In Brief

Princess Charlotte to start nursery school in January

Youngest royal to attend Willcocks Nursery School in west London

Royal baby girl: Kate Middleton and new princess visited by family

3 May

The new royal baby has spent the night at home in Kensington Palace with Kate Middleton and Prince William, after making her first public appearance yesterday afternoon on the steps of St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, west London.

The duke and duchess showed off their daughter to cheering crowds, who had swelled as news spread of the birth. Hours before, the duke had arrived at the hospital with Prince George, the new royal baby's older brother, who will be two this summer. George, dressed in light blue shorts and a darker blue cardigan, gave a tentative wave as he and his father turned towards the cameras.

As she left hospital, Kate waved to wellwishers and the world's media. Her child, whose title is Princess of Cambridge, was wrapped in a white shawl.

The young princess was visited this afternoon by both pairs of grandparents. Michael and Carole Middleton arrived at Kensington Palace, accompanied by Kate's sister Pippa. Earlier, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall had spent more than an hour with their granddaughter. 

The royal baby is not expected to be named until she has been presented to the Queen. That is likely to happen at Sandringham, in Norfolk, within the next week.

After a few days at Kensington Palace, the Princess of Cambridge and her parents are expected to move to Anmer Hall, a Georgian stately home on the Sandringham estate. The house is reported to have undergone a £1.5m refurbishment to prepare it for the royal couple and their children, paid mostly out of the royal family's private funds.

The most recent addition to the royal family was delivered on Saturday morning, little more than two hours after she was admitted to hospital. This royal baby arrived significantly more quickly than the last - the duchess was in labour for ten hours when she delivered Prince George.

"Her royal highness, the Duchess of Cambridge, was safely delivered of a daughter at 8.34am," an official statement from Kensington Palace announced. "The baby weighs 8lbs 3oz. The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth."

Crowds who had gathered outside the Lindo Wing greeted the news with enthusiasm.

"Cheering broke out just after 11am as word spread that Kensington Palace had announced the birth of a baby girl," the Daily Telegraph reports.

At about 6am yesterday the duchess had been transferred by car to St Mary's, where the couple's first child, Prince George was born in 2013. Prince William travelled with his wife to the hospital.

The Princess of Cambridge is fourth in line to the throne, behind Prince Charles, Prince William and her older brother. Prince Harry, her uncle, will drop down one place in the line of succession.

The traditional announcement placed on an easel outside Buckingham Palace was accompanied by tweets from official royal accounts.

Later in life the new royal baby may also be known as the Princess Royal. The title, traditionally reserved for the eldest daughter of the monarch, is currently used for Princess Anne.

"The Prince of Wales will be overjoyed," the Daily Mirror reports, "as he made no secret he wanted his second grandchild to be a girl."

In recent weeks, bookmakers had favoured girl's names, with Alice, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Victoria among the favourites. "It will be fairly likely it will be a family name that perhaps has been used before in the royal family, not so likely in Kate's family," Charles Kidd, editor of Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage predicted.

The Daily Mail says the royal couple may pay tribute to William's father in naming the child. "William Hill yesterday slashed the odds of the baby being named Princess Charlotte - a feminine version of Charles - to 2/1, while Alice has drifted out to 5/2," it reports.

Politicians were quick to offer their congratulations, with the three main party leaders tweeting warm wishes for the mother and baby. Ukip leader Nigel Farage also expressed his satisfaction that the birth weight had been given in imperial measurements.

The BBC says the duchess and the new royal baby were "looked after by consultant obstetrician Guy Thorpe-Beeston", who was "joined in the delivery room by Alan Farthing, the Queen's surgeon-gynaecologist".

The world's media has assembled outside the hospital, having been kept away until Kensington Palace announced earlier this morning that the duchess had gone into labour. 

Prince Harry, currently in Australia with the Army, was spotted at an Aussie rules football match as the news broke that he had a new niece. 

Royal baby due date: will Kate Middleton have a boy or girl?

