The royal baby watch is in full effect at the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in west London, England, after the palace announced Monday that the Duchess of Cambridge is in the "early stages of labour."

Inside the Lindo Wing

It’s not hard to see why royalty and Hollywood elite have chosen this particular London maternity ward in the past. The Lindo Wing promises “world-class maternity care” with round-the-clock supervision from a large team of specialists and consultants, routine midwife appointments and nursery care.

If you were to give birth at the private St Mary’s ward, you’d also get international satellite TV, extensive catered menus prepared on site, afternoon tea service and hotel services for both you and your partner.

Unsurprisingly, these luxuries come with a hefty price tag. Standard rooms start at £5,900 (CAD $10, 580) for the first 24 hours, and £1,175 (CAD $2,107) per additional night. Deluxe rooms have a starting rate of £6,275 (CAD $11,253) that increases according to the type of delivery. To simply secure your booking, a deposit of £7,075 (CAD $12,688) is required, £9,785 (CAD $17,548) for a caesarean section.

The Duke and Duchess’ third baby would follow a long succession of royal births at the Lindo Wing, including the children of Princess Anne and Princess Michael of Kent. Diana, Princess of Wales, also gave birth to Prince William and Prince Harry at the St Mary’s ward.

Given the Lindo Wing’s roster of patients, security is highlighted as another focus of their service.

Who will be there?

While masses of fans and media are expected to gather around the hospital, it’s uncertain who will be granted access into the delivery room with the Duke and Duchess.

CTV News Royal Commentator Richard Berthelsen says we can expect the team of doctors from the royal household along with the specialized staff from St Mary’s. The private secretary to the Duke and Duchess and a press officer are also expected to be nearby, as well as a heavy security presence both inside and outside hospital grounds.

Centuries of royal precedent required the Home Secretary to be present as a witness in the delivery room, explains royal historian Marlene Koenig. This formality, which was thought to be a method of ensuring the legitimacy of the heir,  was abandoned in 1948 ahead of the birth of Prince Charles.

As for reports that the Duchess’ hairdresser will be among her entourage on the big day, Berthelsen isn’t surprised.

“The moment she steps out that front door, pictures will be taken of her, so of course she has a hairdresser,” he said.

If we are to take the royal couple’s two previous births as any indication, their time at the hospital may not be lengthy. William and Kate introduced Princess Charlotte to the public just 12 hours after checking into St. Mary’s, and had a quick visit for Prince George’s birth as well.

“She appreciates that it creates a real inconvenience for the hospital, ” says Berthelsen. He cites the tragic series of events in 2012, which resulted in a nurse dying by suicide days after receiving a prank call while the Duchess visited the hospital during her pregnancy with Prince George, as another reason Kate will likely limit her hospital time as much as possible.  

The sex and due date of the royal baby remain unknown, but Berthelsen says this is to be expected from the Duke and Duchess.

“They do feel the room for privacy is very small, so anything that they can keep private and out of the public realm, they will.”