LONDON — At last, after weeks of waiting and on-the-edge anticipation (in a heatwave), the royal baby is ready to arrive. Duchess Kate of Cambridge is in the hospital and in the early stages of labor, Buckingham Palace confirmed early Monday.

“The Duchess traveled by car from Kensington Palace to the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital with the Duke of Cambridge,” tweeted Clarence House, the press office for Prince William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

And not a moment too soon for everyone in the United Kingdom, from the queen and the prime minister down to each of the sweaty members of the media mob waiting for more than two weeks outside St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.

As soon as the Clarence House tweet went out, the royals media piled onto Twitter.

“Duchess of Cambridge arrived at hospital at 5.45 am (local time). Believed to have used Cambridge wing entrance used by Princess Diana,” tweeted David Brown of The Times of London.

“Writing on Twitter, Kate’s uncle, Gary Goldsmith, says today is ‘very very exciting,’ ” tweeted Peter Hunt of the BBC.

“What do you think a boy or a girl,” is the refrain being heard in and around the streets of Paddington as the world waits for news.

Hospital workers, meanwhile, could be heard saying, “It’s just ridiculous,” referring to the hundreds of jostling journalists and photographers massed outside of St Mary’s early on Monday morning.

Kate and husband Prince William, both 31 and about to have their first baby, had been spending time at her parents’ mansion about 50 miles away in rural Bucklebury, partly to escape the high temperatures (for London) in the city.

They had returned to Kensington Palace this weekend, according to the British media, although the palace had refused to confirm that, and said nothing until it confirmed she was in the hospital and in labor today..

She checked into the private Lindo Wing (Twitter jokesters had nicknamed it the “Limbo WIng during what they called #GreatKateWait), where William and brother Prince Harry were born more than three decades ago.

source: USA today