With five days to go until Kate Middleton is due to give birth to their first child, Prince William has borrowed a helicopter once used to circumnavigate the globe in record time.
Prince William, 31, who is on duty this week as an RAF Search and Rescue pilot, can cover the 288 miles between his base in North Wales and St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, West London, in just 90 minutes.
The distinctive orange McDonnell Douglas four-seater helicopter appears to be on permanent standby in the garden of his rented farmhouse on the island of Anglesey in case it is needed to whisk him off.
It was parked there Sunday night. When the time comes, however, it is not believed that Prince William would fly the helicopter himself.
Meanwhile Kate Middleton, 31, is dividing her time between their London apartment in the grounds of Kensington Palace and her parents’ home in Berkshire, so she can be closer to the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, where she will give birth.
The helicopter is owned by Prince William’s friend, fellow pilot Simon Oliphant-Hope, who was Pierce Brosnan’s stunt double in the James Bond film Die Another Day.