Kate Middleton will give birth to her first child with Prince William in just a few days, and the royal baby watch has started in earnest.

According to the Sunday People, the father-to-be has promised his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge to be by her side when she gives birth.

The Queen has put a private chartered helicopter - a Sikorsky S-76c - at his RAF base in Anglesey, so that he can reach London in time for the delivery.

"William will want to fly because it avoids any traffic snarl-ups or train delays," a source said, "He's promised Kate he will be there. It just shows how serious he is about being a modern father."

St James's Palace confirmed that Kate will follow tradition and give birth in the private Lindo wing of St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, and that the baby will be delivered by Marcus Setchell, formerly the Queen's gynaecologist. Princess Diana gave birth to both Prince William and Prince Harry in the same hospital.

Meanwhile, insiders also revealed that Prince William is very serious about his new role as a father.

"William will very much want to be a modern father. He has huge love for Kate and is adamant he'll be with her when she gives birth," another source said, "Charles was there when William was born but he never changed a nappy - it just wasn't the done thing. But William is a generation on and the practicalities of fatherhood mean very ­different things to him."

"He'll expect to have sleepless nights and take a hand in changing nappies. He'll be very hands-on, and that means from Day One," the insider added.

The royal baby will become third-in-line to the UK throne, behind grandfather Prince Charles and father Prince William.