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William and Kate announce royal baby

Royal baby frenzy looks likely to dominate the news agenda for much of 2013 after the announcement that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka Prince William and Kate Middleton, are expecting their first child. The infant will be third in line of succession to the throne.

It is already apparent that it will not be an easy pregnancy for the Duchess. She was admitted to the King Edward VII Hospital in London suffering from an extreme variant of morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarun. The illness, that affects three in every thousand pregnant women, forced the couple to announce the pregnancy sooner than they wished.

St James Palace issued a statement on behalf of the couple: "As the pregnancy is in its very early stages, her royal highness is expected to stay in hospital for several days and will require a period of rest thereafter."

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The Duchess’s most recent public engagement offered no clues about her condition. In fact she joined in an impromptu game of hockey in her high-heeled boots at her old school St Andrew’s in Pangbourne at the end of November. Politicians were eager to congratulate the couple. Prime Minister David Cameron said the couple would be "absolutely brilliant parents", while Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, tweeted: "Fantastic news for Kate, William and the country. A royal baby is something the whole nation will celebrate."

Politicians may find themselves closely involved in the royal infant’s destiny from an early stage. There are proposals to change the law of primogeniture whereby a male heir takes precedence over a sister regardless of age. The change has been agreed but has yet to be ratified by Parliament and the Queen.

Meanwhile, royalists and republicans alike may be relieved that, after the baby is born, Las Vegas playboy and notorious nudist Prince Harry will be one step further away from the throne.

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