THE waiting game continued yesterday – both for expectant parents the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and for the world’s media scrum gathered outside the private Lindo wing of the St Mary’s hospital in central London.
Journalists and well-wishers formed an increasingly hot and tired throng at the maternity unit in Paddington as speculation continued as to when the royal baby – who will be third in line to the throne – would make an appearance.
The world’s media, which is gathered outside the hospital, have resorted to knitting baby bootees and writing poems to entertain themselves.Sources have claimed that the royal couple have returned to their London home from the Berkshire residence of the Duchess’s parents, fuelling speculation that the baby’s arrival may be imminent.
The Duke is currently believed to be on holiday from his RAF job. Once the baby arrives, he will, as is standard for servicemen in the armed forces, take two weeks of paternity leave.
However, claims that the baby’s due date was 13 July have now been replaced with rumours that yesterday – 20 July – was actually the royal youngster’s expected day of arrival. It is not unusual for many first-time mothers to give birth up to two weeks late, which means the baby may not arrive until next month.
The arrival of a lookalike royal couple at the hospital on Friday – a stunt by a tabloid newspaper – sparked a few minutes of excitement as camera crews and photographers jostled for position before realising the true identity of the couple.
Meanwhile, bookmakers are upping the odds over whether the baby will be born a Cancer – in which case it will have to arrive by the end of tomorrow – or a Leo, after a reported statement by Kate’s mother, Carole Middleton, who is believed to have let slip that the baby would be born under the astrological lion sign.
In the baby name guessing game, bookies Betfair had Victoria and George on 8/1 odds, while William Hill said Alexandra and Charlotte were favourites.
Twitter accounts dedicated to the baby’s arrival have also run out of things to tweet about. “We hereby announce that... no,” wrote #royalbabyyet, which is offering updates several times an hour.
Despite the lack of action, US TV networks are offering round-the-clock coverage of the event, while in Japan, the capital’s Takashimaya department store is already selling commemorative figures and tableware.
Yesterday, royal supporter Terry Hutt, dressed from head to toe in Union flags, explained his dedication. The 78-year-old, who also camped out in front of Westminster Abbey for the royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, has been waiting on a wooden bench outside of the hospital for eleven days.
“What’s another week?’ he said. “It’s not boring and it gives my wife a rest from me.”