VIDEO, PICTURES

Baby boy for Britain's William and Kate

People react to the news of the birth of a baby boy to Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in central London on July 22, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
People react to the news of the birth of a baby boy to Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in central London on July 22, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Mr Ed Perkins of Kensington Palace hands over the official birth notice to a waiting driver to take to Buckingham Palace outside the Lindo wing of St Mary's Hospital after Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to a boy in central London on July
Mr Ed Perkins of Kensington Palace hands over the official birth notice to a waiting driver to take to Buckingham Palace outside the Lindo wing of St Mary's Hospital after Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to a boy in central London on July 22, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Crowds of people try to photogtraph a notice formally announcing the birth of a son to Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, placed in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, in central London on July 22, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Crowds of people try to photogtraph a notice formally announcing the birth of a son to Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, placed in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, in central London on July 22, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Spectators take photographs of the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace on July 22, 2013, hours after the royal household announced that Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge had gone into labour. A joyful crowd popped corks, cheered and strained to g
Spectators take photographs of the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace on July 22, 2013, hours after the royal household announced that Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge had gone into labour. A joyful crowd popped corks, cheered and strained to glimpse the official notice outside Buckingham Palace, after the birth on Monday of a baby boy, a future monarch, to Prince William and wife Kate. -- PHOTO: AP
A sign in the window of the British restaurant and grocery Tea & Sympathy reads. "It's A Boy" as it celebrates the birth of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and her husband Prince William's first child on July 22, 2013, in New York City. -- PHOTO
A sign in the window of the British restaurant and grocery Tea & Sympathy reads. "It's A Boy" as it celebrates the birth of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and her husband Prince William's first child on July 22, 2013, in New York City. -- PHOTO: AFP
Ms Linda Roberts dresses her window with flags and baby blue colours to celebrate the birth of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and her husband Prince William's first child, at Ye Olde King's Head gift shop on July 22, 2013, in Santa Monica, Californ
Ms Linda Roberts dresses her window with flags and baby blue colours to celebrate the birth of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and her husband Prince William's first child, at Ye Olde King's Head gift shop on July 22, 2013, in Santa Monica, California. -- PHOTO: AFP
Crowds of people try to look at a notice formally announcing the birth of a son to Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, placed in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, in central London on July 22, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Crowds of people try to look at a notice formally announcing the birth of a son to Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, placed in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, in central London on July 22, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A notice formally announcing the birth of a son to Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is placed in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in central London on July 22, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A notice formally announcing the birth of a son to Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is placed in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in central London on July 22, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
The London Eye observation wheel on the banks of the Thames is lit up in red, blue and white to mark the birth of a baby boy to Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, in London on July 22, 2013. -- PHOTO: AP
The London Eye observation wheel on the banks of the Thames is lit up in red, blue and white to mark the birth of a baby boy to Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, in London on July 22, 2013. -- PHOTO: AP
A baby announcement card and flags adorn the gift shop of Ye Olde King's Head English pub to celebrate the announcement of the birth of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and her husband Prince William's first child, on July 22, 2013, in Santa Monica,
A baby announcement card and flags adorn the gift shop of Ye Olde King's Head English pub to celebrate the announcement of the birth of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and her husband Prince William's first child, on July 22, 2013, in Santa Monica, California. -- PHOTO: AFP
A blackboard inside the Ye Olde King's Head English pub celebrates the announcement of the birth of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and her husband Prince William's first child, on July 22, 2013, in Santa Monica, California. -- PHOTO: AFP
A blackboard inside the Ye Olde King's Head English pub celebrates the announcement of the birth of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and her husband Prince William's first child, on July 22, 2013, in Santa Monica, California. -- PHOTO: AFP
A town crier announces the birth of a son to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, outside the Lindo wing of Queen Mary's Hospital in central London, on July 22, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A town crier announces the birth of a son to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, outside the Lindo wing of Queen Mary's Hospital in central London, on July 22, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
The fountains at Trafalgar Square are seen lit blue to signify the birth of a baby boy to Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, in London on July 22, 2013. Prince William's wife Kate Middleton gave birth to a baby boy on Monda
The fountains at Trafalgar Square are seen lit blue to signify the birth of a baby boy to Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, in London on July 22, 2013. Prince William's wife Kate Middleton gave birth to a baby boy on Monday, providing Britain's royal family with a future king in an event that had been anticipated around the world, Kensington palace said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Prince William's wife Kate Middleton gave birth to a baby boy on Monday, providing Britain's royal family with a future king in an event that had been anticipated around the world, Kensington palace said.Crowds cheered and rushed towards the gates of Buckingham Palace as it was announced that the Duchess of Cambridge had produced a male heir weighing 8lbs 6oz. (3.8kg).The baby will be third in line to the throne and in the direct line of succession after head of state Queen Elizabeth II's eldest son and heir Prince Charles, and then his eldest son William.

"Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4:24 pm (9:25pm Singapore time)," Kensington Palace said in a statement just over four hours afterwards."The baby weighs 8lbs 6oz. The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth."The boy's name was not revealed, but he will be known as Prince of Cambridge.The former Kate Middleton was admitted to the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington, central London, at around 6:00 am in the midst of a summer thunderstorm.The birth was later officially announced to great cheers on a golden easel placed in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.US President Barack Obama's spokesman had earlier said that he and the first family were "waiting with anticipation" for the birth and "wish the family and all of Great Britain well on this pending momentous occasion."William, at his wife's bedside, has been on annual leave and will take two weeks' paternity leave from his military job as a Royal Air Force search and rescue pilot.Both mother and son were "doing well" and will remain in hospital overnight while the queen was "delighted with the news", according to the palace.The birth came later than widely expected, adding to the sense of anticipation that has built up ever since William, whose mother Diana died in a Paris car crash in 1997, and the former Kate Middleton married with huge fanfare in April 2011.Bookmakers had largely backed a girl baby, after Kate had said they did not know its sex.The fact that it is a boy relieves the need to rush through new succession laws across the 16 Commonwealth realms, which would mean that a girl could no longer be overtaken by any future younger brothers.The royal couple used a back entrance to the hospital when they arrived at 6:00 am (0500 GMT), missing the ranks of international media who have camped outside the hospital for three weeks.The prince was born in the same hospital wing and media from across the globe are hoping for a repeat of the scene in 1982 when Charles and his first wife Diana brought out the baby to show him off to the world.Royal fanatics gathering outside the hospital also took their excitement to a new level."I'm so excited. Like in a washing machine. Never been so high!" said John Loughrey, who has slept outside the hospital for seven nights, wrapped in a British flag.The new arrival is Queen Elizabeth's third great-grandchild, and a first grandchild for Charles.It ensures that there are three generations of heirs to the crown of the United Kingdom of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland -- a nuclear-armed UN Security Council permanent member and the world's sixth biggest economy.The queen was seen arriving back at Buckingham Palace from Windsor Castle, just outside the capital, in mid-afternoon but other royals went about their usual business.Charles, the current heir, was visiting York in northern England, where members of the public shouted "Congratulations!".Smiling, he replied: "Do you know something I don't?"Charles, who turns 65 in November, joked: "I'm very grateful indeed for the kind wishes for my rather slowly-approaching grandfatherhood."Prime Minister David Cameron sent his best wishes to the couple and the "whole country is excited."The pregnancy was announced in December when Kate was admitted to hospital with severe morning sickness.The duchess is being tended by a top medical team led by the queen's gynaecologist Alan Farthing and his predecessor Marcus Setchell.On the pavement opposite the hospital entrance, around 30 presenters lined up in a row delivering live broadcasts and clips, with photographers and journalists filling out the scene.There has been a betting frenzy on the name of the royal newborn with bookmakers favouring a George and James for the top boys' names.