1 May

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge insist they don't know what sex their second child will be, but this hasn't stopped the world from guessing about the new royal baby. As reports circulate that Kate Middleton's child is overdue - according to one Whitehall source, the due date was 23 April - speculation is mounting. Commentators have been dissecting Kate Middleton's clothes, bump and diet in a bid to predict the royal baby's gender. Here are some of the theories to emerge over the last nine months:

Pink ribbon:

When the Duke and Duchess surprised royal fans waiting outside the Lindo Wing with Danish pastries this week, some felt sure they had given the game away. The box of treats, delivered on behalf of the expectant couple, was wrapped in a pink ribbon – apparently suggesting that the royal baby would be a girl. However, the Daily Telegraph quickly poured cold water on the idea, quoting a source who said the patisserie "just happens to use pink ribbon".

Spirit of Diana:

A clairvoyant from north Yorkshire claimed she knew the baby would be a girl because she has been talking daily to the spirit of Princess Diana. Carolina Bruce, who says she has been "bosom buddies" with Diana since she died in 1997, said the baby will weigh 8lbs or less, have dark hair and blue eyes and will have Victoria and Diana in her name. "People think I'm bonkers, but I just know it's going to be a little girl," she told the Daily Express. Bruce also predicted that the baby would be born on 25 April, five days ago.

Alleged leaks:

In December, America's OK magazine claimed that a source had "spilled" that the royals would be welcoming a princess. The family allegedly found out the news at a doctor's appointment and the name was certain to be Margaret. "George was too young to know exactly what was going on, but he's learning a new word: sister," said the insider. The magazine released virtually the same story in February, only this time the name was certain to be Diana.

Kate is 'a natural' with girls:

PopSugar has put together a gallery of 32 images showing Kate's "cutest interactions" with young girls around the world (also described as "Snaps That Are Sure to Make Your Heart Explode"). The celebrity news site says Kate "does seem to be in her element when she's meeting with young female admirers" and is "a natural with little girls". This is apparently a "sign" that the new royal baby might be of the female variety. "She's a natural with kids in general, but there's a ton of photo evidence that proves how sweet she'd be with a daughter," it adds.

Kate 'very interested' in girls' clothes:

One of Kate's favourite children's clothes stores is said to be Amaia Kids in Chelsea, London. Prince George was pictured wearing a pair of its navy bloomers for a series of official photographs on the steps of Kensington Palace last Christmas. But during one of the Duchess's recent visits to the boutique, she was "very interested" in the girls' clothes, claims People. The store's co-owner told the magazine: "We all hope it's a little girl because it will be so cute – they will be like a little couple."

The blue coat:

"Pregnant Kate Middleton hints at baby's sex in blue coat," announced OK magazine in January. The Duchess attended a charity coffee morning in London wearing a blue cashmere dress-coat by Seraphine, a "possible hint at the second baby's sex", said OK. But the coat theorists were left baffled last month when Kate turned up to the Commonwealth Observance service at Westminster Abbey dressed head to toe in pink.

Pippa's 'pink baby shower':

A report from Star Magazine last year claimed that party-planner Pippa Middleton had thrown a "baby shower fit for a princess" with pink-iced cupcakes, pink cocktails and a huge white cake with pink sponge and strawberry filling.

Higher bump:

America's Hello magazine claims the way the Duchess is carrying her unborn child is one "telltale" sign that a little princess is on the way. Apparently her bump looks higher and wider than at the same stage of her pregnancy with Prince George two years ago. 


Odds on a girl: 

Girls' names currently dominate the bookies' ten top spots for royal baby names. The favourites are Alice, Charlotte, Elizabeth and Victoria. James remains the most popular of the boys' names, but is still in fifth place overall. Recent additions to the top ten include Louis and Samantha. One Manchester punter has even placed a £10,000 bet on the baby being a girl, explaining: "My Mrs reckons it's a girl, so that's a good enough reason for me."

Sweet treats: 

Charlotte Griffiths, diary editor for the Mail On Sunday, claims the Duchess is convinced she is having a girl because she "can't stop scoffing sweet treats". Kate has developed a particular penchant for chocolate biscuit cakes and sticky fruit loaves, says Griffiths, and "according to an old wives' tale, if a pregnant woman has cravings for chocolate and biscuits, it is a sure sign that she is carrying a daughter".


