During a Cabinet meeting Thursday at Chequers, the country retreat of elected British leaders, an aide stepped in with a note for Prime Minister David Cameron. A hush quickly fell over the room.
“Everyone, of course, thought it was the announcement about the royal baby,” Cameron told the BBC, “and there was a great intake of breath.” In the end, the deflated ministers exhaled. It was nothing more than a cricket score.
But it suggested the real labor for a world on royal baby watch – the wait.
Baby arrivals are rarely scripted. But the coming of the first child of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has warped into an exercise of almost comic anticipation and rampant confusion.
Royal spokesmen have only ever confirmed a vague “mid-July” due date, but initial reports suggested a delivery on or around July 13. Since that day came and went, the royal-obsessed on both sides of the Atlantic – and particularly the horde of global media gathered at the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital in London where Catherine is expected to give birth – have been desperately reading every Tweet, every news report, every piece of idle gossip like so many tea leaves.
Even Queen Elizabeth II seems to be tapping her well-appointed feet in impatience. “I would very much like it to arrive. I’m going on holiday,.” She said Wednesday.