The media and public are on the royal baby watch, and the rumor mill went into overdrive on Friday owing to two separate incidents, which indicated that Kate Middleton might be in labor.
Emergency services being called to Middleton’s family home and the sight of the royal couple outside St. Mary’s Hospital had people speculating that the royal baby would be due on Friday.
But these were later revealed to be false alarms, for the Mirror reported that emergency services were called to help a dog -- believed to be Middleton’s pet, Lupo -- who got his head stuck behind two bars.
Photographer Greg Blatchford, who was waiting outside Middleton’s family home in West Berkshire, in an attempt to get a glimpse of the Duchess of Cambridge leaving home after going into labor, said he heard the dog’s yelps.
“Soon after, I heard a high-pitched scream, which sounded like a dog in distress. I presume that was when they were pulling the poor animal out from between the bars of the gate,” he told the Mirror.
The second incident, a spotting of Middleton and Prince William in front of the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital, turned out to be a prank orchestrated by Britain’s Sun tabloid.
The Sun employed the services of professional lookalikes Nicola Maher, 22, from Lancashire, and 30-year-old Tom Moore from Bromley, South London, and the prank even managed to fool the queen’s former press secretary, Dickie Arbiter.
Soon after spotting the fake Middleton, Arbiter tweeted, “Kate’s in through the front door,” but soon added, “False alarm Sun stunt.”
Maher told the Sun that it took some time for people gathered outside the hospital to realize who she really was.
“It was unbelievable,” Maher told the Sun. “I could hear the cameras snapping and people yelling ‘Kate.’ They kept asking, 'Is it a boy or a girl?' And 'What will you call it?' Some shouted suggestions. They definitely fell for it.
“The foreign journalists were going crazy. They were zooming in on my belly, and someone asked to touch it. We were getting mobbed.”
Keerthi Mohan is an IBTimes reporter covering entertainment and human interest stories.