Forest of ladders at royal baby watch
LONDON: It could be weeks before Prince William’s wife Catherine gives birth to Britain’s future monarch – but the world’s media, taking no chances, are already firmly camped outside her London hospital.
A forest of ladders and tripods has sprung up outside the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, where several broadcasters – desperate not to miss that crucial shot of a royal arrival – have begun a 24-hour vigil.
“We’ve had a few passers-by making incredulous comments,” admitted one cameraman for the US network NBC, sprawled in a camping chair in the sunshine.
“Our network’s been here since Monday last week, although it’s only the last few days that we’ve been manning it 24 hours.”
The air will ring with the frantic clicking of cameras when Kate is finally admitted to the hospital, but with the baby not officially due until mid-July it could be a long wait.
At one end of the dense thicket of ladders, a cameraman could be seen pottering about in a sun hat crafted from a sheet of newspaper.
The birth will be a global news sensation, especially given the popularity of William and Kate, whose glittering wedding in 2011 was watched by an estimated two billion people.
The pavement outside the hospital is covered with tape marking out the patches of territory claimed by rival outlets, but the dozens of ladders will remain mostly unmanned until Kate goes into labour.
Major news organisations have claimed 15 or more positions each outside the hospital, determined not to miss the snap of the year.
The best spots, with prime views directly opposite the entrance to the Lindo Wing, are reserved by Britain’s biggest news broadcasters – the BBC, ITN and Sky News. The coffee shop over the road has been doing a roaring trade – Sapa-AFP