Second Royal Baby: Media Coverage Heats Up After Kate Middleton Goes Into Labor

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The royal couple after the birth of Prince George in July 2013

U.K. and international TV crews descended on the London hospital where Middleton and Prince William‎ also celebrated the birth of Prince George in 2013.

U.K. and international TV networks jumped into action as the British royal palace announced Saturday morning, London time, that Kate Middleton had gone into labor.

Social media sites also experienced a jolt of activity upon the news that the birth of Middleton and Prince William's second ‎child was nearing.

On Saturday morning, British news channel Sky News started off the hour with more than 20 minutes of news, background, analysis and updates on the royal baby from outside the hospital.

News teams were alerted around 6:30 a.m. London time Saturday (10:30 p.m. Friday night L.A. time) that Middleton had gone into labor, according to Sky News royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills. "The announcement came much earlier than we had expected," she told viewers. "We had been told that any official announcements would come between 8 o'clock in the morning and 10 o'clock at night. But it was an early wake-up call for all of us this morning 6:30, everyone's alerts went off."

BBC News and ITV also covered the news early on Saturday. The royal family's message about Middleton's admission to the hospital allowed TV crews to take their positions ouside said hospital.

"Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was admitted at 6:00 to St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London and is in the early stages of labor," a palace statement, which also was posted on Twitter, stated. "The Duchess traveled by car from Kensington Palace to the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital with the Duke of Cambridge" (Prince William's official title).

Outside of Britain, the news that Middleton had gone into labor wasn't always the lead story, but it was covered on early news shows.

In Germany, though, news network n-tv kicked off its 9 a.m. hour with several minutes on the London news. "The royal baby is coming," its anchor said to start the show. The network's correspondent who gave an update from outside the hospital said several hundred journalists had taken up their positions, and excitement was building for the birth.

Other German newscasts also covered the news, but networks didn't go into blanket coverage.

TV footage shown on European networks from outside the hospital early Saturday showed members of the media lined up outside the hospital, waiting. It also showed the royals' fans in Union Jack jackets outside the hospital. Some of them have been waiting for two weeks, said reports.

The buildup to the birth of the second royal baby has been more subdued than the global-media circus that surrounded the arrival of Prince George in July 2013.

That was due in part to the palace's decision to tell camera crews that they only could take their places outside of‎ London's St. Mary's Hospital once they were told that Middleton went into labor.

Twitter: @georgszalai