Britain's baby princess meets the grandparents

Britain's Prince Charles and wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall leave Kensington Palace on Sunday in London after visiting Prince William and wife Kate following the birth of their daughter. -- PHOTO: AFPAFP
Britain's Prince Charles and wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall leave Kensington Palace on Sunday in London after visiting Prince William and wife Kate following the birth of their daughter. -- PHOTO: AFPAFP

LONDON (AFP) - Prince William and his wife Kate showed off their new baby daughter to their loved ones on Sunday as they thanked people around the world for their messages of congratulations.

Among the well-wishers was William's brother Prince Harry, away serving with the Australian army, who said of the one-day-old princess: "She is absolutely beautiful. I can't wait to meet her."

As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, their toddler son Prince George and the as yet unnamed baby spent their first full day back home after Saturday's birth, the newborn's grandparents came calling for a first kiss and cuddle.

William's father Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, went to see them at Kensington Palace, as did Kate's parents Michael and Carole Middleton, and her sister Pippa.

Uncle Harry will have to wait a while longer to see his niece. After completing his secondment with Australian army units in Perth and Sydney, he will undertake an official tour of New Zealand from May 9 to 16.

Britain is eagerly awaiting the name of the new princess, but Kensington Palace said there would be no further news Sunday.

Betting on the baby's name saw Charlotte overtake long-time front-runner Alice as the bookmakers' favourite, with Victoria, Olivia and Elizabeth close behind.

"The duke and duchess are hugely grateful for the messages of congratulations they have received from people all over the world," a palace spokesman said.

"It means a great deal to them that so many people have celebrated the arrival of their new daughter.

"Their royal highnesses were today visited by the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Mr and Mrs Middleton, and Pippa Middleton. "Additionally Prince Harry has said about his new niece: 'She is absolutely beautiful. I can't wait to meet her'."

Most of Britain's Sunday newspapers carried big front-page pictures of the new baby with many running souvenir pullouts.

"Sleeping cutie," said both The Sun and the Sunday Mirror, with a close-up of the snoozing princess.

Tourism chiefs said the baby was expected to boost visitor numbers to London.

To mark the arrival, many of the capital's hotels and restaurants celebrated with regal-themed afternoon teas and London landmarks including Tower Bridge and the Trafalgar Square fountains were lit up in pink late Saturday.

William and Kate were expected to spend the next few days at Kensington Palace before travelling to Anmer Hall, their secluded 10-bedroom mansion on Queen Elizabeth II's Sandringham estate in Norfolk, eastern England.

The monarch was seen attending church there on Sunday, so it is likely she will meet her fifth great-grandchild at the private country residence.

The new baby is fourth in line to the thrones of Britain and 15 other states including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Jamaica.

The tiny princess is behind Queen Elizabeth's eldest son Charles, 66, his eldest son William and William's eldest child George in the line of succession.

However, the baby is the first major royal who cannot be overtaken by any future younger brothers following changes to the monarchy's rules to remove gender bias.

Kate gave birth within three hours of being admitted to St Mary's Hospital in central London on Saturday.

William was present for the birth and the princess weighed in at eight pounds and 3.7 kilogrammes.

William then brought George to the clinic to meet his little sister.

It was the first time since his own birth at the hospital in July 2013 that George had been seen at a public event in Britain.

A beaming William and Kate then left hospital carrying their newborn.

They were cheered by hundreds of well-wishers who had gathered outside the hospital's private Lindo Wing along with massed ranks of photographers.

The sleeping baby was wrapped in a woollen shawl as a relaxed-looking Kate cradled her in her arms.

Some royal "superfans", who camped outside the hospital for up to a fortnight to welcome the baby, finally packed up their belongings on Sunday.

Gun salutes will be fired across London on Monday to mark the birth.

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