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LONDON, England — The public got its first view of the new heir to the British throne Tuesday as Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, left a London hospital hospital with their newborn son.
“It’s very special,” said William, who emerged from St. Mary’s Hospital with his wife a day after the birth of their still-unnamed son. Catherine held the child, wrapped in a cream-colored blanket, as the couple waved to well-wishers outside.
“He’s got her looks, thankfully,” the prince added.
The couple left the hospital Tuesday evening with William carrying the boy out in a car seat and installing him in the back of a black SUV for the trip to Kensington Palace.
“Their Royal Highnesses would like to reiterate their thanks to the hospital for the care and treatment they have all received,” a statement from the palace read.
The boy was born at 4:24 p.m. Monday, weighing 8 pounds, 6 ounces. The new parents remained in the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in London overnight.
William’s father, Prince Charles, came to the hospital for a brief visit with his first grandchild Tuesday evening, accompanied by his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. He told reporters it was “marvelous.”
Catherine’s parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, visited earlier, with Carole Middleton telling reporters the royal baby is “absolutely beautiful.”
She said both mother and baby are doing “really well” and that she and her husband were “so thrilled” at being grandparents.
A Kensington Palace spokesman said: “Mother, son and father are all doing well this morning.” Queen Elizabeth II’s gynecologist, Marcus Setchell, is at the hospital carrying out medical assessments of Catherine following the birth, the palace said earlier.
Bells, gun salutes
Meanwhile, guardsmen at Buckingham Palace, the queen’s residence, played the Cliff Richard song “Congratulations” to mark the birth of the royal baby at the Changing of the Guard. The military ceremony, much beloved of tourists, involves a new guard exchanging duty with the old guard in the palace forecourt.
Crowds were gathered again outside Buckingham Palace, a day after they thronged there to see the formal notice announcing the baby’s birth.
Multigun salutes were also staged Tuesday afternoon to welcome the new royal heir. The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Green Park released 41 rounds, while the Honorable Artillery Company at the Tower of London fired 62 rounds.
At the same time the bells of Westminster Abbey, where William and Kate were married in April 2011, began to peal, in keeping with royal tradition, and were set to continue for more than three hours.
The news of the boy’s birth, announced about four hours after the event Monday, prompted cheers and celebrations among the crowds of well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace. At least one group of well-wishers brought flowers, champagne and a card for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Social media networks were also abuzz with the news, which made headlines around the world.
‘We could not be happier’
The new parents spent some time with their baby before calling family members — starting with the queen — to announce the birth, a Kensington Palace source told CNN royal correspondent Max Foster.