Wills & Kate Plus One? The Royal Baby Watch Is On!
Is she or isn't she?
Practically from the moment they walked out of the church as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the speculation about when Catherine and William would announce her pregnancy has been non-stop. First came the tabloid stories that she was too thin and therefore stressing out about having difficulty conceiving. Then, reports of various due dates started to appear. Some other cited 'royal insiders' saying she would be giving birth in early 2012. Earlier this month while on an official engagement in Copenhagen (as pictured above), Catherine, who is usually game for anything, fueled the pregnancy rumors by politely declining to sample some peanut paste. Royal bump watchers pointed to the notion that doctors usually advise pregnant women to avoid peanuts due to allergens.
Now, InTouch is reporting that Catherine is six weeks pregnant and is preparing not one but three nurseries at their various homes including one in Kensington Palace. Miguel Head, an official palace spokesperson for the duchess addressed the report by 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."
Here's my take: While InTouch did manage to correctly break news about the couple's honeymoon plans and reporting the Queen's wedding gift to Catherine, it seems unlikely that the magazine would wind up with such a prized scoop. It's also worth noting that given the approach the royals took in controlling every aspect of disseminating the information about Catherine and William beginning with their engagement right right through the Today show worthy official website to chronicle their every detail of their wedding, they have learned a lot about packaging the stories about William and Catherine and leveraging them to their greatest advantage.
Unlike the high profile royal couples that have come before them, Catherine and William seem to have picked their friends and 'insiders' wisely with nary a peep of about anything of any significance relating to their marriage being leaked since they became husband and wife. They have brilliantly managed to be both the most accessible (Kate goes to the market to do her own food shopping!) and most elusive (remember how tight lipped even the celebs were when the royals made their trip to California?) royal newlyweds ever. Quite a feat in the age of the 24/7 news cycle.
With those factors in mind, if the tabloids couldn't manage to break the story about who designed the duchess' wedding dress (Remember the palace revealed Sarah Burton to be the designer with great synchronicity by announcing it on the wedding website with sketches at the precise moment Catherine stepped from her car at Westminster Abbey) it's hard to believe they'd get the royal scoop of the decade
If there is a pregnancy, I predict the official announcement from the palace will come at Christmas refuting (at least the timetable of) InTouch's story. And, of course, if there isn't any word forthcoming any time soon from Buckingham Palace, the tabloid can always spin the tale to their advantage -- "Kate's Baby Sorrow!" or something of that ilk.
Of course it's a matter of when, not if, the royal newlyweds have their first child. What makes the royal babywatch even more interesting to me right now is the recently announced changes to the archaic royal succession rules. Last month, the 16 leaders from the Commonwealth countries voted to end the centuries-old rule that discriminates against female heirs to the British throne. This means that regardless of whether Catherine and William's first born is female, she will follow him in the line of succession. He is currently second in line to the throne behind his father, Prince Charles (And no matter what has been reported elsewhere, there is no plans afoot for William to ascend to the throne instead of Charles, who last spring, became the longest serving heir). The British monarchy is a monarchy built on tradition and continuity and no amount of opinion polls touting William's (and Catherine's) popularity is going to change that.
The change that allows Catherine's and William's daughter to become the future queen even if the couple goes on to have a son, is the biggest change to happen to inner workings of the monarchy in centuries.
The time will come -- in all likelihood it will be decades from now -- when William becomes king. Will it then be his daughter or his son that will become heir to the throne? Thanks to an important change to the law, the waiting game will be an even more fascinating one if Catherine and William's eldest child is a daughter.
I, for one, am crossing my fingers that the couple has a girl and names her Diana.
Think of all the karmic possibilities.
Photo credit: Getty Images