LONDON (AP) — By the time you're reading this, the Duchess of Cambridge could be in labor. Or it could be a matter of hours. Or days. Or weeks.
As Britain's Prince William and his wife, Kate, await the birth of their first child — and the future heir to the English throne — some are convinced the royal due date has already passed, even though Buckingham Palace has not given an exact date. Many in the British media predicted the baby would be born last week and the prince himself is now on official leave.
Dozens of reporters have already staked out the central London hospital where Kate is expected to give birth. The palace has said only that the Duchess is due to deliver the baby in "mid-July."
But experts say there's no reason to think that the baby is actually overdue; due dates are at best an educated guess and come with a margin of error of two to three weeks.
"The baby will come when he or she is ready," said Janet Fyle, a midwife and professional policy adviser at Britain's Royal College of Midwives. She said the due date is calculated from the first day of the woman's last period. Then add seven days, plus nine months. "But nature is the primary determinant (of the due date) and we can't do anything to change that," Fyle said.