The Duchess of Cambridge plans to give birth naturally and may even have her mother and sister at her side when she goes into labour, it emerged last night.
Kate, 31, who is expecting her first baby in a month's time, will give birth in the private Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in Paddington West London, where Prince William was born in 1982.
Kate is particularly keen to have the support of her family around her because father-to-be William, also 31, may be on duty in North Wales, where he is still working as a Search and Rescue pilot at RAF Valley on Anglesey, when the baby arrives.
William is said to be determined to make it to the delivery suite 'by hook or by crook', following in the footsteps of his own father who broke royal tradition to be with his wife Princess Diana for the birth of both their children.
It is understood that contingency plans have been put in place with other hospitals, such as the Royal Berkshire in Reading, in case the duchess goes into labour when visiting her parents.
Palace sources have made it clear that the birth will not be made public until the Queen and senior royals have been informed. Sources insisted that, contrary to much speculation, the couple had chosen not to find out the sex of their baby beforehand.
It is also hoped that William will make a short statement on the steps of the hospital. A royal spokesman said: 'While it is a deeply personal and private event, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge realise this is a time of national celebration and that there will be vast interest in the baby.'