Well-wishers gather outside Palace
Well-wishers from around the globe have begun gathering outside Buckingham Palace, as news of the royal baby's imminent arrival broke.
Tourists armed with cameras peered hopefully through the Palace gates on the off-chance of spotting the easel, due to be placed on the forecourt detailing confirmation of the birth.
The months of speculation and anticipation - dubbed the Great Kate Wait - built to a climax on Monday morning amid news that the Duchess of Cambridge had been admitted to hospital in the early stages of labour. And the excitement was palpable outside the Palace, with media crews joining the ensemble of visitors eager for news.
Matthew and Donna Harold, from Michigan in the United States, said they had been asked to stock up on commemorative souvenirs for friends back home during their holiday in London. "The royal baby is front-page news every day back in the States at the moment, there is a lot of excitement," said Mrs Harold. "We have been told to bring back as many newspapers and souvenirs with the baby on as possible."
In Australia, a set of commemorative baby stamps has already been commissioned to mark the royal birth. Lynette Traynor, a postal worker from Melbourne who is on holiday in London, said: "We love everything to do with the royals, so the news is full of it. We have a set of baby stamps ready to go, as soon as it has been confirmed. We can't get enough of it."
Another visitor to the Palace, 26-year-old German Veronika Schwarz, said she thought there was greater excitement outside of England. "We don't have anything like the Royal Family in Germany, so we are all getting quite carried away with this. My friends in London seem like they just want the baby to come out now, I think they are tired of waiting."
Royal fan Terry Hutt, 78, from Cambridge, has been camped outside St Mary's Hospital for 12 days. The former soldier, who served with the Royal Ordnance Corps, is sleeping on a bench across the road from the Lindo Wing. "I have the best royal bed in town," he said. "I have lost my voice with all the excitement. At night we're watching the hospital in two-hour stints, like the Army. The health of the baby, and Kate, is the only important element."
The topic was trending on Twitter, while hundreds of mothers logged on to parenting website Mumsnet to give their opinions on the news.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, tweeted: "My thoughts and prayers are with Kate and the whole family on this enormously special day."
Labour's former deputy prime minister John Prescott joked: "Great to hear the Duchess of Cambridge has gone into labour. Is she an affiliated member?"