Advertisement

Royal baby mania builds as eager crowds gather outside St Mary's Hospital

80-year-old Terry Hutt from Weston-super-Mare hopes to camp outside the hospital Photo: Tim Ewart

It's Groundhog Day on South Wharf Road in west London. Another royal baby is expected and the circus is back in town.

The road is home to the private Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital and in the summer of 2013, when Prince George was born, taxi drivers knew it as "Crazy Street" as the media camped out to wait for the big moment.

Back then, some TV crews had been in position for three weeks, while in media pens that lined the pavement, photographers had chained their ladders to save a spot.

The press is much more regulated this time around Credit: Tim Ewart

Things are much more strictly regulated this time: no-one in the pens until it's officially announced that the Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted, and a brother or sister for Prince George is on the way. But the media spaces are marked out, the television trucks are parked, and reporters like me are lurking around and ready to go.

There are other familiar faces here too - the royal aficionados who assemble on special occasions draped in their union flags.

John Loughry from Wandsworth started his vigil outside the Lindo Wing back on 1 April, although he was not decked out in his royal regalia until several days later. "I'd like to sleep on the pavement here," says 60-year-old John. "But the police are gently moving us on."

John Loughry has been waiting since 1 April Credit: Tim Ewart

Here too is Terry Hutt, from Weston-super-Mare, who's now 80. He was waiting for nearly two weeks before the birth of Prince George. Terry met Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother when he was just four, when she visited Holloway in north London during the Blitz. He's been a devoted royal watcher ever since.

The plan is that they, and we, will not know Kate is in the hospital until an official announcement is made. The next announcement will give details of the birth: time of delivery, weight and gender.

Security around the hospital has been beefed up Credit: Tim Ewart

A notice will also be posted on an easel in front of Buckingham Palace. Guns will salute, bells will ring and flags will flutter in celebration.

What everyone wants, of course, is a glimpse of the baby. William and Kate proudly presented George to the crowds and the cameras outside the Lindo Wing and broke with royal tradition to answer some of our questions. Will that happen this time? Almost certainly.

As the legendary American baseball coach Yogi Berra once said: "It's déjà vu all over again."