by Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY
LONDON - That old chestnut. The switcheroo.
The Telegraph newspaper in the United Kingdom is reporting that the Duchess of Cambridge may "give the slip" to the world's media camped outside of St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington central London by "giving birth in Reading."
Reading is a regional English city hard by the seat of the Middleton family manse in Bucklebury, Berkshire, where the duchess has reportedly been visiting with her parents this week.
Reading is also home to the Royal Berkshire Hospital, where the duchess herself (then a mere Kate Middleton) was born in 1982.
The baby's due date is mostly a matter of conjecture, but with Kensington Palace only committing to a date in "mid-July" - now technically passed - a last-minute dash to an alternative maternity venue seems like a real possibility.
At the very least it give us something to chew over as we slumber in a collective, speculative waiting room.
Reading is only about 30 miles from London and the royal family have helicopters and whatnot - Prince William can probably even fly one if it came to it - but an unexpected variation in what has supposedly been the plan all along would make a nice twist and add a dose of 007 to the anticipatory cooing that has been going on for weeks and months.
Although the whole thing - choice of hospital, due date, et al - may be smoke and mirrors.
Carole Middleton, the duchess' mother, is said to have told friends the baby's star sign will be a Leo, which would put the royal delivery closer to the end of this month and into August.
"There are contingencies in place for wherever the duchess happens to be, and one of them is the Royal Berkshire," an unnamed royal source told The Telegraph.
"It is still a possibility that she could give birth there, though that would only be in extremis, as the expectation is that she will go to St Mary's," the source said.
Richard Palmer, the royal correspondent for The Daily Express tabloid, said on Twitter Thursday, "A photographer rings to tell me TV crews and snappers are marking space outside the Royal Berkshire Hospital with a press officer."
Still, the source also told The Telegraph that the parents-to-be are "calm" and "relaxed" as they await their first child.
And everyone knows that can't possibly be true.