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A Royal Baby On The Way In The U.K.

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, are expecting a baby. The child will be third in line and in direct succession to the throne. The announcement came after the duchess was admitted to a hospital in central London on Monday with acute morning sickness. The royal family had wanted to make the announcement later. The BBC reports that she is in the first trimester.

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From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

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And I'm Audie Cornish. In Britain, palace officials have confirmed that Prince William's wife, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, is in the very early stages of pregnancy. The former Kate Middleton has been hospitalized with severe morning sickness but her health is not believed to be in danger. From London, Vicki Barker has the story.

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VICKI BARKER, BYLINE: The couple had barely exchanged their wedding vows in April 2011 before some here began wondering when it would be time to dust off the royal pram, says historian Kate Williams.

KATE WILLIAMS: Poor girl. I mean, every time she turns up in something baggy everyone's, oh, my goodness, she's probably pregnant.

BARKER: The rest of the royal family has pronounced itself delighted with the news. Prime Minister David Cameron says he was slipped a note during a meeting and had a hard time keeping the secret.

PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON: Well, it's absolutely wonderful news and I'm delighted for them. I'm sure they'll make absolutely brilliant parents and I'm sure everyone around the country will be celebrating with them tonight.

BARKER: Most British royal babies make their first appearance within a year of the nuptials but it was widely expected here that William and Kate would not want to upstage Queen Elizabeth's 2012 Jubilee Celebrations or, for that matter, this summer's London Olympics.

In recent weeks, though, her wasp-thin waistline had been feverishly watched for the slightest sign of convexity. A few days ago, he was pointedly given baby clothes at a public appearance in Cambridge. And sure enough, once again winning praise for her sense of timing and decorum, Kate seems to have conceived at the earliest appropriate moment in the royal calendar.

The baby is expected sometime next summer. Royal observer Ingrid Seward says any hopes the couple may have had of keeping this under wraps longer were apparently dashed when the Duchess had to be hospitalized with severe morning sickness.

INGRID SEWARD: I don't think they would've announced this if she hadn't had to go into hospital.

BARKER: If William and Kate's firstborn is a girl she'll be in line to succeed to the throne, even if the couple go on to have sons after her. Last year, the Queen and other heads of state of the British Commonwealth agreed to abolish the ancient rules of royal primogeniture, which for centuries granted precedence to male heirs.

The current queen herself would never have reigned if she had a younger brother. Britain's Parliament hasn't yet ratified that decision but legal experts here say it won't matter. Boy or girl, William and Kate's first baby will be third in line to the British throne. For NPR News, I'm Vicki Barker in London. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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