UK

Royal-watchers and well-wishers await birth

  • 22 July 2013
  • From the section UK

Royal-watchers and well-wishers are awaiting the birth of the third in line to the throne. Hundreds of people have gathered outside the private Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, west London, where the Duchess of Cambridge was admitted in the early hours of Monday morning.

There is also a media presence at Buckingham Palace, where news of the birth will be formally announced. And in York, where Prince Charles travelled by train to undertake official duties, the talk among spectators was of another royal arrival.

Lindo Wing, St Mary's Hospital, Paddington

More than 250 reporters and camera crews from all corners of the world are assembled outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital. Photographers' step-ladders are everywhere, and there is barely room to pass along the pavement.

Some of the journalists have been here for two weeks - and on Monday morning their ranks began to swell as Kensington Palace announced the Duchess of Cambridge had been admitted to the hospital and was in the early stages of labour.

Tourists from countries including Australia, France and Germany staying at nearby hotels have also been stopping by on their way to some of London's better-known sights.

And then there are the dedicated royal watchers.

Sharing a tent and surviving on a diet of fast food in blistering summer temperatures has not dampened the spirits of Maria Scott and her daughter Amy Thompson, 13.

The pair, who also camped out for 2011's royal wedding, travelled from Newcastle on Saturday.

"It is a part of history. There's a monarch being born. I wanted to be here," said Ms Scott.

Resplendent in his Union Jack suit and matching trainers, 78-year-old Terry Hutt is a regular at royal events.

He has been sleeping on a bench since 10 July in order to keep his prime spot right opposite the steps of the hospital, where the Duke and Duchess are due to pose for photographs when they leave with their first child.

Wearily eating an ice cream as well-wishers stop to say hello or ask for a photo, he says "I'm hoping it will be done this evening and put us all out of our misery".

Alex Kleiderman and Charlotte Ryan

Buckingham Palace

It is boiling outside Buckingham Palace but the atmosphere is pretty cool - for now.

It's a sense of business as usual but that will change. Once the new royal baby is born, attention will temporarily switch from the private Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital to the Palace, where the formal announcement of the birth will be made.

The bulletin will be displayed on an easel for all to see on the palace forecourt.

It is the way the Duke and Duchess want it, avoiding the news coming via Twitter, Facebook or even email if possible. It is the traditional method of making a royal birth announcement.

Most of the crowd here at the moment are tourists passing by, or lingering after watching Changing of the Guard earlier.

What they might see perhaps later today or on Tuesday is a piece of royal theatre.

If they peer hard through the palace gates they'll get a first view of the announcement and discover the sex and time of the birth of the third in line to the throne.

Daniela Relph

York

If Prince Charles is at all anxious about becoming a grandfather he certainly isn't showing it. As he stepped off the Royal Train - hauled into the Railway Museum by a steam engine - he looked totally relaxed .

This royal arrival was greeted with enthusiasm by a small crowd of schoolchildren and museum staff although it's another royal arrival they were all talking about. But they were all too polite to ask .

A journalist who stepped forward to enquire about it was told firmly not to. A short while later a member of the public did get to ask him, but his reply was simply that he hadn't heard anything .

Reminders of what royal watchers are excited about were everywhere though. It wasn't long before the Prince of Wales was inspecting a locomotive called Prince William which used to haul the royal train.

It was then on to York Minster to see restoration projects before continuing to other Yorkshire venues on his official duties.

Regardless of what's going in a London hospital, for Prince Charles it's business as usual today.

Danny Savage

Bucklebury Village

Bucklebury is a quiet place - gentle and reserved, thatched cottages and oak trees, horses and bicycles.

An old-fashioned English village, without much emotion on show. But, if you scratch hard enough, you do find a buzz of excitement about the place - albeit a very polite and reserved buzz.

As villagers water their hanging-baskets and sip gin and tonic in their gardens, they have a sparkle in their eyes. "Any news?" they enquire, as the many international news teams wander around looking for... anything!

Kate Middleton is well-known and well-liked here. Villagers are proud of the fact that she grew up locally - and that her parents still live nearby.

Bucklebury has seen many kings and queens in its 1,000 years of history - but when the bells peel here to celebrate the arrival of this future monarch, it will be a very special moment indeed.

Jon Kay

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