BABY WATCH

11.17.11

Is Kate Middleton Pregnant? Royal Baby Watch Heats Up.

Tabloids are abuzz with rumors that Prince William and his bride are expecting. From the couple’s planned move to a visit from the Middletons, Tom Sykes on the latest clues that a new royal is on the way.

Trying to divine whether or not the wife of the heir to the throne is expecting a child has been a well-established British tradition for hundreds of years. Now Kate Middleton finds herself in the middle of this well-rehearsed parlor game of the people.

It all began with a polite refusal to sample the peanut paste in a UNICEF food pack, and the brouhaha soon stoked speculation on both sides of the Atlantic. The American magazine In Touch claimed on Wednesday that Prince William and his bride of nearly seven months are about six weeks' pregnant with their first child. In the U.K., reports that the Cambridges are planning to set up a permanent base in Scotland are seen as another sign that the couple are in the family way.

Citing an unnamed palace insider, In Touch said Middleton, 29, is now preparing three royal nurseries at various residences including Kensington Palace.

The palace issued a resounding nondenial of the claims, saying, “We never confirm or deny these rumors. This is about the millionth [pregnancy] report we've had. If it were true, you'd hear the announcement from us and not a gossip magazine in the U.S.”

However, In Touch claims its Middleton source has a good track record, having correctly revealed both the couple's honeymoon plans and the queen's wedding gift to Kate.

Adding to the speculation is the fact that Kate’s parents, Carole and Michael, traveled to Scotland at the invitation of the young royal couple the week before last. The implication is that the royals were telling Kate’s parents the happy news before any information leaked into the public domain.

A source told the Scottish newspaper the Daily Record, “They were all here at the same time last year to discuss the wedding. Could it be this time that they were discussing another happy event?”

"Every reigning monarch for the last 200 years has had a child within a year and a half; Diana was pregnant within three months."

Well, maybe, maybe not. But in addition to the fact Kate that declined to sample peanut paste during her trip to UNICEF’s global supply center in Copenhagen (doctors have commonly warned mothers to stay away from nuts during pregnancy), she further fueled speculation when she shunned champagne while hosting a charity dinner on behalf of Prince Charles recently. Taken together with the recent sudden change in the rules of succession—which mean that if Kate and William’s firstborn child is a daughter, the girl will accede to the throne before a younger brother—the clues are piling up.

And then there are the house plans. Like most couples looking forward to a new arrival in the family, Wills and Kate are thinking where to put down roots, and look set to return to Scotland—the place they fell in love—when William’s current posting with search-and-rescue crews at RAF Valley in Anglesey comes to an end.

According to the Daily Mirror, William is keen to transfer to RAF Lossiemouth, Moray, in 2013.

A senior RAF source told The Mirror: “Lossiemouth will give the chance for William to command his own helicopter.”

At the time of the couple’s April wedding, royal biographer Andrew Morton predicted Kate would be pregnant within a matter of months. He said: “I’m pretty confident that, according to royal tradition, she’ll be pregnant within the next few months. Every reigning monarch for the last 200 years has had a child within a year and a half; Diana was pregnant within three months.”