Pink paint: 

The Daily Mail's Sebastian Shakespeare has heard that Oxford-based designer Annie Sloan has recently supplied three "decidedly feminine" paint samples to Anmer Hall, currently home to the expectant couple. The colours were said to be Henrietta, a "beautiful rich complex pink with a hint of lilac"; Antoinette, a "soft pale pink with a hint of brown"; and Emile, a "warm soft aubergine colour with pink red undertones".

Nonsensical science:

Meanwhile, Bustle suggests that, by having Prince George, Kate might have "set a precedent for having boys". This is somehow backed up by the fact that it is the father's sperm that determines the sex of a baby and that William is one of two sons...

Royal baby: Kate Middleton's child is 'days overdue'

28 April

Royal baby number two is five days overdue, according to Whitehall sources, prompting speculation that Kate Middleton may have her labour induced in the next few days.

Sources have told the Daily Telegraph they were briefed that the Duchess of Cambridge's due date was Thursday 23 April.

One parent whose children were born in the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington told the newspaper: "The doctors don't normally wait for more than a week.

"They will probably already have been in touch with Kate and talked about which day would suit her best to go in and be induced if the baby doesn't arrive in the next couple of days."

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be delivered by royal gynaecologists Guy Thorpe-Beeston and Alan Farthing. The two men helped deliver Prince George, who reportedly arrived three days late in July 2013.

Pat O'Brien, a spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, told the Telegraph that it was "down to the individual consultant" as to when it is appropriate to induce labour. "Because it's such a safe procedure, particularly with women who have given birth before, they tend to be pretty relaxed about inducing any time after the due date if the mother is getting fed up," he said.

O'Brien added that doctors tend not to leave it more than two weeks after the due date and, if it is a big baby, it is sometimes better to induce before it gets any bigger.

"The mother will normally have a scan on or around the due date to make sure the baby is fine and it's safe to press on a bit longer," he said.

Alice is currently the bookies' favourite name for the new baby, followed by Charlotte and Elizabeth, with seven out of the top ten predictions going to female names.

Phillip has overtaken Henry as the third favourite boy's name, with James and Arthur in first and second place.

Royal 'superfans', some of whom have been camping outside the Lindo Wing for weeks, have received a special treat from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who arranged a delivery of croissants and Danish pastries from a local patisserie.

Kensington Palace said: "The Duke and Duchess were aware that they had been out there for a long time and just wanted to do something for them."

The boxes of pastries were reportedly wrapped in a pink ribbon, prompting speculation that Kate and William were hinting at the gender of their unborn child.

But the Daily Telegraph poured cold water on the idea, quoting a source who said the patisserie "just happens to use pink ribbon".

Either way the royal fans camping outside St Mary's Hospital appreciated the gesture. "I was still asleep. It's lovely they've thought of us," said 79-year-old Terry Hutt, who has spent eight nights sleeping on a bench in a custom-made Union Jack suit.

Royal baby: how will Kate Middleton's child change the world? 

15 April

A second wave of royal baby fever is on its way, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge prepare for the arrival of child number two later this month.

Media outlets across the world have been busy speculating on the baby's gender, Kate Middleton's due date and the impact that the "spare to the heir" will have on the election, economy and retail. (Prince George is apparently excited too, although he has been busy looking in the royal china cabinet after hearing his father was visiting China.)

So what can we expect when his little brother or sister arrives? Here are five predictions: 


The Kate Effect was swiftly followed by The George Effect. As soon as photos appear of Kate in a pair of LK Bennett shoes or Prince George in a Cath Kidston tank top, the tills can be heard ringing as demand skyrockets for their latest royal outfits. Prince George was even ranked among GQ's 50 Best Dressed Men in Britain. Will the second royal baby have as much impact on the fashion world as his or her older brother? 


Whether the Duchess of Cambridge's second child is a boy or girl, it's likely to be good news for City, claims This is Money. The Dow Jones rose by an average of 2.4 per cent in the week following the births of Princesses Anne and Margaret and Queen Elizabeth, says the website. Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, says: "Births in the royal family have been cause for celebration around the world. This can spill over into the stock markets as well."

Food and booze

Food and drink sales achieved their best performance for five years in July 2013 thanks in part to the arrival of Prince George, says The Grocer. A heatwave and several sporting wins for Britain were also given credit for the boost. "Sales of food and drink soared as consumers popped open the bubbly and held barbeques to celebrate the royal family's newest arrival, Murray's Wimbledon triumph and the warm delights of summer," said KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale. Will the second baby have a similar effect?


