World Media on Alert as Kate Middleton Goes Into Labor
UPDATED: After weeks of anticipation, Kensington Palace has confirmed that Prince William and Kate Middleton's royal baby is on the way.
LONDON -- Prince William and Kate Middleton's baby is on the way.
After weeks of waiting and speculation about names, genders and birth dates, the Duchess of Cambridge has gone into labor, Kensington Palace confirmed early Monday morning.
The Duchess is in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary's hospital in Paddington, West London.
The breaking news was the talk of the British media Monday morning as a fresh work week began. News networks BBC News and Sky News focused their coverage on the royal baby, while other networks led their news shows with the latest on Middleton going into labor and a look at when the baby might arrive and what details the royals would share when.
The BBC, in its continuing coverage, highlighted that Middleton and Prince William traveled by car from Kensington Palace to the hospital in the early Monday morning hours. It said royal vehicles were first seen at a back entrance of the hospital at about 6 a.m. local time.
BBC royals correspondent Nick Witchell said there was likely to be no more news shared by the royals until the official birth announcement. He said that the next time the royal couple will appear in public is likely to be when they appear on the steps of the hospital with the baby, whose gender remains unknown.
Sky News royals correspondent Paul Harrison said in a series of early morning stand-ups from outside the hospital that palace sources told him that Middleton was comfortable in the early stages of labor.
And commenting on the media scene at the hospital, he said: "It's quite a sight. …The excitement is definitely building." Sky News showed a couple of police officers standing outside the entrance to the hospital's Lindo Wing.
Commentators on the news network, which is owned by U.K. pay TV giant BSkyB, also highlighted how the royal couple has said they hoped for a natural birth.
Phil Dampier, royals commentator for the network, said the birth is expected to be "a big story in America" and highlighted the importance of the baby in the royal succession. The child will be the third in line to the British throne. "This child will be the first monarch of the 22nd century," he said.
British TV networks also discussed the role Prince Harry will have as the child's uncle. They noted how he and Middleton's sister, Pippa, are possible godparents for the baby.
After a range of news updates on Monday morning from ITV News royals correspondent Tim Ewart, who was outside the hospital, ITV aired preproduced reports on the tradition and etiquette of announcing news about royal babies.
In one report, Ewart said that details of the baby's birth and gender will be shared in a letter that will be put on an aisle at Buckingham Palace. "It may seem strange in the age of Twitter," but the royals decided to continue that tradition, the correspondent said.
Palace sources quoted by U.K. TV reporters also said that the royals chose to wait with the labor announcement until Middleton was in the hospital and tended to by medical staff.
With the world's media waiting for the actual birth, one of the big British tabloids had some fun with the news that the baby was finally on its way.
"Heir it comes!" The Sun, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, titled its story on its website. "Kate in labour at London hospital. William at bedside as world waits," it added.
The Sun also streamed video from outside the hospital via its "Royal Baby Monitor."
Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror started running a live blog with regular updates under the headline "Royal Baby Watch."
The Independent's headline referred to the anticipation that had been building in recent weeks. "The Wait Is Over," it said. "Duchess of Cambridge Goes Into Labour."
The Guardian, however, played the news straight. "Duchess of Cambridge Admitted to Hospital in Early Stages of Labour," its headline said.