The moment had finally arrived. The global press had been camped out in the streets adjacent to the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in Paddington for weeks in anticipation. Royal watchers had been waiting to meet the royal baby ever since news broke that the Duchess of Cambridge was expecting. Finally, the doors swung open, and the air thundered with woops, cheers and applause as Kate and Prince William stepped out to introduce Prince George to the world for the first time.
Thousands of flashbulbs popped as the media captured images that would be shown on TV screens around the world and fill the pages of magazines in every conceivable language. Having given birth on July 22, just one day before, Kate looked relaxed and happy – and perfectly radiant – as she cradled the couple's newborn son.
Baby Cambridge – who was still waiting for a name – meets the world a day after his 22 July 2013 birth
A tiny bump was still visible in her cornflower-blue Jenny Packham polka-dot dress, which was reminiscent of the Catherine Walker smock worn by Princess Diana three decades earlier, as she stood on the very same steps with baby William in her arms. The Duchess carefully passed George to William – who was casual in dark trousers and a pale shirt with the sleeves rolled up – before the couple stepped forward to answer questions.
"He's got a good pair of lungs on him, that's for sure," William joked. "He's a big boy, he's quite heavy. We are still working on a name so we will have that as soon as we can." Baby Cambridge seemed blissfully unaware of the commotion his presence had caused. He did seem partially awake during his public debut, however – his tiny hands moving over the white baby blanket in which he was swaddled.
The white shawl was by GH Hurt & Son, the same company that had made William's going-home blanket 31 years ago. Just as Kate's fashion choices tended to sell out in minutes, the baby's first appearance had parents up and down the country rushing to get hold of the royal baby's blanket. William told a reporter he felt "very emotional", and his wife agreed: "It's very emotional and such a special time and I think any parent will probably know what this feeling feels like."
The little boy was blissfully unaware of the commotion his presence had caused
The Duchess confirmed her husband had changed his first nappy, and joking again, William said: "He's got her looks, thankfully." Kate replied: "No, no, I'm not sure about that." Good-naturedly poking fun at his apparent lack of hair, the Duke said of his son: "He's got way more than me, thank God."
A sure sign of the kind of royal father he intended to be, William carried his son to their car himself, deftly strapping in the car seat – and mock wiping his brow – before taking his place behind the wheel to take his new family home. He later told an interviewer that being the one to drive his wife away from hospital was "very important" to him. "Where I can be I am as independent as I want to be, the same as Catherine and Harry," he said, mentioning his wife and brother. "We've all grown up differently to other generations. And I very much feel if I can do it myself, I want to do it myself."
Prince William drives the Duchess of Cambridge and their newborn son home
As the Range Rover sped off towards Kensington Palace, the historic moment was over. William and Kate had now spent their first full day as parents after a safe delivery of a 8lb 6oz son at 4.24pm on Monday 22 July. The fascination with the royal baby had only just begun. Twitter was at one point flooded with 25,000 tweets-a-minute about the new arrival, and messages of congratulations arrived from important figures around the world. It was the start of a happy new era not just for William and Kate, but for royal fans in every corner of the globe.