Kate and William's second child is due mid-to-end of April, prompting speculation that it might arrive on election day and steer the polls. Gordon Rayner, chief reporter for the Daily Telegraph, has suggested an "election day baby" could help the Conservatives "as anything that gives the country a feel-good boost so close to polling day is usually regarded as a plus for whoever is in power".

London traffic

The Daily Express is predicting "traffic chaos" and "parking mayhem" in London as police put up barriers outside the hospital where Kate is due to give birth. Officials are trying to prevent journalists from camping outside the private Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, weeks before the birth as they did two years ago.

Royal baby: could an election day birth steer the polls?

19 March

The Duchess of Cambridge has revealed that her second child is due mid-to-end of April, prompting speculation that the royal baby might arrive on election day.

Kate Middleton was asked about her due date during a visit to Brookhill Children's Centre in Woolwich on Wednesday. She apparently told Christine Osborne, a 49-year-old volunteer at the centre: "I'm due mid-April, to the end of April. Not long to go now."

The new prince or princess is therefore set to arrive just weeks before Britain goes to the polls and perhaps on election day if it is a few days late.

"Two of the biggest media circuses are set to collide," warns the Spectator's Steerpike. He suspects political coverage will "grind to a halt for at least 24 hours as all media eyes turn once again to the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, Paddington".

Noting that it is customary for party leaders to send their congratulations to the Royal family after a birth, Steerpike wonders if Natalie Bennett, whose Green Party hopes to abolish the monarchy, will get round to sending a card.

"Is new royal baby the most politically charged in history?" asks the Independent, pointing out that the Duke and Duchess confirmed the pregnancy just ten days before the Scottish referendum.

The newspaper suggests that the Tories will be hoping for a "boom in national pride and happiness with the status quo to make people vote Conservative".

Gordon Rayner, chief reporter for the Daily Telegraph, also thinks an "election day baby" could help David Cameron's party.

"That could be good news for the Conservatives," he says, "as anything that gives the country a feel-good boost so close to polling day is usually regarded as a plus for whoever is in power."

The Guardian has previously noted that the baby could come as a birthday surprise for the Queen on 21 April or a wedding anniversary surprise for the Duke and Duchess on 29 April.

Royal baby: inside the Lindo Wing where Kate Middleton gave birth

24 April

Royal 'superfans' are already camping outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington hoping to catch a glimpse of Kate Middleton arriving to give birth.

The due date for royal baby number two is rumoured to be this week, although the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have said only that it is mid to late April.

Police have been making final security checks outside the hospital, with parking restrictions in place from 15 to 30 April for an undisclosed "special event".

Media outlets have agreed to wait until after Kate has been admitted before they begin reporting from the scene. TV crews and photographers swarmed the pavement outside for weeks before the birth of Prince George, a commotion the hospital was keen to avoid a second time around.

So what do we know about the Lindo Wing, where Kate is due to give birth?

'Discretion is key'

The Lindo Wing, which was opened by the Queen Mother in 1937, promises "world-class maternity care" with private en suite rooms and a "modern, homely" environment. Deluxe rooms are available for "patients who would like to take advantage of a larger space". The hospital says: "Discretion is key to our service, and we will ensure that you have the space, security and privacy you need to enjoy these precious early moments as a family."

Packages cost £5,000+

A "normal" delivery package at the Lindo Wing costs £5,215 for the first 24 hours, plus £945 for any additional night's stay. Instrumental delivery and caesarean sections cost more, with upgrades to deluxe rooms also available. It's a hefty increase since 1937 when the maternity unit charged seven guineas a week before consultant fees. Fortunately, the Duchess of Cambridge has been offered a ten per cent discount after having Prince George there two years ago, says The Independent.

Royal connections

Both Prince William and Prince Harry were born in the Lindo Wing. Princess Anne, the Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Michael of Kent also had children in the private maternity unit. Instead of using the Lindo Wing's obstetricians, Kate's baby will be delivered by royal gynaecologists Guy Thorpe-Beeston and Alan Farthing, who helped deliver Prince George.

