For­est of lad­ders at royal baby watch

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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