Great Expectations

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What with the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee, 2012 had been such a banner year for the Royal Family and Great Britain as a whole that 2013 was looking like a bit of an anti-climax. Then came the announcement that all of Britain had been waiting for: after 20 months of marriage to Prince William, Kate was pregnant! The news broke on December 3rd 2012, the same day that the Duchess was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in central London with hyperemesis gravidarum, an acute morning sickness that requires supplementary hydration and nutrients. The King Edward VII hospital, which was founded by and named for one of his ancestors, has a long association with the royal family because of its discretion in treating most senior royals for a variety of ailments over the years.

“Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby,” the palace said in a 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.”

Kate left hospital a few days later and smiled and posed briefly alongside William for a photograph, clutching a small bouquet of yellow roses, before stepping delicately into a waiting car. The couple’s office said at the time that she would be heading to Kensington Palace for a period of rest.

The news was greeted with joy in the U.K., spreading in a thoroughly modern way: via Facebook accounts, TV screens in pubs and train stations, and news alerts sent to mobile phones. Asked to comment on his wife’s condition, William joked about the inappropriate name of Kate’s recent illness. “I don’t know why they call it morning sickness,” he said. “They should call it all day and all night sickness. It’s a long old process but she is getting there.”

In an interview on BBC1’s Countryfile to commemorate the programme’s 25th anniversary, William’s father, Prince Charles, was asked whether the prospect of becoming a grandparent to Prince William and Kate’s first child, made him feel old. He replied: “Of course it does because you can’t believe, to a certain extent, that it’s going to happen in your life.”

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