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Byline: Tony Jones

THE Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby, St James's Palace announced yesterday.

Months of speculation about a royal pregnancy were ended yesterday afternoon when William and Kate told the world they will be parents for the first time.

But the announcement also revealed the Duchess is being treated for very acute morning sickness - hyperemesis gravidarum - at a private London hospital.

The Duke was by her side after she was admitted to the King Edward VII Hospital by car earlier today. She is expected to remain for a few days.

Prime Minister David Cameron led the congratulations from the nation when he said: "It's absolutely wonderful news and I'm delighted for them. I'm sure they will make absolutely brilliant parents, and I'm sure everyone around the country will be celebrating with them tonight."

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and members of both families are delighted with the news, said a St James's Palace spokesman.

Babies were the topic of conversation when William and Kate visited Cambridge last week for the first time as a married couple. The Duke, an RAF search and rescue pilot, was given a tiny baby romper suit made by wellwisher Samantha Hill, 27, from Sudbury, Suffolk, which was decorated with a picture of a helicopter and the words "Daddy's little co-pilot".

The baby theme continued when Kate met Tessa Davies, 35, from Cambridge, who had given her son five-month-old James the middle name William in honour of the Duke and had brought him to meet the royal couple.

St James's Palace would not say when the royal couple became aware of the pregnancy, only saying "recently".

It is understood that the pregnancy has not passed the 12-week point and the announcement was prompted by the Duchess's medical condition.

For women with hyperemesis gravidarum, vomiting can be so severe that they cannot keep food or liquid down.

The condition usually continues past the first three months of pregnancy and can pass by week 21, but may also last longer.

St James's Palace said in statement: "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."

The Duke and Duchess have made no secret of their desire to start a family and in September during a Diamond Jubilee visit to Singapore the Duke revealed he would like to have two children.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who married the royal couple in Westminster Abbey in April last year, said: "The whole nation will want to join in celebrating this wonderful news. "We wish the Duchess the best of health and happiness in the months ahead."

William's uncle Earl Spencer also welcomed the announcement, saying in a statement: "It is wonderful news and I am thrilled for them both."

The baby would have been a first grandchild for the Duke's late mother and the Earl's sister, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Harry, who is serving in Afghanistan as an Apache helicopter co-pilot gunner, was told the good news in an email, reported the BBC. Kate's visit to her old prep school on Friday afternoon was her last public engagement.

She appeared well and had lunch at St Andrew's school in Pangbourne, Berkshire, with pupils and staff during the twohour visit.

So her condition might have developed over the weekend and it is likely she was taken to hospital this afternoon after seeking medical advice.

A spokeswoman for St Andrew's - where Kate showed off her hockey skills in an Alexander McQueen frockcoat and three-inch-high calf-length boots - said they had "no inkling at all" that she was expecting.

Hyperemesis gravidarum can be serious but Kate was driven to the King Edward VII Hospital in a car and not an ambulance.

The Duchess made the journey from Bucklebury in Berkshire, where her parents Michael and Carole Middleton live, and it is thought she spent the weekend with them.

It was reported that the Queen's former gynaecologist Marcus Setchell, who delivered the Countess of Wessex's two children, is treating Kate at hospital.

The Duchess had a number of engagements this week, including a visit to London's Docklands on Wednesday for a charity fundraising session on a brokers' trading floor, but they have all been cancelled, said St James's Palace.

The sex of the baby is not known but whatever name the royal couple choose for their first child it is likely to send a trend.

Bookmaker William Hill said favourite names are Frances and John, both at 9/1, wh i l e Charles, Victoria and George are 10/1.

News marks a 'new beginning for monarchy' THE Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's baby was hailed as a "new beginning" for the monarchy by one royal commentator.

Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, said William and Kate's child would symbolise the future of The Firm.

"It's very important for the monarchy. This is the way forward," Ms Seward said.

"This is the first child who will be an heir to the throne whatever sex they are. It's a new beginning."

She added: "I think it's wonderful.

They must be really, really happy about this.

"It's the culmination of a terrific year and what Kate really wanted - to get pregnant in a Jubilee year."

She added that the announcement put an end to the speculation over when the couple would have a baby.

Ms Seward said the pregnancy would be a boost for the nation.

"People love weddings and they love babies. It's a happy event."

In October last year, Prime Minister David Cameron 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," Mr Cameron said at the time.

Under the ancient rules of male primogeniture, first-born royal daughters in direct line to the throne were leapfrogged by their younger male siblings.

Royals bidding to keep control THE way the pregnancy was announced by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge illustrates the couple's desire to be in control.

Rather than face news of Kate's hospital stay leaking out and generating an array of speculation, St James's Palace took the unusual step of revealing the pregnancy even though Kate is less than 12 weeks pregnant.

William and Kate's press notice was released at 4.01pm and later added to Clarence House's Twitter feed, making the baby the first future British king or queen to have the announcement of their expected arrival tweeted by a royal household.

Prime Minister David Cameron was given advance warning, but only just.

"I got a little note, came into a meeting I was having. I found it quite difficult to keep it to myself," he said.


JOY: Princess Elizabeth - later to become Queen Elizabeth II - holds her son, the Prince of Wales.

FLASH BACK: Prince and Princess of Wales with their new born son, Prince William.

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Duchess of Cambridge is expected to be in hospital for several days.

ROMPER SUIT: Samantha Hill.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 4, 2012
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