This morning I woke up, promptly reached over to grab my phone and turn off my alarm, then remembered the Duchess of Cambridge was scheduled for an engagement and quickly checked Twitter. Well, what do you know: Kate is pregnant!
Kensington Palace announced via Twitter this morning that the third Cambridge baby is on its way and that, as with Kate’s previous pregnancies, she’s suffering from Hyperemis Gravidarum and is currently being cared for at home. As such, today’s engagement was cancelled. There was an embargoed engagement on the books for tomorrow that I keep hearing conflicting information as to whether Kate was expected to pop up, but that will be firmly off the table now. The real question is whether she will join the Duke on Thursday for the school run when Prince George is dropped off at Thomas’s Battersea – a part of me can’t imagine her missing it, but there’s also not a whole lot she’s going to be able to do about it if she’s unwell.
As with George and Princess Charlotte, this pregnancy has been announced before the 12-week mark out of necessity. Because of the HG, Kate will need to bow out of her engagements for the next few weeks and her pregnancies are usually made public on the day that she has to cancel an appearance. With Charlotte, Kate was forced to pull out of a planned trip to Malta in September 2014 that William ended up taking on for her instead.
The baby’s due date is apparently April/May, indicating that the child may end up sharing a birthday near Charlotte’s. Charlotte’s due date, remember, was originally in late April, but like older brother, George, she was late.
What’s interesting about that due date – not to go full on Daily Mail here – is that it indicates all three of the Cambridge pregnancies have been planned after tours, which makes sense. It would be significantly more cumbersome to cancel a foreign tour and certainly much more uncomfortable for Kate to be in the first weeks of pregnancy in another country, so it seems sensible that after wrapping those trips up, they’re in good shape to have a few-month stretch of being home.
With George, he was conceived in about October 2012, a few weeks after his parents returned from Southeast Asia. With Charlotte, she was conceived in late July or so, a couple months after her parents returned from New Zealand and Australia and right around the time George hit the one-year mark. This baby was likely conceived in July, a month marked by the couple’s visit to Germany and Poland.
In case you’re wondering, no, it’s not possible to write that paragraph without feeling vaguely creepy.
But logistics are important! The month of August in which there are few engagements scheduled provides good cover for the first weeks of a pregnancy, particularly if you know you’re planning around HG. In fact, it is for this reason that I’ve always found pregnancy speculation around Kate strange – this is always how her pregnancies are and will be announced. There’s little chance of her wandering about in her first trimester playing coy because, unfortunately, she doesn’t have that luxury.
I will admit that I wasn’t convinced that William and Kate would have another child. I didn’t think it was out of the question, but I knew there was at least a 30-50% chance that the HG combined with William’s statements about wanting two children might rule it out. That said, I also had a feeling that if there was a third baby, there would be a larger age gap between him/her and Charlotte than there was between Charlotte and George – I would hazard a guess that how close together Kate’s first two pregnancies were, combined with the severe sickness, took a significant physical toll on her.
The only thing surprising about this timing – and the one thing that had me thinking they might wait a bit longer – is that they’ve just moved back to London and KP just put out all those announcements of their autumn work schedule. I know some things can’t be planned, but given all the hoopla around their doubling-down on a full-time engagement schedule, I’m slightly taken aback that today’s announcement comes on the very same day as her first event of the season. I guess what I’m saying is, I hope Kate’s critics don’t use this as fuel for their “work shy” narrative, but I have a feeling we’ll hear something about it.
As for when we’ll see Kate again, it really depends. With George, she was back in front of the camera in a few weeks, while her sickness with Charlotte was apparently more severe and she was out a bit longer. I’d hazard a guess that we won’t see the Duchess for about a month. In theory, this pregnancy shouldn’t interfere with KP’s hint that the Cambridges would be undertaking another foreign trip in November. The precedent has already been set after all: when Kate was five months along with Charlotte, she and William took a mini-tour of New York City in December 2014.
Harry, a royal in fact out and about today, told reporters he thought Kate was “ok” but he hadn’t seen her or William in a little while. To be clear, he saw them on Wednesday when the three toured the White Garden at KP, but before that he was in Botswana with girlfriend Meghan Markle and, reportedly, the two took a mini-trip away from London this past weekend. No update on those engagement rumors, but hey, at this point, Kate might be pregnant at their wedding.
One final item worth noting: a third child actually breaks a bit of recent Windsor tradition. While the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh produced four children between 1948 and 1964 – a rather significant spread – none of their children had more than two of their own. Some of this can also be chalked up to a commentary on the happiness of those marriages, but even the Earl and Countess of Wessex chose to stop at two with the Viscount Severn in 2007. The point is, with the Prince of Wales famously in favor of a more streamlined monarchy in which the focus is on him and his family, a generation of younger royals more robust than two siblings is actually a good thing in terms of spreading out royal duties and ensuring the RF can manage the expected workload.
That’s a long way off, obviously, but when it comes to royal planning that’s where you need to be.