Kate Middleton pregnant, palace confirms
Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton are expecting a baby, the prince's office confirmed this morning (NZT).
"Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby," the office 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."
The couple, officially known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, married in April last year, prompting a global media frenzy and there has been much speculation, particularly in US gossip magazines, about a possible pregnancy.
The statement said Catherine was in the King Edward VII Hospital in Central London suffering from very acute morning sickness. She is likely to remain there for several days.
It said her condition required supplementary hydration and nutrients. There was no detail about when the baby was due, with the statement stating the pregnancy was in its early stages. However, Kate is believed to be less than 12 weeks pregnant.
"I'm delighted by the news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby," Prime Minister David Cameron said on his Twitter website. "They will make wonderful parents."
On its Facebook page, Monarchy New Zealand said: "A year ago they married in front of billions. Today, they announced to the world they are expecting a baby. A huge congratulations to Their Royal Highnesses from everyone at Monarchy New Zealand! Ngā mihi nui ki a kōrua tahi [sic]."
William, Queen Elizabeth's grandson, is second in line to the British throne, and their first child will become the third in succession when he or she is born.
Last year Britain and other Commonwealth countries which have the Queen as their monarch agreed to change the rules of royal succession so that sons would no longer have precedence as heir, regardless of age.
The agreement also means an end to a ban on a future monarch marrying a Catholic, a stipulation dating back some 300 years.
NAME GAME STARTS
Bookmakers were quick to accept bets on possible baby names, with Elizabeth, Frances, John, Charles and Diana the early front runners among punters.
Bookmaker William Hill has odds of 9/1 for Frances and John with Charles, Victoria and George at 10/1. Ladbrokes, meanwhile, had Elizabeth, after her great-grandmother, the Queen, as the 8/1 favourite, with Frances, John and Charles all on 10/1.
William and Kate currently live in north Wales where the prince is based as a Royal Air Force search and rescue pilot.