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Britain's royal baby bides its time

2013-07-14 17:42
 
Kate Middleton Prince William

London - The hospital is ready, the Wikipedia page and Twitter accounts are up and Britain's famously creative press are running out of ideas. But there was still no sign on Sunday of the royal baby.

Prince William is filling the time until his wife Catherine goes into labour playing polo, taking part in charity matches on Saturday and Sunday with his younger brother Harry.

He has taken a couple of days off from his work as a search and rescue helicopter pilot in Wales, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said, although he refused to say when the prince might be going back.

The palace has stayed tight-lipped about the birth of the new third in line to the throne, saying nothing for days other than to reiterate that Catherine is due some time in mid-July.

The press had pencilled in Saturday as the day, but bookmakers William Hill tipped Sunday as the likely due date, with Paddy Power offering equal odds on Sunday and Monday.

The only thing that is certain is that babies rarely come on time - and that when this new heir to the Windsor dynasty finally arrives, the world will be ready.

In keeping with the digital age, the newborn already has its own page on Wikipedia entitled "Child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge", to use William and Kate's formal titles.

Spoof Twitter accounts

Several spoof Twitter accounts have also been set up, with one, @RoyalFoetus, already claiming 5 500 followers. On June 19, it declared: "One is done with gestating."

Camera crews and photographers from around the world have been camped for two weeks outside St Mary's Hospital in London where Catherine, 31, is due to give birth.

And a row of parking spaces have been reserved by the royals outside the private Lindo Wing until the end of the month.

The Sunday Times newspaper reported that Kate's gynaecologist, Marcus Setchell, will be given a police escort to hospital when she goes into labour.

Previous reports said that Setchell had given up alcohol for several weeks in preparation for the birth.

In the absence of any proper news about the baby, such tidbits formed the bulk of the royal coverage in Britain's normally hard-hitting Sunday newspapers.

The Sunday Express reported "exclusively" that Catherine had spent the weekend at her parents' home in Berkshire, about 65km west of London.

The Sunday Telegraph meanwhile noted that if the bookmakers are to be believed, the baby will be a girl called Alexandra and will weigh between 3.17 to 3.60kg. 

Nanny

Looking ahead to how William and Catherine will bring up their child, the Mail on Sunday published a poll showing that 53% of people think the couple should not use a nanny.

A further 56% of respondents think Catherine should cut back significantly on her royal duties after the birth.

The paper said that palace officials expected Catherine to resume some public engagements later this year.

The child, the first for its superstar parents, has caused huge interest among the world's media, but tourists visiting London this weekend had a mixed reaction.

A few were excited that their visit might coincide with Kate going into labour and others appeared blissfully ignorant, but most knew and seemed unmoved.

"I think it's more important to the people of UK," Rosa Robledo, a fifty-something tourist from the US state of Texas told AFP outside St Paul's Cathedral.

"It's like - so there's a queen or a king, and there is a child born. OK, and it goes on."

- AFP

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