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Royal baby No.2: Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to girl

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have proudly shown their baby princess to the world - just hours after she was born.

William and Kate could not contain their happiness as they left hospital holding their daughter, who is fourth in line to the throne.

After waiting days outside the private maternity unit, media from across the globe and royal fans were treated to the sight of the Cambridges posing for the first time with their newborn child.

The baby - whose name has yet to be announced - was born at 8.34am weighing 8lbs 3oz, less than three hours after the couple arrived at the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in London.

Kate cradled her daughter in her right arm and the baby, wrapped in shawl and wearing a bonnet, appeared fast asleep.

The Duchess smile broadly as did the Duke who had his arm around his wife and they both waved to the media and the crowds.

Kate looked relaxed and in good health despite giving birth only around 10 hours ago, and wore a yellow and white floral print Jenny Packham dress.

After spending a few minutes posing for pictures they walked back inside the Lindo Wing and soon returned with their daughter in a baby seat.

William carried her and the couple held hands as they walked down the Lindo Wing steps.

After the Duke placed his baby on the back seat of a Range Rover and Kate, also in a rear seat, reached over to strap her in, he drove his family away.

William had earlier brought older brother Prince George to the Lindo Wing to meet his new baby sister.

The toddler prince waved to the crowds when he first arrived with his father but he left for home before his parents, through a back entrance.

Proud father William spoke of his joy following the birth telling the waiting press he was "very happy'' when he first left to pick up George from Kensington Palace.

Kensington Palace tweeted a close up photo of the princess and one of William, Kate and the baby on the steps of the hospital with the hashtag "#WelcomeToTheFamily".

Some strands of dark hair could be seen around the edge of the baby princess' bonnet which was tied under her chin during her first photocall.

The shouts from the media and the clicks of dozens of camera shutters did not seem to disturb the serene sleeping infant.

She was wearing a soft wool shawl made by the small, family-run Nottingham company GH Hurt & Son, based in Chilwell.

The firm have a long-standing connection to the Royal Family, having made the shawl that wrapped George when he first left hospital.

Leaders congratulate Cambridges

The political leaders took a moment out from General Election campaigning to congratulate the Cambridges on the birth of their daughter via Twitter.

David Cameron tweeted: "I'm absolutely delighted for them". Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "Wishing them lots of joy and happiness - and hopefully some sleep!".

Nick Clegg, of the Liberal Democrats, tweeted: "Miriam & I wish them all the best as their family grows."

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon issued a brief statement sending the couple her "warmest congratulations".

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland also offered its best wishes. Grand Master Edward Stevenson said: "The Orange Institution is delighted by today’s wonderful news and on behalf of the entire membership I wish to convey our warmest congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of a baby girl.

"We offer the Royal couple God’s richest blessing and wish them, Prince George, and the new Princess; much joy, good health, and unlimited happiness in the days, months, and years ahead."

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