The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby, St James’s Palace announced today.
4:09PM GMT 03 Dec 2012
The Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton, is understood to have found out last month that she was pregnant, and had not intended to go public with the news until she was at least 12 weeks pregnant.
But after being admitted to hospital with a bout of acute morning sickness, the Duke and Duchess decided to make the announcement early to avoid any speculation about her condition.
Royal sources refused to say how many weeks pregnant the Duchess is, but confirmed she has not yet reached the 12-week stage.
The Duchess of Cambridge meets a baby on a walk around in Cambridge
The Duchess, 30, is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, which means she needs to be given extra fluids and nutrition, and is likely to remain in hospital for several days.
She was taken ill over the weekend while staying with her parents in Bucklebury, Berks. The Duke was not with her at the time, as he was spending a weekend privately with friends, but he rushed to Bucklebury to join his wife earlier today and travelled with her by car to the King Edward VII hospital in London.
A spokesman for St James’s Palace said: “Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby.
“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.
“The Duchess was admitted this afternoon to King Edward VII Hospital in Central London with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. 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.”
David Cameron, who was told the news shortly before it was made public, tweeted: “I’m delighted by the news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby. They will make wonderful parents.”
The Duchess’s illness also prompted a scramble to tell other members of the Royal family about the pregnancy before news of the Duchess’s hospital admission leaked out.
The Queen, the Prince of Wales and other members of the Royal family, including Prince Harry, who was contacted in Afghanistan, were all told the news today.
The baby will become the third in line to the throne, ahead of Prince Harry, regardless of whether it is a girl or boy, following a change to the ancient rule of royal primogeniture, which was scrapped last year following an agreement between heads of the Commonwealth nations.
The Duchess of Cambridge meets children on a visit to Manor School in Cambridge
The Duchess appeared to be suffering no ill-effects when she visited her old school, St Andrew’s, in Pangbourne, Berks., on Friday, when she played hockey in high heels.
Her immediate diary of engagements for this week has been cancelled.
The timing of the Duchess’s pregnancy will lead to immediate speculation about where the baby was conceived. The fact that the Duchess is not yet 12 weeks pregnant means the baby was conceived after the couple’s holiday in France at the beginning of September, when topless pictures of the Duchess were taken.
The Duchess could, however, have conceived during the couple’s tour of the Far East later in September.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Cambridge last week
Depending on how many weeks pregnant the Duchess is, the baby is likely to be born in June or July next year.
Red letter days which fall in those months include the Duke of Cambridge’s 31st birthday on June 21, the Duchess of Cornwall’s birthday on July 17 and the anniversary of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations at the beginning of June.
Elizabeth was immediately installed as the bookies’ favourite for the baby’s name if it is a girl, with Ladbrokes quoting odds of 8/1, following by Frances, John and Charles, each at 10/1, and Diana at 12/1.
Speculation about a possible royal pregnancy has been rife ever since the couple married, and in recent weeks royal-watchers have spotted clues including the Duchess wearing her coat with the bottom button undone when she attended a rugby match with her husband, though in the past previous “tell-tales” have proved groundless.
The Duke, who is not currently on duty at his RAF Search and Rescue base in Anglesey, is expected to be granted compassionate leave to remain with his wife while she is in hospital.