When Kate Middleton revealed she had bought a pram in light blue, Royal watchers wondered excitedly if she had dropped the biggest clue yet to the sex of her unborn child.
Kate Middleton – who is six months pregnant – told guests at a recent reception that she had chosen a buggy by designer label Bugaboo, which has celebrity fans including actress Sienna Miller and television presenter Peaches Geldof.
The buggies, which cost from £500 to £1,000 ($800-$1,600) and can operate as either a pushchair or pram, come in a variety of colors and parents who do not know the sex of their baby usually prefer neutral hues such as beige, off-white or black.
Kate Middleton and Prince William have insisted that they do not know if they are having a boy or a girl.
Kate Middleton, who is six months pregnant, told guests at a recent reception that she bought a Bugaboo pram in light blue
But although it is possible to swap some of the buggy’s accessories for those in different colors, including pink, Kate Middleton’s choice of blue will be seen as a clear hint as to her feelings about the gender.
The Duchess of Cambridge has said she would prefer a son while Prince William wants a daughter.
Yesterday, Bugaboo said it had not presented the buggy to the Royal couple after being advised by officials not to send gifts.
So it appears that the duchess, who was seen shopping for a Moses basket in South Kensington last week with her mother, bought the pram herself.
Kate Middleton, 31, revealed the Bugaboo color when she chatted to a group of Army wives at a drinks reception in Aldershot on St Patrick’s Day.
A source has claimed: “She and some of the other girls were talking about prams and one of the girls had her baby in a Bugaboo.
“Kate said she has bought one in light blue. It was a bit of a hint.”
Guardsman Lee Wheeler, 29, who met Kate Middleton at the ceremony, said the Duchess was happily discussing the Royal bump.
He said: “I asked her, <<Do you know if it’s a girl or a boy?>> and she said, <<Not yet>>.
“She said, <<I’d like to have a boy and William would like a girl>>. I asked her if she had any names and she said no.”
Since then, however, Kate Middleton and Prince William revealed they have a shortlist of boys’ and girls’ names.
Alexandra and Elizabeth are said to be favorites for a girl, with George in the running for a boy.
Some experts are predicting that Kate Middleton and Prince William will end up with twins – and if they do, there could be more than just the usual parenting headaches ahead for the royal couple.
No mother of a future monarch has given birth to twins in Britain since the 15th century – so nobody is quite sure what will happen if Kate Middleton makes history and produces a brace of infants next summer.
And if she does, the intriguing question is: which of the children will end up on the throne?
Normally, of course, this would be little cause for discussion during a royal pregnancy. But the debilitating symptoms currently suffered by Kate Middleton in the King Edward VII Hospital in central London point to hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition experienced slightly more often by women expecting twins.
If it did prove to be the case that Kate Middleton was carrying two children, and she gave birth to them naturally, the rule of primogeniture that has dictated the royal succession for centuries would mean that if the twins are boys, the first-born would ascend the throne.
And until recently, if the twins were boy and girl, it would be the boy who got to wear the crown. But under new legislation, if Kate Middleton gives birth to a mixed pair, it will be the first-born who succeeds – no matter their gender.
All that seems straightforward. But if Kate Middleton were to require either an emergency or an elective caesarean, then things get very much more complicated.
Some experts are predicting that Kate Middleton and Prince William will end up with twins
Last year, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark – that country’s next monarch – gave birth to twins.
There was some anxiety beforehand that her babies might have to be delivered by caesarean section, leading to speculation that it would be the obstetrician who chose which child to deliver first and thus which would eventually rise to the throne.
Happily, she didn’t have to go through with a caesarean section birth, and gave birth to Prince Vincent, the nation’s future monarch, 25 minutes ahead of his sister, Princess Josephine.
Were those circumstances to arise here and a caesarean be required, the task of picking who would be the future king or queen would fall, in theory, to Alan Farthing – the royal gynaecologist still better known as the former fiancé of murdered BBC presenter Jill Dando.
Alan Farthing, 47, now a distinguished figure in the world of obstetrics, has held the royal post since 2008, and experienced himself the joy of fatherhood for the first time early last year when his wife Janet, 33, gave birth to a boy.
But while he will be more than prepared for the challenges ahead, it’s unlikely Alan Farthing would want to shoulder the responsibility of choosing whom he brought into the world first. Which begs the question – who would?
Would it be Prince William, who’s expected, like most modern fathers, to be present at the birth? Would the royal family have to revert to the odd practices of yesteryear, where a government minister had to be present at the accouchement to act as an observer and ensure everything was above board?
