|Kate and William kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after their wedding; (right) Diana with newborn William in 1982
London, Dec. 3: St James’s Palace today confirmed well-informed gossip from friends of the Duchess of Cambridge that she is indeed expecting a baby but added she had been admitted to hospital with a severe form of morning sickness known as “hyperemesis gravidarum”.
The rules of succession have been changed so that whether a boy or a girl, the first child born to Kate and William will one day become the monarch. The child is likely to be the royal family’s first “Twitter baby”.
There is the age-old custom of attaching Notice of Royal births and deaths to the railings at Buckingham Palace for members of the public to read. But as well as keeping to this tradition, the arrival of the royal birth will be officially declared via the monarchy’s websites, on Facebook and Twitter.
It is assumed that Kate, being a modern, young and fashionable woman, won’t be shy about showing off her baby bump.
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and members of both families are delighted with the news, said a spokesperson for Kate and William, who married on April 29 last year.
Kate was admitted this afternoon to King Edward VII Hospital in London, the spokesperson said, adding that she and her husband became aware of the pregnancy only “recently”. “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.”
It is understood that today’s announcement was prompted by Kate’s medical condition.
For women with hyperemesis gravidarum their vomiting can be so severe they cannot keep food or liquid down. The severity of the vomiting can cause dehydration, weight loss and a build-up of toxins in the blood or urine called ketosis. It affects over 3 of every 1,000 pregnant women.
Kate, who is close to her own parents and siblings, revealed before the wedding: “I hope we will be able to have a happy family ourselves.”
Traditionally, as with Princess Diana, the job of a future queen is to produce “an heir and a spare”. Diana had sons William and Harry.
Reacting on Twitter, David Cameron wrote: “I’m delighted by the news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby. They will make wonderful parents.”
Cameron confirmed he was informed of the news shortly before the public announcement. “I got a little note, came into a meeting I was having and I found it quite difficult to keep it to myself,” he said.
In October 2011, the Prime Minister announced that the 16 Commonwealth countries where the Queen is head of state had agreed to give female royals the same rights of succession as their brothers. “Put simply, if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were to have a little girl, that girl would one day be our queen,” Cameron explained.
The baby will be born third in line to the throne.