The media feeding frenzy surrounding the impending birth of the British royal baby reached new intensity Monday when Kensington Palace announced that Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, had been admitted to hospital to give birth.
Reps of the world’s media have been stationed outside St. Mary’s Hospital in West London for days in anticipation of the news.
Journos first got wind of developments when Kate and her husband, William, Duke of Cambridge, were spotted arriving at a side entrance to the hospital by car at 6 a.m. local time (10 p.m. PT). Palace officials confirmed the news an hour and a half later (11:30 p.m. PT).
BBC, BSkyB and other local media outlets immediately started to report live from outside the hospital, although there was little more to announce.
In the States, CNN briefly cut into its U.S. feed with CNN Intl. reporting live at midnight PT on the royal baby, then returned to “Crimes of the Century.”
The five U.S. news networks stayed with regularly scheduled shows following the immediate news.
However, Fox News Channel had an on-screen ticker noting that Kate was in labor and also also aired cut-in live reports in the 2 and 3 a.m., ET, hours. The first cut-in report began at 2:42 a.m.
ABC News aired a special report to the ABC Television Network at 2.37 a.m., ET, to cover the news that Middleton has been admitted to the hospital to have the royal baby.
The channel’s “Good Morning America” had complete coverage on Monday when the program started.
In Blighty, U.K. paper The Guardian is already under way with a live blog reporting on its website — much like the paper reports live sports and political stories — in addition to a live stream of what’s happening outside of the hospital.
Tabloid papers the Sun and the Daily Mirror both have had live cameras streaming outside of the hospital for days, enabling readers to log on and watch the events unfolding outside of St. Mary’s at any time.
The Sun, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., featured the headline “Heir it comes!” while the Daily Mail said, “Kate goes into labour: ‘Things progressing well’ after Duchess is admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital at 6 a.m. with William by her side.”
Sky News continues to report live coverage, with the entire channel devoted to monitoring the progress of the Duchess’ labor all morning. The satcaster has already run video packages ahead of the birth, including a piece from Sky’s royal commentator Alastair Bruce, regarding the protocol of how the birth will be announced at Buckingham Palace.
Live presenters are positioned on the Mall (the road running up to Buckingham Palace), at the Middleton family home in Bucklebury, Berkshire, and at a variety of other positions throughout the country.
ITV has pre-cut packages ready to air with the baby is born, such as looking at the modern monarchy and the effect of Princess Diana on the grandchild she will never meet.
And the channel will air a 30-minute docu called “Kate’s Baby Bounce: Tonight,” which will look at how the royal infant will generate big profits for the baby industry.
Journos have been hitched outside the hospital for more than a week in anticipation of the arrival of the future king or queen of England. Many have endured unusually hot weather as the country has gone through a heatwave with temperatures higher than they have been in more than seven years.
While thunderstorms — also rare for Brit weather — were prevalent during the early hours of Monday when Kate and William were said to be on their way to the hospital, Monday was expected to be the hottest day of the year with temperatures reaching 95F.
Additionally, more journos from around the world are waiting outside Buckingham Palace, where in keeping with royal tradition, the name and sex of the royal baby will be announced on an easel in the Palace forecourt. This will be the world’s first opportunity to find out the gender of the child.
The next addition to the Windsor family will be born in the same place that Prince William and his brother, Prince Harry, were born — both were delivered in the Lindo Wing, the private maternity facility of St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London.
(Andrew Wallenstein contributed to this report.)
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