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Royal couple announce they are expecting a second child in the spring



Prince William spoke openly yesterday of his concern for his poorly wife – just hours after royal officials were forced to announce that the couple are expecting their second child in the spring.

The Duchess of Cambridge is today being cared for by doctors at the couple’s Kensington Palace apartment after suffering from a debilitating bout of hyperemesis gravidarum.

It is the same extreme sickness that blighted the early weeks of her pregnancy with Prince George, now 13 months old.

After an engagement at Oxford University, William said: ‘She’s feeling okay. It’s been a tricky few days – [well] week or so – but obviously we are basically thrilled. It’s great news [but] early days. We’re hoping things settle down and she feels a bit better.’

He added: ‘I’m going to go and look after her now.’

Kate, 32, was last pictured in public little more than a week ago, arriving at King’s Cross Station with William and their dog Lupo after a break in Norfolk. The duchess, by then in the early stages of pregnancy, was laden down with bags.

She is now little more than six to eight weeks into her second pregnancy – well below the 12-week ‘safe’ point at which mothers-to-be traditionally announce that they are expecting. The new baby is due in the spring, around April.

Only a handful of the couple’s closest family and aides – including the Queen and the Middletons – had been told of the news, and only then because her sickness came on again so quickly.

By Sunday afternoon, however, it had become apparent that she was in no fit state to continue with the busy programme of public engagements planned this week.

Staff were informed that she would have to pull out of yesterday’s high-profile visit to Oxford University with her husband to open a centre devoted to the study of China, a country the couple have been mooted to visit next year.

University officials were made aware of the development shortly before 10am yesterday, but not told why until the media had been informed just over 15 minutes later.

A source said: ‘They really didn’t want to make this news public so soon. The duchess is not even 12 weeks pregnant yet.

‘But when it became clear that she would not be able to attend the visit and that a number of forthcoming engagements would be affected, the duke and duchess made the difficult decision to be fully open about the pregnancy.

‘It wasn’t a decision they were comfortable with having to make but they felt they couldn’t just keep saying all week that she was ill.’

Indeed the Mail understands that although she has not been hospitalised at this stage, the symptoms Kate is suffering are ‘just as severe’ as those she had before.

In December 2012, she spent three nights in the King Edward VII private hospital in London after being admitted with severe dehydration caused by her sickness. Staff treated her with fluids administered through a drip.

The development forced the royal household to announce news of her first pregnancy several weeks earlier than planned.

This time Kate is being treated at home, presumably because doctors were able to intervene at an earlier stage due to her history.

As he toured the new Dickson Poon University of Oxford China Centre building yesterday, William, 32, was clearly uncomfortable having had to make news of his wife’s pregnancy public so soon.

He tried to play down the development, telling reporters: ‘It’s important that we focus on the big news, the big international and domestic thing going on at the moment.’

But he graciously – and clearly happily – accepted the good wishes of members of the public. Bethlily Barton, five, presented him with some flowers to take home to Kate and a toy swan. ‘It was a present for George, I didn’t know they were having another baby,’ she said.

Her father, Stuart McPherson, added: ‘It’s wonderful news. He was great with Bethlily and I think he will be a wonderful father second time round.’

In a statement, Kensington Palace said: ‘Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their second child.

‘The Queen and members of both families are delighted.’

The new baby will be fourth in line to the throne – shunting Harry down to fifth.

But the prince, who celebrates his 30th birthday next week, seemed far from bothered at the thought of being another step away from becoming king.

When this was pointed out to him yesterday he grinned and joked: ‘Great!’