PICTURES

Silliness reigns online as Britain waits for royal baby

At the entrance to the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in London on Friday, July 5, 2013: Journalists put sweepstakes on a wall to bet on the time the royal baby will arrive. -- PHOTO: AP
At the entrance to the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in London on Friday, July 5, 2013: Journalists put sweepstakes on a wall to bet on the time the royal baby will arrive. -- PHOTO: AP
Cards of the royal baby, either as a boy or a girl, are specially made by a games company as a publicity stunt. In the background are members of the media waiting on Thursday, July 11, 2013, for the birth of the royal baby. -- PHOTO: AP
Cards of the royal baby, either as a boy or a girl, are specially made by a games company as a publicity stunt. In the background are members of the media waiting on Thursday, July 11, 2013, for the birth of the royal baby. -- PHOTO: AP
Broadcaster Natalie Morales of NBC holds placards made by a games company featuring guest co-host Vanessa Williams as a 'royal baby' during a live broadcast in London on Thursday, July 18, 2013. -- PHOTO: AP
Broadcaster Natalie Morales of NBC holds placards made by a games company featuring guest co-host Vanessa Williams as a 'royal baby' during a live broadcast in London on Thursday, July 18, 2013. -- PHOTO: AP
Royal supporter Terry Hutt poses for pictures on a bench. By Friday, July 19, 2013, Hutt has camped for nine days outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in London. -- PHOTO: AFP
Royal supporter Terry Hutt poses for pictures on a bench. By Friday, July 19, 2013, Hutt has camped for nine days outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in London. -- PHOTO: AFP
A look-alike of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, becomes the centre of attention for the assembled media outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in London on Friday, July 19, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP
A look-alike of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, becomes the centre of attention for the assembled media outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in London on Friday, July 19, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP
Members of the media wait across from St. Mary's Hospital in London on Friday, July 19, 2013. From royal baby name generators to interminably dull live-feeds of a hospital door, the longer Britain waits for Prince William's wife Catherine to give bir
Members of the media wait across from St. Mary's Hospital in London on Friday, July 19, 2013. From royal baby name generators to interminably dull live-feeds of a hospital door, the longer Britain waits for Prince William's wife Catherine to give birth, the more nonsense the Internet provides. -- PHOTO: AP

LONDON (AFP) - From royal baby name generators to interminably dull live-feeds of a hospital door - the longer Britain waits for Prince William's wife Catherine to give birth, the more nonsense the Internet provides.

Bored web users can while away hours creating ghastly photomontages of what the little heir will look like - taking Kate's hair, for example, adding William's nose and the ears of grandfather Prince Charles.

Elsewhere, a slew of royal baby name generators offer the chance to create an unlikely monicker for the newborn.

"Avoid pointless, time-wasting speculation over the name of the new royal baby, by using this handy name generator!" suggests satirical website The Poke, inviting users to create "aristocratic" monickers by adding their birthplace to the name of their pet.

With the world's media camped outside Kate's London hospital in preparation for the birth, several broadcasters are now offering riveting dawn-til-dusk online coverage of the "Great Kate Wait".

Occasionally there is a ripple of excitement when a pedestrian walks past the cameras trained on the doors of the Lindo Wing at St Mary's hospital.

Dozens of royal-themed smartphone apps are also available - including ones that allow you to transform photographs of your own children into little princes and princesses. There are also plenty of smartphone games inspired by the future monarch, including "Royal Baby Slot Machine" and "Royal Baby Run".

"Select your royal and run as far as you can!" says the latter. Players must prevent a tiny figure of Prince William, with his baby in his arms, from falling in a ditch.

Skilled players can win credits that "unlock" other royals - Charles being the cheapest character, followed by Kate, William's brother Prince Harry and even Queen Elizabeth II herself.

Savvy advertisers, meanwhile, have also jumped on the royal baby bandwagon.

One bookmaker - taking bets on everything from the future monarch's name to its possible hair colour - dressed four men as grotesque "adult babies" and sent them onto London's underground train network, where they drew shudders from commuters.

As the first royal baby born into the social media era, there is of course a daily avalanche of tweets on its impending arrival - including several accounts dedicated to royal baby news, or indeed the lack of it.

"Do we have a #RoyalBaby yet? Follow for frequent updates!" says the #RoyalBabyYet account. Scintillating posts include: "Not just yet, no." Rumours that Kate may have gone into labour cause regular flurries of excitement on Twitter, but all have proved to be false alarms so far.

Other Twitter users have expressed sympathy for the royal mother-to-be, remarking that the huge bank of cameras outside the hospital must make her feel like a panda giving birth at a zoo.

Naturally, the royal foetus has several spoof Twitter accounts of its own offering "live updates" from the womb, while other fake royal accounts have also been giving their views on the subject.

"Still no sign of the Royal Baby," sighs @Charles-HRH, which has some 353,000 followers. "One assumes it's being delivered by Royal Mail."