Last time that happened to a future monarch was in 1926, when the present Queen was born and home secretary Sir William Joynson-Hicks was required to be present, albeit in an adjoining room. Should that be the case again next year the job will fall to Theresa May, the present home secretary.
Faced with the prospect of choosing which twin became the heir, the Cambridges would be able to consider various precedents set when similar situations have arisen.
Their friend the Marquess of Cholmondeley faced such a situation three years ago when his twin sons were born by caesarean. In the end, his ancient title went to his first-born, Alexander, who now bears his father’s courtesy title Earl of Rocksavage; his twin is more simply known as Lord Oliver Cholmondeley.
What Kate and Wills can’t do is draw on any recent experience in either family tree, for there’s almost no history of twins in William’s extended family, and a trawl back through Kate’s rich and varied ancestry comes up with very few examples – and none in recent times.
Should Kate actually prove to be carrying twins, though, she will hope they find better fortune than the last pair of royal infants. In 1430, King James I of Scotland’s wife Queen Joan gave birth to two boys. The first, Alexander, was named as the heir to the throne and given the title Duke of Rothesay – a title still carried today by William’s father as Prince of Wales.
The second twin, James, would have expected an easy life – except that within a year his elder brother had died and he assumed the Rothesay title. By the time he was six, his father had been assassinated and he rose unsteadily to the Scottish throne as King James II of Scotland.
We no longer live in such unsettled times, but for William and Kate, there will still be an element of uncertainty – until they know for certain whether they have twins on the way or not.
Prince William spent hours at Kate Middleton’s bedside this evening after driving her to hospital with acute morning sickness.
Duchess of Cambridge, 30, is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum – a rare and debilitating condition that hits women in the earliest stages of pregnancy, causing severe vomiting.
Prince William drove Kate Middleton to hospital as she began to feel very unwell over the weekend at her parents’ home in Bucklebury, Berkshire.
He was later seen leaving the hospital at around 8:25 p.m. before getting into a waiting Land Rover Discovery.
Kate wife has been given a drip to restore her nutrient levels and fluids and will be kept in for a few days as a precautionary measure, royal sources said.
The Royal couple are said to be “delighted” about the pregnancy, but appear to have been forced to announce it early because she was rushed to the King Edward VII Hospital in central London.
“The condition – although unpleasant -poses no harm to mother and baby as long as it is treated, as your baby will take the nutrients it needs from your body – it’s the mum that suffers more,” Jules Robertson, a midwife for the baby charity Tommy’s said.
Senior Royal sources say there was no way they would have announced the pregnancy at this stage had she not fallen ill.
They are happy but are very nervous because it is so early in the pregnancy, the source added.
Kate Middleton’s slim figure is not a reason why she has become poorly.
But it can be a hereditary condition, meaning it is fairly likely that a close relative like her mother or grandmother could have suffered from the illness and she may get it again in future.
Professor Tim Draycott, of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “It definitely does seem to run in families, and in consecutive pregnancies. It is possible someone in her family has suffered with it in the past.
“We know it’s not a psychological illness – it is not a sign of mental weakness.
“It does seem to be slightly more common in women expecting twins.
“It affects one per cent of women. That rises to two to three per of women expecting twins.
“She’s clearly very slim, but it affects women bigger than her and smaller than her.
“It is a bit like feeling permanently hungover every single day and never getting better.
“The symptoms would suggest she is less than 12 weeks pregnant.”
Kate Middleton is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, a rare and debilitating condition that hits women in the earliest stages of pregnancy, causing severe vomiting
The condition, which could mean that Kate Middleton cannot eat or drink anything without being ill, usually occurs in the first 6 to 8 weeks of pregnancy and can last for up to two months.
In the most serious cases symptoms can persist for the length of the pregnancy and can be life-threatening for mother and baby if not treated early as the woman may vomit up to 30 times a day.
Symptoms also include severe nausea, low blood pressure and fast heart rate, headaches, lethargy or confusion.
Kate Middleton’s involvement in Royal engagements may now be limited as a result.
“If it is not treated properly it can lead to severe side effects and problems for mother and baby,” Dr. Lucy MacKillop, obstetric physician at the Oxford University Hospitals trust.
“The danger for mother is greater if not treated. There have been reported cases of liver failure, ruptured tissue and cells from so much vomiting and neurological problems.
“It is to do with the pregnancy hormone, and there is more pregnancy hormone in mothers expecting twins.”
