By Kim Hjelmgaard and Maria Puente, USA TODAY
LONDON - Will the world meet Prince Cambridge shortly?
That's what Prince Charles indicated when he and his wife, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, left St. Mary's Hospital here Tuesday evening local time.
"You have had a long wait," Charles said in the direction of Sky News presenter Kay Burley when he arrived. When he left he said "you'll see in a minute" when asked about the baby.
Clarence House confirmed that the Duchess will be discharged from the hospital Tuesday evening and they will travel home to Kensington Palace.
Earlier, we learned that Baby Cambridge is "absolutely beautiful," according to Duchess Kate's parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, who were the first members of either family to visit the hospital to see the baby.
PHOTOS: Middletons arrive to meet royal baby
They drove into town Tuesday from their estate in rural Bucklebury, got out of their car and paused on the hospital steps to smile. They went inside without saying anything to assembled photographers and reporters. When they emerged about an hour later, they had huge smiles but still didn't say much except that everyone is well. Also, Carole joked about how the memories of her three times giving birth had returned.
"The first cuddle was amazing," she said about the Middletons' first grandchild.
The BBC is reporting that Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and their new baby won't be leaving the hospital before 6 p.m. local time (1 p.m. ET) and possibly not until Wednesday.
But the Daily Mail reported, with pictures and headlines, that Kate's hairdresser since last year, Amanda Cook Tucker, arrived at the hospital with a royal aide, one pulling a suitcase, one carrying a baby seat, so maybe they might leave Tuesday after all.
A spokesman for Kensington Palace said, "Mother, son and father are all doing well" on Tuesday morning.
As multi-gun salutes went off in two spots in London, the couple released a statement thanking St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington and its private Lindo Wing.
"We would like to thank the staff at the Lindo Wing and the whole hospital for the tremendous care the three of us have received. We know it has been a very busy period for the hospital and we would like to thank everyone - staff, patients and visitors - for their understanding during this time."
Periodic torrential downpours in London threw a question mark over the timing of the expected unveiling of the new royal baby, who was born Monday and weighed 8 pounds 6 ounces. Tourists and journalists sought shelter under the partial coverings that dot the sides of St. Mary's Hospital; photographers, who have been waiting here for at least three weeks, quickly put up umbrellas as the rain came down.
As crowds outside the hospital waited for news about whether the duchess will be discharged from the $10,000-a-night maternity ward where she has been since the early hours of Monday morning, it emerged that bookmakers here have chosen James and George as the favored names for the future king. Other picks include: Alexander, Richard, Louis, Philip, Albert, Charles, Michael, Paddy, Nelson, Robert, Kevin, Wayne and Silvio.
Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has the odds of the name James at 5:2 and George at 2:1. George is the name of Prince William's great-grandfather.
On Monday night, thousands of well-wishers from around the world celebrated the birth outside Buckingham Palace.
The arrival of the Prince of Cambridge, born on the warmest day in Britain for seven years, was marked Tuesday with a 41-gun salute from the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery as troops rode past Buckingham Palace and Green Park.
And at the Tower of London, the Honourable Artillery Company staged a separate 62-gun salute.
Firing off antique cannons is a tradition for many royal occasions in London. But around the world and commonwealth, others celebrated, too. The fountain in Trafalgar Square ran with blue water, and the looming London Eye giant ferris wheel was bathed in blue light at night. Iconic London buildings also were topped with blue lights, and the Canadians lighted Niagara Falls with blue light.
In India, the Associated Press reported, thousands of dabbawalas, who deliver lunches at homes and offices, carried on the Indian tradition of passing out sweets for a new baby. The white-hat-clad dabbawalas years ago established a bond with tradition-conscious Prince Charles when he met them, so they passed out sweets to honor his becoming a grandfather for the first time.
It is being reported that all of Her Majesty's ships, whether at home or abroad in international waters, are flying the Royal Navy Ensign flag to mark the occasion.