Not only are the attractive young couple popular — with William’s easy common touch reminding many of his mother, the late Diana — but their child is expected to play an important role in British national life for decades to come.
William is second in line to the throne after his father, Prince Charles, so the couple’s first child would normally become a monarch — eventually.
The confirmation of Kate’s pregnancy caps a jam-packed year of highs and lows for the young royals, who were married in a lavish ceremony at Westminster Abbey last year.
They have traveled the world extensively as part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and weathered the embarrassment of a nude photos scandal, after a tabloid published topless images of the duchess.
Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said the news bookended a year that saw the royal family riding high in popular esteem after celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne.
“We’re riding on a royal high at the moment at the end of the Diamond Jubilee year,” he said. “People enjoyed the royal romance last year and now there’s this. It’s just a good news story amid all the doom and gloom.”
Speculation about when the couple would start a family has been rife since their wedding.
William’s mother Diana got pregnant just four months after her wedding in 1981. Diana also reportedly suffered from morning sickness for months and complained of constant media attention.
“The whole world is watching my stomach,” Diana once said.
She gave birth to William in 1982 after 16 hours of labor. At his birth, William was given a baby tag marked ‘Baby Wales’ and a 41-gun salute was fired in Hyde Park and the Tower of London.
In September 1983, roughly a year after the birth of William, Buckingham Palace announced that Diana was pregnant for a second time. However, within a week, Diana suffered a miscarriage when on holiday at Balmoral, Scotland.