LONDON–It was a quiet Sunday outside the Lindo Wing entrance of St. Mary’s Hospital in London: The press pens were empty and there was no sign of royal watchers, ready to cheer on an impending royal birth.
The hype for royal baby number two might be less – a Sunday Times piece reported that in the States only one in 10 people claimed any excitement this time around, and the U.S. and other foreign press would not be descending en masse to London as they had two years ago.
Even so, nearby shops and cafes are still hoping there will be an upswing in business in the coming days.
Barbara Mate, a Hungarian who works at nearby Costa Coffee, says that though she wasn’t working there when Prince George was born in July 2013, it’s all rather exciting.
Business this weekend has been busier than normal: “Usually in the weekends it’s quiet, but yesterday and today we’ve seen more people,” she says. “Two people working is usually enough, but not today. We haven’t stopped in the last two hours.”
Mark Retuta, who just started work at London Red Bus Company, a souvenir shop, says he thinks it might get busier as the week – and the growing hype – continues.
The store, which has Paddington Bear in the window and is across from the train and tube station made famous by the fictionalized orphan Peruvian bear, sells trinkets like London phonebox key chains, t-shirts and Union Jack flags. Those could be quickly snapped up by royal watchers wanting to welcome Prince William, Princess Kate and the new baby.
“I think it’s gonna be crowded,” he says. “We are expecting that. It can be good for business.”
Syed Zaidi, a salesclerk at Super Save Express, a convenience store, says that he worked during the last royal birth two summers ago. “As usual, it was a busy summer,” he says, sitting behind the counter. “Last time we expected it to be even busier, but we didn’t notice anything more than usual. It could get busier, but it’s been normal so far.”
Gul Rehman, the manager of nearby Micky’s Fish and Chips, says before and during Kate’s stay in 2013 – when she gave birth to Prince George – they expected it would be busier.
Though he hasn’t noticed an upswing in business this week either, he does say they’ll give a discount to journalists.
He may soon find himself with a queue out the door with journalists from across the globe hungry for some grease – and the first picture and scoop on the newest edition to Britain’s royal family.