A Kensington Palace spokeswoman confirmed the pregnancy and said that while they weren’t announcing the due date, she was not yet at the 12-week mark.
The news of a “spare to the heir” doesn’t come as a huge surprise, with feverish speculation here over the last several weeks that Prince William and Catherine were expecting a second child.
Alex Salmond, the first minister of Scotland, tweeted his warm wishes to the royal couple, using their Scottish titles the “Earl and Countess of Strathearn.”
But not all Scots were in the mood to toast a new addition to the British royal family. A referendum on Scottish independence is scheduled for Sept. 18, and those favoring the split do not appear swayed by the news. An instant poll by the Guardian newspaper suggested the announcement of the pregnancy would not significantly bolster opponents of the breakup.
Many commentators said they expect the royal baby, who will be fourth in line to the throne, to be born in the spring next year. Prince Charles is the next in line to the throne, followed by Prince William and Prince George. When the new baby is born, other members of the royal family will move down a peg; Prince Harry, for example, will become fifth in line to the throne.
British Prime Minister David Cameron was among the first to congratulate the young couple on their happy news.
According to the official announcement, Kate Middleton is being treated by doctors at Kensington Palace for acute morning sickness, a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
She was hospitalized early in her first pregnancy because of the condition, which can cause severe nausea, vomiting and dehydration.
A spokeswoman said that the couple were announcing the pregnancy now because the duchess’ illness has cast doubt on her upcoming public engagements. She pulled out of an official engagement in Oxford on Monday.
Kate was planning to attend the formal opening of Oxford University’s new center dedicated to the study of China today, but Prince William will attend on his own due to his wife’s illness.
The announcement could also mean Kate won’t make it to Malta later this month on what was to be her first overseas trip without her husband, according to the Mirror.
“She’s feeling okay, thanks. It’s been a tricky few days — a week or so — but obviously we’re basically thrilled. It’s great news, early days,” Prince William told reporters during a visit to Oxford University to open a new center dedicated to the study of China. “But I’m hoping things settle down and she feels a bit better.”
The betting has already begun on the sex and name of the royal baby. According to the bookies at Paddy Power, odds are the baby will be named Henry or Elizabeth. Companies have wasted no time turning the new baby into a marketing opportunity:
It could be triplets and there would *still* be enough room for the Queen... #XTrail #SevenSeats #RoyalBaby pic.twitter.com/k4HiNAb7lq— NissanUK (@NissanUK) September 8, 2014
There's another #RoyalBaby on the way! What will he/she be named? We make Elizabeth 10/1 fav! http://t.co/20O9ZPoSZO pic.twitter.com/nmi6ygKMmK— Paddy Power (@paddypower) September 8, 2014
It did not go unnoticed that the announcement came amid rising tensions over Scotland’s upcoming independence vote.
The Queen's offered to have the next royal baby named 'WILLIAM WALLACE ROBERT BRUCE BURNS' if the Scots agree to vote NO.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 8, 2014