23rd of July, 2013. It was such a thrilling day. Matthew and I woke up early not knowing when William and Catherine would appear with their little one, so we hurried along the Central Line Tube to Lancaster Gate and walked from there to St. Mary’s Hospital adjacent to the Paddington Train Station. There was speculation that she would be discharged from the hospital late morning, early afternoon. Matthew studied for his last Summer Law School Final standing next to me while we took in our surroundings at the Lindo Wing Entrance. Things were really shaping up and the press were building their metal ladder mountain. Many more people were there and the increased police force was significant. Overnight they had added a number of new barricades. The police kept small thoroughfares open as best as they could so if you walked past certain points that opened to the street you could see the entrance to the Lindo Wing easily. You could not stay there, however.
Everyone was excited and happy. The hospital, as it is, is a working one and so employees and patients would make their way in and around the crowds throughout the day. We were there around 9 or 10am and by then the clouds darkened and the rain came. Umbrellas sprouted up everywhere like flowers opening to the sun, and the press hunkered down doing their best to save their equipment, cameras, laptops, mics, and everything else from the downpour. I found the whole thing rather funny and it was generally a good day for everyone so spirits were high regardless, including the press, who would finally be relieved of their long vigil.
We finally got notice from the Press that they would not appear until 18:00 or so that night, so I left for home. Matthew had already gone on a bit earlier to South Kensington to go take his three-hour law final. I returned a little before 17:00, and stayed for the next two and a half hours. Matthew finished his exam at 17:00 and joined me around 17:45 having walked through Hyde Park to get there. St. Mary’s is north of Hyde Park. I was perched on the west side of the street and by the time most of the crowds came, 18:30 or so, I had managed to make my way up a winding stairs for a better view that had been kept clear until the very last minute the security decided to let us go up to a certain point. Yay! Thank you.
Matthew was below me, and making jokes with the Australian newscast. Everyone was in good humour. After a few small bursts of rain, everyone started asking the press along the road to take their umbrellas down so they could see. When they eventually did, everyone cheered and then other people from the opposite side of the street would put their cameras up because they thought it was William and Catherine coming out. Everyone laughed then.
At about 19:11, William and Catherine emerged from the Wing. Both in baby blue, it was perfectly symbolic of their new little baby boy. Catherine looked fantastic to have just given birth, she is SO naturally beautiful, and as some news have complimented her, she showed her post-partem bump that is a totally natural part of after-birth. Good for her and such a healthy model for women around the globe.
It was awesome to see them in real time, and they were, as it is, so famous, but very humble and youthful. There was no airs, but a real sense of thanks for all the Hospital had done for them, and for everyone out there to support them on such a happy day. After they stood on the steps, they went right down to the press pen, and everyone was able to get a better look. When they went back inside, and reemerged this time to leave, I remember William nearly getting into the driver’s seat and as if remembered, popped back out to wave thanks to the staff on either side of the Wing’s entrance. You could tell they were grateful, which their press statements to the hospital, and all, confirm. I imagined as William waved a final wave then, his mother would have been so proud, and watched over them both this whole journey through.
As they drove off, everyone cheered. As Matthew and I walked away hand in hand, a French newscast asked to interview us. We will probably never see the reel, but it was fun to give our first and lasting impressions about the whole affair. Enjoy the photos below!
Photo. A friendly policeman offering his hand to help a lady across the street. I snapped this photo just in time. Such a kind gesture.
Photo. Pour at St. Mary’s. The policeman is getting drenched out there in the street.
Photo. Prince Charles and Camilla paid a visit to see the newborn for the first time. They arrived in a blue jaguar and were not in for long. Here, you see, they are departing the Wing.
Photo. Camilla smiles as she gets back in the car.