LONDON — Get the nursery ready: Prince William and his wife Kate are expecting their first child.
St. James's Palace announced the pregnancy Monday, saying that the Duchess of Cambridge — formerly known as Kate Middleton — has a severe form of morning sickness and is currently in a London hospital. William is at his wife's side.
The palace said since the pregnancy is in its "very early stages," the 30-year-old duchess is expected to stay in the hospital for several days and will require a period of rest afterward.
It would not say how far along she is, only that she has not yet reached the 12-week mark.
News of the pregnancy drew congratulations from across the world, with the hashtag "royalbaby" trending globally on Twitter.
Not only are the attractive young couple popular — with William's easy common touch reminding many of his mother, the late Princess Diana — but their child is expected to play an important role in British national life for decades to come.
William is second in line to the throne after his father, Prince Charles, so the couple's first child would normally eventually become a monarch.
In recent days, Middleton has kept up her royal appearances — recently playing field hockey with schoolchildren at her former school.
The confirmation of her pregnancy caps a jam-packed year of highs and lows for the young royals, who were married in a lavish ceremony at Westminster Abbey last year.
They have traveled the world extensively as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations and weathered the embarrassment of a nude photos scandal, after a tabloid published topless images of the duchess.
Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said the news bookended a year that saw the royal family riding high in popular esteem after celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne.