LONDON: Prince William visited his pregnant wife Kate in hospital yesterday where she was spending a second day being treated for acute morning sickness, as messages of congratulations poured in from around the world.
The announcement on Monday that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, both 30, are expecting their first child ended feverish speculation about a new royal heir that began immediately after their lavish wedding in April 2011. The child will be third in line to the throne.
It will also be directly in line to become the monarch regardless of whether it is a girl or a boy, after a historic agreement among the 16 Commonwealth realms last year to end the practice of male primogeniture. St James’s Palace said Kate was still at the “very early stages” of pregnancy — she is believed to be less than 12 weeks — but it is thought the news was released because her admission to hospital would have made her condition public.
Kate has hyperemesis gravidarum, a very acute form of morning sickness which affects 3.5 in every 1,000 pregnant women. Although it should not harm the baby if treated correctly, it can be highly unpleasant for the mother as it causes severe vomiting and carries a danger of dehydration and nutritional deficiencies.
Kate is expected to stay in hospital for several days and will then require a period of rest, a palace spokeswoman said, adding that her public engagements have been cancelled for the next week.
Queen Elizabeth II, her husband Prince Philip, Charles — for whom this is his first grandchild — and his wife Camilla were said by the palace to be “delighted”, as were Kate’s parents, Carole and Michael Middleton. William’s brother Prince Harry was reportedly informed by email in Afghanistan, where he is deployed as an Apache attack helicopter pilot.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who had his fourth child in 2010, led the congratulations by saying the royal couple would make “wonderful parents”. US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle also sent their congratulations on the “welcome news”, the White House said.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the news “is going to bring joy to many around the world”, while her New Zealand counterpart John Key said it was “fabulous”. Commentators speculated on whether there may be two babies, because hyperemesis gravidarum is apparently more common in mothers carrying twins. AFP