Kate Middleton Is Pregnant, the Palace Announces

St. James' Palace has reported that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby.

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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge stand on the balcony of The Guildhall during their first official visit to Cambridge on November 28, 2012.

The Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant, St. James’ Palace has announced. The BBC broke the news just after 4 p.m. on Monday that Kate Middleton is expecting a child, while Clarence House and the couples’ official Twitter account announced the news soon after.

“Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby,” said an official statement from the palace. “The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry and members of both families are delighted with the news.”

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Kate Middleton was admitted to the King Edward VII hospital on Monday morning with acute morning sickness, having only recently discovered she was pregnant, reports BBC News. St. James’ Palace has reported that “ 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.” The palace also reports that Kate is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum — an adverse reaction to hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy — and requires supplementary hydration and nutrients. It tends to occur in the first trimester, between the eighth and 12th week of pregnancy, and affects less than 2% of women.

There has been huge speculation in recent weeks both in the U.K. and overseas as to whether the young royal, who married Prince William on April 29, 2011, was pregnant. Rumors of her pregnancy were particularly rife during the couple’s recent trip through the South Pacific. Royal historian Kate Williams explained to BBC News that the royal family most likely decided that Kate’s visit to the hospital this morning was the right moment to release the news to the public.

(MORE: Kate Middleton to Give Birth in August 2013?)

British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that he’s delighted by the news, while opposition leader Ed Miliband of the Labour Party has said that “it is fantastic news for Kate, William and the country.”

Thanks to constitutional legislation passed earlier this year, along with an amendment to the Act of Succession, it doesn’t matter whether the heir to the throne is a boy or a girl; regardless of gender, their baby could still inherit the British crown.