Royal diehards have begun sleeping outside the hospital in anticipation for the royal baby
Can’t get enough of William, Kate, George and Baby No. 2? Subscribe now for an inside look at all things royals – and to receive an exclusive royal gift!
The #GreatKateWait is not for the faint of heart – or hygiene.
As the royal newcomer s rumored April 25 due date quickly approaches, royal super fans have dived head-first into the gritty long haul.
While most of the diehards in Union Jack tuxedos and umbrella hats have been commuting back and forth to St. Mary s Hospital for a couple weeks, a group of a tried-and-true few have now committed to not leaving the area until Princess Kate goes into labor.
“Two nights we’ve been here, with hardly any sleep at all – about six hours [over both nights], if that,” says Newcastle-upon-Tyne native Maria Scott, 44, who’s been cramming into a roughly 4 x 4 foot tent with her 14-year-old daughter, Amy Thompson, in front of the hospital’s Lindo Wing.
“It’s not the best of situations, but it’s all worth it in the end,” says Thompson while crouched over a mirror applying eyeliner in her tent.
Weathering cold nights, warm days and hours of sleep-deprived anxiousness, camper Caryll Foster, 55, says “it s been difficult,” especially after an early-morning rumor scare that Princess Kate had gone into labor at a hospital in Reading.
“We got woken up about one o’clock this morning with the rumors, but nothing came of that,” Scott tells PEOPLE. “We couldn t ever get back to sleep.”
The group’s oldest veteran, 80-year-old Terry Hutt from Weston-super-Mare, has even committed to sleeping on a covered hospital bench.
“I’m their bodyguard,” Hutt says proudly with a grin.
However, Hutt may prove to be in need of a guard of his own. An unidentified thief stole the bed-roll covering the bench where Hutt sleeps during his vigil. The theft occurred around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night, he said, while he was inside the hospital reception area.
“It wasn’t any of our lot,” said Hutt, who despite a rough night is now phlegmatic about his loss.
“Whoever took it must’ve needed it more than I do.”
Hutt says he plans to buy a replacement on Thursday.
“I think it’ll be Saturday,” Scott says of the baby’s soon-to-be birthday.
Meanwhile, the campers, self-described as a hodgepodge “family,” are having fun soaking up the experience.
“It was brilliant when we did it for Prince George, and this is just going to be the same for us royal fans,” says Scott.
Keep reading PEOPLE.com for more on the royal birth.
• Additional reporting by CARIS DAVIS