'State-of-the-art' facilities

Recently refurbished, the Lindo Wing offers WiFi, satellite television with major international channels, a radio, bedside phone and fridge. Patients are also offered a choice of daily newspaper every morning throughout their stay. According to the Daily Mirror, the unit also boasts art installations and a secure, supervised nursery. Images on the Lindo Wing's website show luxury White Company toiletries, a fresh fruit platter and afternoon tea served on a three-tiered stand.

Extensive menu

As well as afternoon tea, the maternity unit offers chef-made food and a wine list, giving patients the option to celebrate their new arrival with a bottle of bubbly. The Lindo Wing says its "extensive and nutritious" menu caters for special dietary, cultural and religious requirements, including vegetarian, kosher and halal meals with chefs preparing meals on site to order.

Royal baby: when is it due and will it be called Elizabeth?

10 March

With the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge due to welcome their second child next month, the name Elizabeth is proving to be the favourite among bookmakers.

Betting opened on the name and gender of royal baby number two just hours after Clarence House confirmed that Kate Middleton was pregnant.

The Duchess has insisted that the sex of her second child will remain a surprise, but it is girls' names that currently dominate the bookies' five top spots for royal baby names, with Elizabeth, Charlotte, Victoria, Alexandra and Alice the shortest-priced bets.

The current favourite for a boy is James, which is the name of the Duchess's brother. Henry and Diana also feature in the top ten, but bookmakers haven't ruled out the possibility that the royal couple might opt for a new name rather than a tried and tested royal favourite.

Some are offering odds on the names Tracey, Tyrone, Mohammed and Joffrey. Others are taking bets on the baby's hair colour and the colour of dress Kate Middleton will wear when she leaves the hospital (top three are currently red, white and blue).

Odds on Kate having twins plummeted from 20/1 to 9/1 and were then suspended at William Hill in September after it reportedly received about 200 bets on the arrival of twins, including "a significant gamble" made in York. Ladbrokes is still offering 3/1 on twins, 100/1 on triplets and 500/1 on quads or more.

The exact due date has not been announced, but it is thought to be in late April. The Guardian notes that the baby could come as a birthday surprise for the Queen on 21 April, a wedding anniversary surprise for the Duke and Duchess on 29 April or, if it is late, could arrive on election day on 7 May.

Here are the top ten names, according to OddsChecker:


Royal baby: Kate reveals baby kicks 'all the time'

20 January

Kate Middleton has insisted that the sex of her second child will remain a surprise, but revealed the royal baby is always kicking.

"It's moving all the time. I can feel it kicking now," she told a teenager at the official opening at the Kensington Leisure Centre in west London, the Daily Mirror reports. 

The Duchess of Cambridge, who is now six months pregnant, was attending her third royal engagement of the day when she made the comments.

"I told her I hoped it was a girl but she said she doesn't know yet," 17-year old Martina McDonagh said after meeting the Duchess. "She said it was moving around a lot."

Royal watchers are predicting that the baby will be girl, as the Duchess' bump "appears to be higher and wider than at the same stage of her pregnancy with Prince George," according to STV.

Last year, Prince Charles said he was "thrilled" to be having a second grandchild and revealed that he too was secretly hoping for a baby girl. The royal baby may be named after her late grandmother, Diana, if she turns out to be a girl, a royal biographer revealed last year.

The leisure centre in Kensington was where both Prince William and Harry learned to swim and Kate said she hoped Prince George would go there too. Both royal babies were given free lifetime memberships to the centre.

Council leader Nick Paget-Brown promised the family, who live nearby, special treatment. "You are always free to contact us if your bins haven't been emptied," he told Kate.

"Or if Prince George develops a taste for noisy parties in his teenage years, just call our noise nuisance service and we'll have a quiet word," he added.

Royal baby bump lands in New York: do Americans care?

08 December

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their royal baby bump were greeted by cheering crowds as they arrived in New York last night for a three-day visit.

Prince William is due to meet Barack Obama, but all eyes are on Kate Middleton and the future royal baby.

"The bump has landed!" announced the Daily Beast. "Kate Middleton, accompanied by her husband, Prince William, and the world's most famous pregnancy bump, breezed into a chilly New York City on Sunday night."