Spelling out the treatment Kate Middleton is likely to be getting Dr. Lucy MacKillop added: “We would give the mother medication which will be safe for both her and baby, and which will allow her to stop vomiting.
“Initially she will be on a drip so we can replace fluids and nutrients and then we can start to give her tablets, which she can take home with her and continue there.
“There is no special diet, but she needs to ensure she is eating little and often.
“We would not expect her to be putting on weight, but the important thing is that she maintains her weight.
“Women with this condition can lose five per cent of their body weight, so she will need to have weekly weight measurements.
“The most important thing is to get mother to stop being sick and get home.”
The condition is thought to be caused by elevated levels of the “pregnancy hormone” hCG. The body begins to produce human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) after conception.
Mothers who have also suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum said that Kate Middleton will be having a tough time.
Caitlin Dean suffered from the condition and said: “Imagine having a stomach bug that lasts for days and days, months and months – it is just relentless.
“Any movement, any sound, any smell just makes you vomit.
“I vomited 20 to 30 times a day for the first few months, in the latter part it was just once or twice a day but it’s still unpleasant.
“One of the big issues with it is isolation because is causes many women to be bed-bound. There is a real lack of understanding about the condition.”
But despite being a debilitating illness, it is not usually dangerous, and is often a sign that the pregnancy is going to plan, experts say.
Dr. Peter Bowen-Simpkins, consultant obstetrician and medical director of the London Women’s Clinic, has said: “It is almost always a positive sign that the pregnancy is progressing well.
“The sickness is thought to be due to a rise in hormone levels. It normally occurs during weeks six and eight of pregnancy, when the placenta takes over production of hormones from the ovaries.
“It generally continues until around 12 or 14 weeks, but if it stops before, it can – although not always – be a sign that all is not well.”
Jules Robertson, a midwife for the baby charity Tommy’s, said: “If pregnant women are vomiting several times during the day and unable to keep food or drink down, then they will need to be treated to help them cope with the symptoms, and stay nourished and hydrated.
“We advise that anyone experiencing this should see their GP or midwife to be checked. It is more common in early pregnancy, and by around 14-16 weeks, the sickness should have gone – most of the time it is resolved by 20 weeks, and very occasionally it can continue throughout pregnancy.”
Kate Middleton and Prince William’s baby will be born third in line to the throne. The Queen, Prince Philip and other members of the royal family are also “delighted”.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Twitter: “I’m delighted by the news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby.”
In a statement on the couple’s website, they 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 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.”
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have been given a glimpse of village life in Papua New Guinea.
A choir of women in floral shirts and grass skirts welcomed the couple, who are on a tour to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, to Boera.
The Prince of Wales and the duchess of Cornwall were shown crafts, canoe building and an aid project before a state dinner in capital Port Moresby.
Prince Charles, colonel-in-chief of the local Royal Pacific Islands Regiment, earlier inspected a military parade.
Dressed in the forest green uniform of the regiment, he presented infantrymen with new colors at the Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby.
In a speech, he introduced himself in the local Tok Pisin language as the “first child of Mrs. Queen”, which brought cheers and applause from the crowd of about 5,000 people.
His words translated as: “I bring you greetings from Her Majesty the Queen of Papua New Guinea and from all my family members during this celebration of the Diamond Jubilee.”
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have been given a glimpse of village life in Papua New Guinea
The event also included an open-air church service, in which prayers were said for the Queen, while the local culture was showcased in dance and music.
Tribes from across Papua New Guinea were present, including Huli men with their yellow painted faces and Asaro mudmen, with large false heads and bodies covered in grey clay.
The royal couple arrived on the island on Saturday on the first leg of a two-week tour of Commonwealth countries, which will also see them visit Australia and New Zealand.
It is the fourth time Prince Charles has visited Papua New Guinea but the first time for Camilla.
During a visit to the National Bird of Paradise and Orchid Garden, the Duchess of Cornwall was presented with a rare hybrid orchid named in her honor, the Dendrobium Camilla.
At Boera village, hundreds of residents turned out to greet Prince Charles and the duchess.
Jenny Lohia, 24, topless and dressed traditionally in a leaf skirt and body paintings, gave Camilla a peck on the cheek as she placed a necklace of shells around her neck as a welcoming present.
They royal couple were shown local painting, weaving and pottery and toured the aid project concerned with the replanting of coastal mangroves.
The couple were guests of honor at the state dinner later, which was hosted by governor general Sir Michael Ogio and his wife.