess of Cambridge is in "the early stages of labour" and was taken by car at around 6am to the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, where more than 200 journalists and well-wishers are waiting outside. A spokesperson later announced that "things are progressing as normal", which is likely to be the last official comment we get until the baby is born. Our future monarch is on its way - and we can't wait to congratulate Kate and William!
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