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Well-wishers from around the globe screamed with excitement as news of the birth of the royal baby spread to Buckingham Palace.
One man shouted: “It’s a boy,” prompting crowds to erupt into spontaneous cheering, ahead of the easel being placed in the forecourt.
Three were three cheers of “hip hip hooray,” as the crowd outside the palace gates swelled to more than 10 deep.
Many had been waiting patiently for confirmation of the birth ever since news of the Duchess going into labour this morning.
The months of speculation and anticipation - dubbed the Great Kate Wait - built to a climax this morning amid news that the Duchess of Cambridge had been admitted to hospital in the early stages of labour.
Confirmation of the royal birth arrived by car in the form of an official statement, carried by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s press secretary.
It was met by a footman before being taken inside the palace
The statement, on Buckingham Palace headed paper, was brought out for public inspection on the easel by Badar Azim, a footman with the Royal Household, and Ailsa Anderson, the Queen’s press secretary.
The easel, in the Rococo revival style, was previously used to announce the birth of Prince William in 1982.
It is a carved gilt wood easel with moulded uprights ending at scrolled cabriole legs and feet.
The framed A4 sheet of paper suddenly became the subject of a thousand camera flashes, as a sea of patient royal well-wishers thrust their smartphones through the railings in an effort to catch a first glimpse of the easel.
Grown men were seen riding on friends’ shoulders, while others used step ladders to get an elevated position.
Police were sent in with the crowds, as many scrambled to get the best vantage point.
But the wait to see the easel, designed to bring an end to a 12-hour vigil at the palace gates for some, proved too much.
One woman left having tried for half an hour to get closer to the front of the crowd, without success. She said: “I’m pleased we tried to see it, but it was just too difficult. It was impossible to get any closer.”