Royal Baby's Security Calls for London Hospital, Then Kensington Palace: Expert

Kate Middleton's home town and hospital are unlikely to figure in baby's birth.

ByABC News
May 26, 2013, 1:31 PM

May 27, 2013— -- In late April UK media reported that Prince William and Catherine Middleton's baby might be born at Royal Berkshire Hospital, where Kate Middleton was born. This is closer to Middleton's parents' home, where she would spend the final weeks of her pregnancy, reports said.

Not so, ABC News royal correspondent Victoria Arbiter said: "The baby will be born at St. Mary's hospital in London, where Princes William and Harry were born."

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"That type of hospital is not equipped to handle the security needs of this birth," Arbiter said. "Plus, the royals will want the birth to be as easy on other patients at the hospital as possible," a goal more likely to be met at St. Mary's, Arbiter said.

The hospital's private Lindo wing offers birthing suites and doctors with experience caring for "complex pregnancies," according to its website.

But -- perhaps surprisingly, given the enormity of the event -- don't expect a "massive change in police presence" during and after the birth, Arbiter said, just a presence that's "stepped up a notch."

More important to the new family's security than a huge police presence would be simply getting home quickly.

"Diana had William on June 21 and left June 22, and I'm sure William and Kate are hoping for something similar. If all goes well with the delivery, Kensington Palace gives them privacy and security without added worries," Arbiter said.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as they are formally known, plan to live in Princess Margaret's former quarters at Kensington Palace, which are being renovated. Unfortunately, they will have to wait, due to a seemingly universal law: The work is behind schedule.

"It doesn't matter if you're a royal or a regular Joe: if the construction is supposed to be done in June, it'll be done in September," Arbiter said.

As Charles, Diana and other royals have in the past, William and Kate will leave the hospital by the front door, enabling a major photo opportunity. The royal family likes to be as visible and accessible to their subjects as possible, Arbiter said.

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"This makes it tricky to protect against a lunatic in the crowd, but protection officers are always watching," even if you don't notice them, Arbiter said. "Fanaticals" -- either fans or terrorists -- are what the authorities worry about, not Britain's notorious tabloid press, she added.

"When Diana died as a result of being chased by paparazzi, that really shut things up," Arbiter said.

"The press will be respectful -- nobody wants to get thrown out of the royal press pool," she said, adding that paparazzi were a bigger worry when royals traveled, as Prince Harry's Las Vegas scandal and Kate's topless photos in France showed.

In April it was reported that Kate would spend the first six weeks after leaving the hospital at her parents' home in Bucklebury, Berkshire.

Arbiter called this "possible but not likely. ... It must have been a slow news week."

Kensington Palace offers a "secure, fortified" place, while Bucklebury poses "all sorts of problems," especially security, Arbiter said.

"And as much as the in-laws get on well," she added, "it's just hard to see the Queen popping round for tea to visit her great-grandchild at Carole Middleton's home."

After the child gets a little older, a new and important figure will likely enter the picture to help safeguard the royal child's security: a nanny. A saying in Britain goes, "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the empire."

Since 1892, Norland College in Bath, England, has trained nannies for royals and other high-profile clients.

"Whether you work for a doctor, a solicitor, a member of the Royal family or a high profile celebrity, the skills are exactly the same," Principal Liz Hunt said in an interview with ABC News correspondent Amy Robach.

These skills include tae kwon do to ward off would-be kidnappers and evasive driving maneuvers to counter paprazzi.