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Hospital in Reading, England, preparing for birth of royal baby

Published On: Jul 19 2013 11:37:20 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 19 2013 11:47:35 AM EDT
Royal Berkshire Hospital

A hospital in Reading is reportedly preparing for the birth of the royal baby.

No, not Reading, Pa., but the town it's named for in England.

Britain's Telegraph newspaper reported Thursday that a contingency plan is in place for Catherine to give birth at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, England, if she goes into labor while staying at her parents' home in Berkshire, and its swift progress means the journey back to London is impractical.

The Reading Post, the England city's newspaper, reported Friday that the world's media are now focusing attention on the hospital, with U.S., German and Japanese crews already in place.

Meanwhile, there's debate over the Duchess of Cambridge's actual due date. The Telegraph, citing "well-placed sources," reported that medical staff at St. Mary's Hospital -- where Catherine is expected to give birth -- were told the due date was July 19.

A royal source earlier told CNN that her due date was July 13. She and Prince William announced at the start of the year that the baby was due in July, but did not announce the date.

St. Mary's Hospital, next to Paddington Station in London, is where William was born, as was his brother Harry.

There's been plenty of speculation about the baby's name -- and betting is going strong. The famous Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London, which takes in and finds homes for lost and unwanted pets, has gone a step further and named a litter of kittens after the bookies' favorites: Alexandra, Charlotte, Elizabeth, Victoria, Grace, James and George.


Whatever the name, the baby will have the title His or Her Royal Highness Prince or Princess (the baby's name) of Cambridge, St. James's Palace said this month. The baby will be third in line to the throne after Prince Charles and Prince William, regardless of gender.

The first to know about the royal baby will be Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister David Cameron and the governors general of each of the commonwealth nations, along with the rest of the royal and Middleton families.

If the baby arrives in the middle of the night, it's unlikely the queen will be awoken, so there is a chance in that instance that an official announcement will not be made until the following morning.