The fact that The Sun didn’t put its story that Kate Middleton might be pregnant on the front page suggests the paper has its doubts. But if the story turns out to be true, it will be one of the most brilliant free scoops of all time.
For this story has not been derived from hacked voicemails, an avaricious doctor, or a garrulous friend. The Sun’s royals editor, Duncan Larcombe, filed his scoop—headlined "‘Is There Something You’re Nut Telling Us Kate?"—on the basis of the observation that, while tasting a UNICEF aid package at an event earlier this week to highlight the devastating famine in East Africa, Kate declined to sample the peanut paste.
For almost 20 years in the U.K., women were advised to avoid eating peanuts during pregnancy or while breastfeeding if they or the father had a history of allergic conditions. In 2008 Britain’s Food Safety Agency dropped the advice because there was insufficient evidence to support the ban. In fact, the agency reversed itself, saying that avoiding nuts could actually increase the possibility of a child suffering a nut allergy in later life. But such is the concern among pregnant mothers about incurring allergies in their offspring that peanuts have joined the long list of forbidden items.
Although this is not the first time that a rumor of Kate being pregnant has emerged, the fact that this story has been allowed to grow legs over the weekend rather than being crushed by the palace PR machine—the Star’s “Kate Pregnant With Twins” splash in September was swiftly refuted—is telling. It could be that Kate simply doesn’t like peanut butter, but there are two other pieces of (admittedly totally circumstantial) evidence that lend credence to the theory.
The first are the numerous meaningful looks and gestures that William directs toward his wife in the official UNICEF video.
When they are coming out of the helicopter in the opening shot, for example, he abruptly breaks off from his chat with the crown prince of Denmark and puts an arm out to Kate—which could well be the simple manifestation of a newly married husband’s affection for his wife but, when watched frame by frame, looks exactly like a variation on the many well-worn routines expectant first-time dads, trained by Hollywood to expect nine months of nonstop vomiting, have of discreetly asking their first-time pregnant wives if they are feeling all right.
The other extraordinary element, which has been totally overlooked by the international media, is the significance of the fact that the laws of succession were changed quite suddenly last week, meaning that a firstborn daughter of William and Kate would become queen rather than seeing the title pass to a younger brother.
Kate and William let it be known that they felt the old laws of succession were hopelessly outdated and unfair. But it does seem a bit odd that this massive change to the (unwritten) British constitution was not trailed. It was simply announced by David Cameron, the British prime minister, after Commonwealth leaders meeting in Perth unanimously approved the change. One might have expected the government or the royals to drag it out a bit, and claim some of the credit for making modern changes to a 1,000-year-old system.
Maybe the dramatic move was given urgency by some happy news from the palace. While gender testing is not thought to be reliable until the 10th week onward (when a CVS can be done), it would have been very hard for the laws of succession to be so quietly changed had it been known that William and Kate were expecting, especially if they do now have a girl.
Kate and William are doubtless upset that the pregnancy rumors have distracted from their UNICEF mission to raise money for the African famine, their first big outing together since tying the knot.
Make them feel better by donating a few dollars at www.unicef.org.uk. Think of it as a shower.