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Around the world, the countdown is on for the royal baby

Royal supporter Terry Hutt with his royal paraphernalia and a congratulatory placard outside St. Mary’s Hospital in London on Friday, July 12, 2013. Cameras from all over the world are set to be jostling outside for an exclusive first glimpse of Britain's Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge's first child.

Matt Dunham/AP

The Duchess of Cambridge's due date is supposed to be Saturday, meaning the baby could come any day now and all of Britain is already in high celebration.

The country has been relishing the success of Andy Murray at Wimbledon, the Lions rugby team in Australia, Chris Froome in the Tour de France and England's cricket team at the Ashes Test series. Throw in some hot weather and a bit of good economic news, and Britons have been cheering for days.

But a royal baby is something else and when the Duchess – Kate Middleton – delivers the child, he or she will eclipse everything else. Here's is a taste of what's coming:

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Lights

Toronto's CN Tower will light up in pink or blue in honour of the birth, depending on whether the baby is a boy or a girl. Niagara Falls is following suit and in New Zealand, 20 landmarks, including Auckland's Sky Tower and Hamilton's Victoria Bridge, will be flashing blue or pink as well.

Cost

The Duchess is having her baby at the private Lindo Wing of the public St. Mary's Hospital, where Princess Diana had her two boys, William and Harry. The facility charges about $7,700 for a normal delivery, up to $10,000 for a cesarean section, plus around $1,600 for each additional night beyond the first. Palace sources have said the cost will be covered privately.

Bets

British bookies are having a field day taking bets on almost everything including the child's sex, hair colour, weight, time of birth, date of birth and even who will hold the baby when the couple emerges from hospital. Best bets for names are Alexandra, Elizabeth, Diana and James. Long shots: Elvis, Chardonnay, Waynetta.

Gifts

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Among the many gifts sent to the Duke and Duchess, a faux-sheepskin blanket is being sent by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals with a message that sheepskin is a product of cruelty to animals.

Parties

London's Marriott Hotel, which overlooks Big Ben, is offering a Royal Baby Shower Suite that can accommodate 20 people and includes champagne, afternoon tea, a private butler and a goodie bag for the expectant mother. It's all for around $94 a person, 10 minimum.

Lucky penny

The Royal Mint plans to give every child born on the same day as the royal baby a free "lucky" penny, worth about $43 each.

Exhibits

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The Museum of London has started a Royal Arrival exhibit featuring historic baby items such as a cap worn by Charles I, a lace mitten worn by George III and a nursing apron thought to have been worn by Queen Victoria.

Money

The royal baby could inherit as much as $1-billion in royal legacy from the Queen and other royals. That's according to London-based Wealth-X, which specializes in "detailed intelligence on ultra-high net worth individuals."

Succession

Whatever the baby's sex, he or she will be third in line to the throne, unless a Canadian lawsuit succeeds. Britain changed the law of succession earlier this year so that a first-born girl could take the throne even if a son came later. The change had to be approved by all 16 of the Queen's realms and they all did. However, two Laval University law professors have filed a lawsuit challenging Canada's approval, arguing each province should have had a say. If the suit succeeds, the succession change would not take effect.

The Royal Family

Whatever fuss the public is making over the pending birth, the Queen and other members of the Royal Family appear to be carrying on and sticking to their schedules. The Queen will be at a cricket match next week, Prince Charles is off to Yorkshire in a week and Prince William, the expectant father, plans to play in a charity polo event on Sunday at Cirencester Polo Club, about 160 kilometres from London (a helicopter is expected to be on standby). Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, did let slip this week that the royals are "excited and waiting for the phone call."

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About the Author
European Correspondent

Paul Waldie has been an award-winning journalist with The Globe and Mail for more than 10 years. He has won three National Newspaper Awards for business coverage and been nominated for a Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. He has also won a Sports Media Canada award for sports writing and authored a best-selling biography of the McCain family. More

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