Duchess Kate pregnant: Morning sickness prompts early release of baby news
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge have announced they are expecting their first child, ending speculation that has been going on since they were married 19 months ago. (Getty Images)
Finally, the speculation can stop.
Yes, Prince William and Kate are expecting their first child.
The news swept over Twitter on Monday morning in a flash, unleashing a torrent of congratulations and sending the Clarence House web servers into meltdown mode.
The couple is "delighted," of course, though the mom-to-be is feeling some ill effects from her condition. She is spending the next few days in King Edward VII Hospital with what the Palace calls "hypermesis gravidarum" -- or acute morning sickness. It affects about one in 50 women, most often those in their first pregnancy or expecting a multiple birth.
Given the timing, it looks like an early-summer baby is in the works, one that will immediately become third in line for the throne -- whether boy or girl -- behind its granddad Prince Charles and Prince William (right, leaving hospital Monday night). That would knock Prince Harry down to fourth in line.
The Telegraph reports that Kate found out last month that she was pregnant, but wanted to wait until she was 12 weeks along before going public. The plan was to tell the families during the Queen's annual family Christmas as Sandringham.
For those counting the days, it means the child may have been conceived during the couple's tour of southeast Asia and the Pacific.
The Duchess was visiting her parents in Bucklebury over the weekend -- fresh off a Friday engagement at her old school St. Andrew's -- when she took ill. Prince William, who was with friends for the weekend, went to Bucklebury early Monday and, sources said, was concerned that his wife couldn't keep down food or water. After talking to their doctor and fearing she may become dehydrated, William took her by Land Rover to hospital. She walked in unaided.
The Daily Mail reports that other members of the Royal Family were in the dark about the pregnancy until Monday's turn of events and found out about an hour before the news was released about 4 p.m. London time.
"The pregnancy is in its very early stages -- the couple only found out very recently that they were expecting," said one source. "But because she has been admitted to hospital and will have to stay in a for a few days, they made the difficult decision to make things public."
Speculation about a royal baby has been going on since the day Will and Kate were married, April 29, 2011. As recently as two weeks ago, one of Kate's former schoolmates, Jessica Hay, said that Kate was pregnant and would announce it before Christmas.
Kate was putting up a pretty good front for a woman with child last week. While attending St. Andrew's Day, she didn't hesitate in picking up a field hockey stick and bound over the turf in high heels (right).
The Duchess had a number of royal appointments this week, but they've all been cancelled, said St. James's Palace, though Prince William will likely go solo on a few of them this weekend.
The betting shops wasted no time in putting odds on the baby's name. William Hill lists Frances and John at 9-1, followed by George, Victoria and Diana. Of course, you can also bet on whether it's a boy or girl, the day of the week it's born, its hair colour (blonde is 2-1), and weight.
The girl would be a third great-grandchild for the 86-year-old Queen. Peter Phillips -- Princess Anne's son -- and Autumn Phillips have two daughters.
WHO WILL THE BABY LOOK LIKE? ....
Who will the baby look like? Above, 6-month-old William is fascinated by a toy dangled by his mother Princess Diana while Prince Charles keeps tight hold of his son. Right, here's Kate Middleton as a three-and-a-half year old.
Queen Elizabeth, still just a princess, looks down at her firstborn son, Charles, six weeks after he was born Nov. 14, 1948.
THE GREAT GREAT GRANDPARENTS
Above, Prince Albert is held by his mother the Duchess of York in 1896, when he was a year old. Later, he would become King George VI and she would be Queen Mary. Right, the future mother of Queen Elizabeth II as a tot, circa 1901.