Royal Baby Watch: Kate Middleton and Prince William's baby announcement machine

royal-baby-birth-announcement-easel-gi.jpg Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, aka Kate Middleton, has retreated to her parents' house in Bucklebury, as her suspected due date has come and gone. Waiting is the hardest part, Kate. We know. Especially in the middle of summer. But once she does go into labor, and is admitted to the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital -- the same place Diana delivered William -- how will we find out the baby is actually here?

It's a fact: the British love their ceremonies. And this child, boy or girl, will be third in line to the throne after its grandfather Prince Charles and father Prince William, and so there's even more ceremony to be had. Here's how the public announcement will go down.

  • The baby is born. Huzzah! Kate is planning for a natural birth, so there's a good chance her labor could take a while. But once the baby is born, weighed, checked over, and everyone is good, a PR machine starts up.

  • William already has access to a private, secure phone line to call Queen Elizabeth directly at her summer residence in Balmoral, Scotland. While she's a proud great-grandmum, she's also the ruler of the realm, and has first dibs on the news. More than likely, grandpa Prince Charles will be second. It is believed that the Duchess' mom and sister Pippa will be at the hospital with her.

  • While that lovely conversation happens, a formal notice including the baby's gender and time of birth will be printed up on cream-colored Buckingham Palace letterhead and signed by the St. Mary's medical staff. It will then be handed by a royal press officer to ...

  • ... a waiting driver out the front entrance of the Lindo Wing. Cue CRAZY PHOTO OP FREAK OUT. Helicopters will undoubtedly follow this guy the approximately 2.1 miles to Buckingham Palace. This will take about 10 minutes and, happily, that driver is going to have a police escort. Have to protect the paper.

  • The driver will arrive at the Privy Purse Door of the Palace, where a few minutes later, it will be displayed on the Royal Baby Announcement Easel -- same one that was used for William and Prince Harry's announcements -- TRADITION.

  • About the same time, Kensington Palace, the home of the Duke and Duchess, will release "electronic versions" of the announcement (read: Twitter) with more details of the birth.

  • Now, here's the big "if": IF the baby is born in the middle of the night, as babies will do, the news will be sent out electronically first, and the easel put out around 9:00am London time (4:00am eastern/1:00am pacific). So, just for the excitement of it all, we'd really like Kate to deliver around 2:00pm eastern ... if given a choice, that is.

  • After the easel is displayed, there will be cannons fired from the Tower of London and Green Park, right off of Piccadilly Circus in the middle of London. 

  • Massive parties will start all over the United Kingdom. An heir has been produced. Party down, Brits.

The plan was designed specifically "to retain some of the theatre of the notice" according to a Buckingham Palace spokesman, as reported in the Daily Mail . "It is quite important to us that this is done properly and with the degree of dignity that the event demands." 

Righto, chap. We Americans are ready to party as well. Maybe without cannons, but party nonetheless.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images