The royals touched down at JFK before they were whisked to The Carlyle, a luxury hotel favoured by the late Princess Diana. The royal couple are planning to watch a basketball game and pay their respects to the victims of 9/11, while William is hoping to raise awareness of illegal wildlife trading.

Prince George, now a toddler, would "no doubt love the bright lights of the big city", says Max Foster at CNN, but he will have to wait to see them himself as sources say it was not "appropriate" to bring him because of the programme of events.

"No other couple in the world has the power to fill a room like the Cambridges can right now," says Foster. "America's fascination with this fairytale is unmatched."

Fashion and gossip columnists are buzzing about the clothes the pregnant Duchess has chosen for the Big Apple. "Is Kate Middleton not the most elegant pregnant woman you have ever seen?" asks Hollywood Life. "This is William and Kate's first trip to the city and Kate's first time showing off her baby bump on US soil – she looks perfect."

But the New York Times notes that the visit has been met with "the blend of enthusiasm, sarcasm and bemusing antagonism that tends to tail the urban celebrity tourist".

Nicole Gelinas, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, jokes on Twitter that "Kate and William's visit will finally put New York on the map", while Jezebel is urging New York to "try to keep calm".

Meanwhile, etiquette experts are issuing advice on what New Yorkers should do if they come across the royal couple and the royal bump. Patricia Napier-Fizpatrick tells the New York Daily News: "Americans are not required to bow or curtsy, but should do so as a sign of respect." 

Royal baby: girl would be named Diana, report says

27 October

The royal baby may be named after her late grandmother, Diana, if she turns out to be a girl, according the author who wrote extensively about the former Princess of Wales.

Royal biographer Andrew Morton told the Sun on Sunday that a daughter would be named Elizabeth Diana Windsor

"Close friends to William and Kate have told me that if it is a girl they want to name the baby after Diana," Morton said.

"They discussed girls' names before George was born and now they're hoping the next one is a girl so they can carry out their wish to honour William's mother. They're not too thrilled at the thought it will be shortened to Princess Di. But it won't change their minds."

The royal baby is due in late April, and is likely to be born at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, where Prince George was delivered in July 2013.

The Cambridges will then return to their home at Anmer Hall in Norfolk, near the Queen's residence at Sandringham.

The Daily Mail reports that bookmakers have adjusted their odds to respond to Morton's claims.

"Elizabeth became 10/1 favourite for the name with MailOnline's betting partner Coral," the paper reports. "James is second at 11/1, Victoria third at 12/1 and Alexandra fourth at 14/1."

The Mail also notes that William and Kate would risk incurring the anger of some members of their family if they named the royal baby after Diana.

"Many royals would be furious if the baby was christened Diana Elizabeth," it says.

Royal baby: Kate back after beating morning sickness

24 October

After several weeks out of the public eye, the Duchess of Cambridge has returned to royal duties this week with three official engagements in three days.

The Duchess, who is twelve weeks pregnant with her second royal baby, had been suffering from an extreme form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum.

The debilitating condition had forced her to cancel all official duties since early September, including what was to have been her first solo royal trip abroad.

"Palace official say that while the Duchess hasn't entirely recovered, she is feeling well enough to take on a limited number of engagements on a 'case by case basis'," the Daily Mail reports.

Last night she appeared at a gala dinner in aid of Action on Addiction at L'Anima restaurant in London.

"The Duchess arrived at the black tie event in a knee-length black dress with sheer panels by Temperley London," the Daily Telegraph says.

The paper reports that one guest asked whether royal baby number two would be a boy or a girl, but the Duchess did not answer. It is understood that the couple did not know Prince George's gender before he was born in July last year.

Earlier this week the Duchess and Prince William represented the Queen to welcome the President of Singapore to the UK.

The second royal baby is due in late April next year.

Royal baby due in April, William and Kate confirm

20 October

Prince William and Kate Middleton have announced that their second royal baby is due in April next year.

The Duchess's pregnancy was announced on 8 September, but no due date had been given until today. The official announcement came from Kensington Palace this morning.

The palace said the Duchess is still suffering from extreme morning sickness, but her condition is "steadily improving", according to the BBC.

Reports suggest that she is spending time with her family as she prepares for the arrival of the new royal baby.

