Most of the British public would be comfortable if the royal baby boy grew up to be gay, a survey has shown.

The survey by lesbian, gay and bisexual charity Stonewall found that 83% of the British public would be very comfortable, comfortable or neutral if the heir to the throne were gay or bisexual.

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the charity, said: "Millions of people will be celebrating today's news, just as millions last week celebrated the news of equal marriage in England and Wales. Happily, since last week every child born in Britain is born into a society where gay people are now equal in law."

While there have been rumours throughout history of members of the royal family having same-sex relationships, none has ever publicly confirmed this. If the baby is gay, he will be the first openly-homosexual British monarch ever.

Kate and William
The couple are expected to leave hospital this evening (CC)

Kate Middleton and Prince William welcomed their first born at St Mary's Hospital in London at 4.24pm on 22 July. A formal announcement said the baby was a boy weighing 8lbs 6oz.

The Prince of Cambridge is third in line to the throne after his father William and grandfather Charles.

Kate and William are currently spending time with their newborn in hospital before they leave for Kensington Palace.

It is believed Kate's hairdresser has arrived at the private Lindo wing to prepare the duchess for her first public appearance since June. Her arrival suggests Kate and William will leave the hospital today, giving the world its first look at the royal baby.

According to Sky News, the couple plan to leave the hospital after 6pm this evening. Royal correspondent Paul Harrison said: "We understand that the Duke and Duchess will depart either later this evening, not before 6pm, or tomorrow morning."

William thanked staff at the hospital for their help in delivering his first child: "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."