The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a third child, Kensington Palace has announced.
The announcement was made as the duchess was forced to cancel an engagement on Monday because of extreme morning sickness, or hyperemesis gravidarum.
In a statement, Kensington Palace said: “Their royal highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their third child. The Queen and members of both families are delighted with the news.
“As with her previous two pregnancies, the duchess is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. Her royal highness will no longer carry out her planned engagement at the Hornsey Road children’s centre in London today. The duchess is being cared for at Kensington Palace.”
The announcement comes in the same week the couple’s eldest child, four-year-old Prince George is to start school at Thomas’s Battersea, south London. His sister, Princess Charlotte, is two.
Hyperemesis gravidarum can be so acute that it requires supplementary hydration, medication and nutrients. Kate, 35, was admitted to hospital because of morning sickness during her first pregnancy.
The baby will be fifth in line to the throne – bumping William’s brother, Prince Harry, down to sixth place. Until recently, if the Cambridge’s new baby was a boy it would have leapfrogged Charlotte in the line of succession. Under the rules of male primogeniture, royal sons took precedence over female siblings.
A radical shake-up, before the birth of Prince George and affecting babies born after 28 October 2011, removed discriminatory male bias. It meant the Cambridge’s first child, regardless of gender, would be destined as monarch.
It is likely Kate will choose to have her baby in the Lindo wing of St Mary’s hospital, Paddington, where she has already experienced two deliveries. The couple have a live-in nanny
The duchess is understood to be less than 12 weeks pregnant, with Kensington Palace announcing the news earlier than perhaps the couple desired due to morning sickness affecting her diary.
Prince Harry gave a thumbs up when asked about the baby as he arrived for an engagement in Manchester. “Fantastic. Great. Very, very happy for them.” On how the duchess was, he replied: “I haven’t seen her for a while but I think she’s OK.”
Clarence House said the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were “delighted at the news”.
A Downing Street spokesperson, asked for prime minister Theresa May’s response, said: “It is fantastic news and she passes on her congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.”
Having chosen traditional royal names for their first two children, bookies’ odds are likely to be short on Alice or Alexandra for a girl, and James or Philip for a boy.
Royal observers had indicated it was likely that the couple would have three children. Kate is one of three, with a sister, Pippa Matthews, and brother, James Middleton. On a royal tour of Poland in July 2017, she joked about having a third after being given a present designed for newborns, turning to William and saying: “We will just have to have more babies.”
William, 35, who is one of two siblings, may not initially have been convinced. On an overseas tour of Singapore in 2012, when asked by a group of teenagers how many children he would like to have, he said he was “thinking about having two”.
He recently gave up his part-time job as an air ambulance helicopter pilot for East Anglian air ambulance to take up full-time royal duties as the Duke of Edinburgh stepped down from his royal work.
William and Kate, who have a property on the Queen’s Sandringham estate, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk, will be based in Kensington Palace during the week.
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