LONDON -- A future king or queen for the British throne is on the way: Will & Kate are pregnant. Finally.
year and a half after their wedding, Prince William of Wales and his
wife, Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are pregnant with
their first child, the palace confirmed Monday.
Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to
announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby," a palace
statement read. "The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales,
The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry and members of both families
are delighted with the news."
No details have been released yet
about just how far along the Duchess is, but the palace did reveal that
she had been admitted to the hospital for an acute case of morning
"The Duchess was admitted this afternoon to King Edward
VII Hospital in Central London with Hyperemesis Gravidarum," the
statement continued. "As the pregnancy is in its very early stages, Her
Royal Highness is expected to stay in hospital for several days and will
require a period of rest thereafter."
Boy or girl, the baby, will
be third in the line to the throne, now that Britain's antique rules of
royal succession have been changed to allow a first-born girl to
succeed even if she later has younger brothers.
So this, the most eagerly awaited royal baby since William was born
in 1982, will follow grandfather Prince Charles (first in line) and
father William (second in line), to succeed great-grandmother Queen
Elizabeth II, 86.
Of course, it was not a total surprise that
Catherine might be with child. Anticipation of a royal baby has been
keen ever since she and Will married in April 2011.
the wedding, hundreds of years of law and tradition were upended when
Britain and the 15 Commonwealth countries that recognize the queen as
their head of state agreed to get rid of the succession rules that say
boys take precedence over girls no matter what their birth order.
Britain now joins other European monarchies in allowing first-born
girls to acede to the throne, and the change will apply first to the
first child of Will and Kate.
Pregnancy speculation and rumors,
some of them farcical, have been swirling for more than a year. Just in
November 2012, an obscure Australian magazine quoted a woman claiming to
be an old friend of Kate's who predicted the couple would announce
their pregnancy in December 2012.
November, after the duchess refused to sample peanut paste during an
appearance in Copenhagen, many in the media leaped to the conclusion
that she must be in the initial stages of pregnancy. Doctors nowadays
routinely advise pregnant women to stay away from peanuts to avoid
dangerous allergies in their babies. Also, every time she abstained from
alcohol in public, as she did on the couple's royal tour of South Asia
and the South Pacific in September 2012, observers rushed to proclaim a
At one point in 2011, the American supermarket tabloid Star reported she was pregnant with twins. She wasn't.
is so high because bearing the next heir and the sooner the better -
she's 30 - is sort of Job No. 1 for the duchess. William's mother, the
late Princess Diana, and his grandmother, then Princess Elizabeth, both
had their first babies within a year of their weddings.
British, especially the reporters who cover the royals, have been
waiting for this news almost since the couple's glittering April 29,
2011, wedding. Everybody loves a baby but a royal baby, especially one
who will be a future sovereign, provides a symbol of continuity
important to the monarchy and to Britain's sense of itself as an ancient
And besides all that, Will and Kate and their baby are
good for business - they will sell many, many newspapers and celebrity
The couple's public statements about children have been
few and far between. After the engagement announcement in November
2010, the couple sat down for a lengthy TV interview with their friend,
ITV presenter Tom Bradby, who asked them about children.
we'll take it one step at a time," William answered. "We'll sort of get
over the marriage first and then maybe look at the kids. But obviously
we want a family so we'll have to start thinking about that."
during a post-wedding tour of North America in July, when a Canadian
father wished them well in starting their own family, she replied, "Yes,
I hope to."
The baby almost certainly will be born in London, in
a hospital, as William and brother Prince Harry, were (they were the
first heirs to the throne to be born in a hospital instead of in a royal
Although the Cambridges live mostly in a farmhouse in
Wales near William's RAF base, they also have a cottage on the grounds
of Kensington Palace as their London base. And next year, 2013, they
will move into a refurbished prime apartment, 1A, in the palace itself,
where the late Princess Margaret, the queen's sister, used to reside.
English prince of Wales or his heirs has been born in Wales since the
very first one, later King Edward II, who was born in Caernarfon in
Wales in 1284. His father was King Edward I who conquered Wales and,
according to legend, promised the Welsh that he would name "a prince
born in Wales, who did not speak a word of English" to replace their own
dead prince. Then he produced his infant son, who of course didn't
speak at all at that point. (Edward II later met a grisly end; see Mel
Soon, it became the custom (but not
automatic) that the heir to the English throne would be called the
prince or princess of Wales. There were only two in the 20th century,
Prince Charles (born in 1948) and his great uncle, Edward VIII (born in
1894), who abdicated in 1936. William will not become prince of Wales
until his father acedes to the throne, and his son or daughter will not
become prince or princess of Wales until he acedes to the throne.