I was there... outside the hospital at the birth of Prince George

"Every time a car arrived they would jump around as though deranged, elbowing their way into place for what they hoped would be the ‘killer’ shot of the expectant mum"

Tom Latchem is a British freelance journalist based in London, who joined the massed ranks of media outside St Mary's Hospital in Paddington to wait (and wait) for the arrival of the Royal baby. Prince George was born to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on July 22 and featured on newspaper front pages around the world. Tom covered the Royal Birth for the New York Daily News.

"Royal births are strange occasions. Unlike other Royal engagements, which take place on a set day, you never quite know when they are going to happen. It doesn’t help matters when Palace officials refuse even to give a due date.

And so it was that the world’s media spent the best part of a month camped outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in West London, waiting for Kate Middleton to give birth to the future King of England.

From early July, camera crews, journalists and photographers from around the globe spent every morning, noon and night sitting patiently, bored, resigned to the fact they were in it for the long haul as literally nothing happened.

But that didn’t stop reporters from Sky and BBC’s rolling news channels endlessly filling time with nothing more than uninformed fluff. It was amusing to watch as these paid Royal Watchers – many of whom pretend they have an exclusive line in to the Royal Family – clearly knew nothing about when the big day might come.
Journalist Tom Latchem joined the massed ranks of media outside St Mary's Hospital in Paddington to wait for the …

Each time a car pulled up it and someone went inside a buzz went around the waiting Press Pack about who it might have been and what significance it held. Sky News’s Royal Correspondent Paul Harrison, in particular, with his forced grin and jolly-but-dim demeanour, performed admirably in pretending that nothing happening was somehow relevant.

Close by two men dressed head-to-toe in Union flag gear were involved in a scrap to prove who the biggest royal ‘superfan’ was. The eccentrics, among a number of Royalists who had turned up to witness history, had transformed two wooden benches into their bases.

On the right-hand bench was the veteran superfan Terry Hutt, 78, who spent 10 days waiting for the birth. "Even my wife thinks I'm bloody mad," the retired carpenter from Cambridge roared with laughter.

Sitting on the next bench was Hutt's main rival, retired chef John Loughrey, 58, from Wandsworth in South London. Like Hutt, he has endeavoured to attend every royal occasion in the calendar. And while Loughrey was full of deference towards his rival, Hutt was far less respectful of Loughrey. "He's an intruder," he sneered.

Elsewhere, people from around the world popped by to see what all the fuss was about. I spoke to tourists from all four corners of the globe who had taken time out of their holidays to join the circus.

As Kate’s rumoured due date moved closer, the competition for places in the photographers’ pen got more and more intense as snappers, short on sleep and short-tempered from the heat, started to, well, snap.

Every time a car arrived they would jump around as though deranged, elbowing their way into place for what they hoped would be the ‘killer’ shot of the expectant mum. Yet hilariously, those photographers who had waited for so long to see Kate enter the hospital ended up missing the moment when she sneaked in a side door during the early hours.

No matter, for the end was nigh, and at 16.24 on July 22 she gave birth to the boy who would be the King of England. The news, when it broke several hours later, was met with cheers outside the hospital – probably a mixture of delight and relief.

Yet the jitters of the waiting media continued as they prepared to capture the moment Kate and Prince William would emerge with their new born son, as Prince Charles and Diana had done with him 31 years earlier.

The following day family members, including Kate’s parents Michael and Carole and William’s father Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, came and went – suggesting it wouldn’t be long until we saw the as yet still unnamed baby.

Finally, on the afternoon of July 23, after almost a month waiting, and several false alarms, the Lindo Wing staff came to stand in the street, giving the biggest hint yet that the waiting journalists, and well-wishers who had gathered outside, were about to witness history.

As the crowd buzzed with excitement the happy couple emerged to a wall of flash photography. Looking elated but exhausted, they beamed as they shared their baby – later to be Christened Prince George of Cambridge – with the world before addressing the media, jumping in a black Range Rover and heading for home.

With history made, the crowds drifted off into the afternoon sun while the massed ranks of journalists – many of whom had been away from their families for as long as three weeks – filed their stories, videos and photographs while breathing a collective sigh of relief."