Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

How Kay delivered on the royal baby against all odds

Padding out: Sky News presenter Kay Burley and Sky Royal correspondent Paul Harrison outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital before the royal birth

I'll be honest. For a time I was, frankly, sneering at the girl. But gradually, the longer her wait went on, the more she pushed and strained to no avail, I truly began to feel her pain.

Poor Kay Burley.

Has ever any television presenter in history laboured for so long, forced to say so much about so little "as we await the news all the world wants to hear"?

Fair play her, that dazzling smile never wavered. Not when she confided that no matter how many photographers or reporters were waiting "babies come in their own time".

Not when she interviewed the gynaecologist who confirmed that yes, "each labour is unique". Or when she reminded us for the thousandth time that "Kate is behind me here in the Lindo Wing". Or even when her colleague Paul agreed that "the anticipation is really mounting".

Nor did it descend into smirk when she noted the comment from the PM about how "Kate has now gone into labour". (Oh, how Ed Milliband must have enjoyed that, Dave.)

We went over to Jeremy outside the Palace who told us all about The Easel where the birth announcement would be posted. This news, we were told would be ferried from The Lindo Wing to The Easel "in a vehicle".

Jeremy passed us on to Kate who was interviewing randoms in the Mall about their "mounting excitement". Kate passed us back to Kay who was considering reading the baby's stars from the evening paper.

"Any little bit of info we can possibly get our hands on," she let slip, neatly summing up the barrel-scraping lot of the live-outside-the-hospital reporter.

And as we now know the baby had already been born. No respite for Kay though. Five o'clock. Six o'clock. Seven o'clock. On and on she went. The Duracell bunny of royal birthing trivia. Fixed glossy smile, flowing hair, streaming verbiage. But inwardly she must have been screaming that same four letter word.

Push!

And then suddenly – ACTION! Crowds were running towards the Palace gates! Yes! A boy!

You felt such joy – such pure joy – for Kay. Finally something real to talk about.

Beaming like a lottery winner she led us down the street to get reaction from Members of the Public.

"It's a boy! How do you feel?" she asked one lady who stared back nonplussed.

"She eez from Brazil," the lady's companion explained. "Cannot speak Engleesh."

Poor Kay! Chances ...

But, fair to say, she was brilliant, Ms Burley. To use the technical term, padding is nowhere as easy as it looks. And padding alongside her outside the Lindo Ward were representatives of every major news outfit on earth.

It was a media scrum, we were told continuously. But that was a cliche of considerable understatement.

For it wasn't just a scrum. It was a whole Aviva Stadium of press personnel. Kate's new baby of Cambridge is already a global star.

But should those scenes outside the Lindo Ward reassure the Royal family of its popularity? Or send a chill down the spines of those who remember the years of the Diana feeding frenzy?

Post Diana there was something of an agreed stand-off among the media which gave the baby's father William and his brother Harry a great degree of privacy during their teens.

Kate too (aside from the infamous topless spread in French Closer) has been treated with similar consideration.

But the sheer scale of global coverage of the birth of her boy ramps interest in the Cambridge family to a dizzying new level.

And this is the era not just of rolling news, but 24-hour, iPad insatiability for every angle, every picture, or as Kay put it, "any little bit of info".

Those media legions joining Ms Burley awaiting the arrival of the little prince would seem to herald even greater global spotlight upon him and his family.

A shift in the media's post-Diana policy?

We may not have been privy to the action within, but there was the distinct sense of the birth of a renewed media fervour outside the Lindo Wing.

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