"Kate took refuge with her parents while she was 'struggling terribly' with her debilitating antenatal sickness," the Daily Mail reports. "The royal retreated to her family home in Bucklebury, Berkshire, last week with her son, Prince George."

The Duchess has cancelled all engagements for the next two weeks, and last month was forced to abandon plans to travel to Malta on her first solo overseas trip.

Prince George, William and Kate's first child, will be one year and nine months old when the new royal baby arrives.

Royal baby: what's in store for 'the spare to the heir'?

9 October

Kate Middleton and Prince William's second royal baby has already acquired the moniker of "spare to the heir".

Royal correspondents have been busy analysing what is in store for Prince George's younger brother or sister, who is not due to be born until next year. Several commentators have been looking specifically at the child's "curious" future as younger sibling to royal heir.

Jeffrey Kluger, editor at large for Time magazine, is so concerned about the baby's "rotten deal" as a second-born that he has written "George's Number Two" an open letter. "Every first child will always be a family's crown prince or princess, which is all the more relevant in your family because the whole crown thing is for real," he writes. "You should get accustomed to hearing your brother and you referred to as 'an heir and a spare', which is a term you won't understand at first, then you will, and will go on to loathe for the rest of your natural life."

While sidelined by history, the siblings of British kings and queen are "an even greater target for tabloid indignity than their more powerful relatives", says Adam Taylor at the Washington Post.

He notes that Prince Harry, the young spare to heir Prince William, exemplifies both the negative and the positive side to the role as a royal sibling. "Despite a number of scandals, including smoking marijuana, dressing up as a Nazi and being photographed naked playing pool in Las Vegas, Harry's notable joie de vivre and military service seem to have endeared him to the British public," says Taylor.

BBC royal correspondent Sarah Campbell notes that on very rare occasions, the "spare" has had to be drafted in, such as the Queen's father George VI who took over from his older brother Edward VIII in 1936.

"Few would argue that the most recent 'spares' – Princess Margaret, Princess Anne and Prince Harry – have been dealt an unlucky hand, but it must be a curious position to hold," says Campbell.

In The Times, Helen Rumbelow describes younger royal siblings as "donor siblings" but "instead of providing a kidney to an older child, they provide playmates to the heir who is isolated by his or her status". In their twenties the younger sibling continues to "frolic for the delight of the tabloids", she says. "But as each new baby pushed out by their older sibling pushes them down the line of succession – hello Prince Harry, now 5th in line! – so the existential crisis closes in."

Paul Harrison, Sky's royal correspondent, suggests the Duchess's second pregnancy may garner "marginally less" interest than that of Prince George. "Yes, the media will flood the street outside the Lindo Wing in Paddington when the time comes," he says. "But the fact of the matter is, William and Kate's second child is unlikely to be this country's future monarch."

Harrison says that this makes the new baby constitutionally "less significant" than Prince George. "But should the Duke and Duchess's second born follow in Harry's footsteps," he says, "it will make plenty of news in the future, should the antics of its red-headed uncle be anything to go by."

Royal baby: Kate Middleton pregnant with second child

8 September

Prince George is due to have a little brother or sister, it has emerged, with Clarence House confirming today that the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant with her second child.

No due date has been announced for the new royal baby.

"Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their second child," Clarence House announced today. "The Queen and members of both families are delighted with the news."

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their second child

— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) September 8, 2014

David Cameron has tweeted that he is "delighted" by the "happy news" that they are expecting another baby.

A spokesman for the royal residence said that the Duchess is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition that causes nausea and vomiting, which she went through in her first pregnancy.

The Duchess, who is being treated by doctors at Kensington Palace, was due to accompany Prince William on a planned engagement in Oxford today, but Clarence House said she would no longer be able to attend.

The birth of Prince George on 22 July last year caused "royal baby mania" across the globe. The international press went into something close to meltdown, with a gaggle of reporters doggedly camping outside St Mary's hospital in London.

Following Prince George's arrival, world leaders and celebrities sent out their best wishes to the couple, while retailers swiftly jumped on the royal baby bandwagon. Marks & Spencer was stocking tins of shortbread inscribed with George's name within just 24 hours, while Asda rebranded its George clothing website with a crown and stocked its shelves with "George Fit for a King" baby-grows.


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