The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have thanked the ‘superfans’ camping outside the hospital where their new baby is due to be born by sending them a royally-approved breakfast treat.
William and Kate, who are eagerly awaiting the birth of their now overdue second child at Kensington Palace, acted after seeing news reports about a group of Union flag-clad royalists who have spent the last fortnight staking out the private Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London.
This morning, at around 9am, the astonished fans were woken up by members of staff from the royal household personally delivering ten cups of coffee and two boxes of croissants and Danish pastries – intriguingly wrapped up in pink ribbons.
A Kensington Palace spokesman told Mail Online that the breakfast surprise had indeed come from the couple themselves.
‘Yes it is true,’ they said.
‘The Duke and Duchess have seen the news reports about these people camping out and they just wanted to let them know they were thinking of them.’
Royal sources confirmed that the staff were members of the Duke and Duchess’s household but said the drinks and treats had been purchased from a local coffee shop
Maria Scott, 49, who has been outside the hospital for more than a week, described the moment that two men woke her up with the remarkable delivery.
‘They knocked on the tent and said good morning, we have a present from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge,’ she said.
John Loughrey, 60, who has been at the hospital since April 16 and also camped out ahead of the royal wedding in 2011 and was the only member of the public to attend every day of the inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, added: ‘We’re really touched – we thank them with all our hearts.’
Cupping his drink, Terry Hutt, 79, another long-term royal camper, sat up on his bench bed, and added of the thoughtful gesture: ‘I can feel my hands now. I was in shock.’
Mr Hutt, who has been sleeping on a bench outside the Lindo Wing since last Monday added: ‘I’d just woken up freezing cold when these two men came over with boxes of cakes and coffees. What surprised me was that they had pink ribbons around the boxes – could it mean there’s a girl on the way?
‘The men told me William and Kate had sent them as a present and I asked them to pass on a thank you message back.
‘It’s the first time something like this has ever happened and I’ve been coming here 25 years to see the new royal babies being born.’
Mr Hutt, who has travelled to London from Weston-Super-Mare and was last night spending his ninth night sleeping outside the hospital, added: ‘I’m 80 on Thursday this week and I’m hoping the baby arrives on the day.’
John Loughrey, 60, also one of those sleeping outside despite only living a few miles away in Wandsworth, said: ‘It made us tearful to receive the breakfast from the Duke and Duchess. They’ve got good hearts – they care.’
Mr Loughrey, dressed in a Union flag outfit and a hat decorated with royal badges the oldest of which commemorated George V and Mary’s Silver Jubilee in 1935, added: ‘It’s such a kind gesture. We’re here for the long haul – last time, before Prince George was born, Terry was outside for 12 days. It’s turned cold but we don’t care what sort of weather it is.
‘I’ve been turning out for royal events since Charles married Diana. And I also support the royals in other ways. I’m running this year’s Royal Parks Half Marathon for Prince Harry’s charity, Sentebale.
Another of the royal superfans outside the Lindo Wing, Kathy Martin, 52, a self-employed mother-of-one from Beckenham who has camped out for Princess Diana’s and the Queen Mother’s funerals, and William and Kate’s 2011 wedding, said: ‘It was such a nice surprise – we were all thinking of going to McDonald’s.
‘There were two boxes of cakes – one containing four croissants, while the other had two Danishes, an apple turnover and fruit bun, and there were 10 coffees.’
She added: ‘We’re going to give them a really lovely thank you card.’
Maria Scott, who is with daughter Amy Thompson, 14, in two tents outside the hospital, having travelled down from Newcastle, said: ‘We had a knock on our tents but when we went out, we couldn’t see anyone. Then Terry said the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had sent the cakes and coffees as a gift. We were delighted.
‘I’ve been a fan of the royals for many years and the house is full of pictures. My husband Ian just leaves us too it.’
The 44-year-old has been bringing her daughter to royal events since 2006 and the pair have previously camped out together for the best viewing points at the royal wedding, the birth of Prince George and Prince George’s christening.
They regularly queue for hours to glimpse members of the royal family at public visits and visit Kensington Palace twice a year to mark the death and birthday of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Asked how she responds to criticism about bringing her daughter along, she said: ‘I don’t let the criticism bother me, she wants to do this kind of thing.
‘I have told Amy about Princess Diana since she was able to understand. She loves the royal family.
‘She wouldn’t be at school anyway because of her dislocated knee so she may as well be here to enjoy it.
‘I have a special mattress for her here and she is getting plenty of rest.’
Daughter Amy said of the Duke and Duchess’s gesture: ‘It was just so thoughtful and kind and it shows how grateful they are for our support.’
Amy she came down to London during the Easter holiday but after dislocating her knee decided to camp out and wait for the baby.
She said: ‘I was here for Prince George being born and the atmosphere was just so lovely and I just wanted to experience that again.
‘I wanted to be here before the baby was born because the build-up makes it so much more special on the day.
‘My friends think I’m crazy but I don’t care. Some people camp out for iPhones and concert tickets, I do this. I’ve been brought up with my mum being obsessed with the royal family so now I am. I just hope the baby comes quickly now.’
Kate, 33, is now several days overdue, having been told to expect her second child by Saturday.
Last night a disappointed Prince Harry, who was in London briefly over the weekend to undertake official engagements, returned to Australia, where he is currently station with the army, after failing to see his new niece or nephew.
Many royal watchers are now hoping the baby, a younger brother or sister for Prince George, will hold on until tomorrow – the Duke and Duchess’s fourth wedding anniversary.