Fans await baby news from Wills and Kate

2012-04-28 08:26

Britain’s Prince William and his wife Catherine will this weekend mark a triumphant first year of marriage as a hopeful nation waits for news they are expecting a royal heir.

The couple have lost none of their popularity in Britain and abroad 12 months after their fairytale wedding drew cheering crowds and two billion TV viewers, with one royal expert crediting them with “saving the monarchy”.

But fans are still awaiting word that they are expecting a baby, and the former Kate Middleton appears to have bucked a royal trend. Royal biographer Andrew Morton said a year ago: “If Kate is not pregnant in the next nine months, she’ll be defying 200 years of royal tradition.”

Press speculation has been feverish and bookies are offering narrow odds on a new arrival in 2013, while succession rules were changed last year so that any daughter of the couple would be equal with boys in the queue for the throne.

But the second in line to the throne and his wife – who took eight years to marry and have also flouted royal convention by opting against household servants – have made it clear they will not be bound by any timetable.

“William has said he’ll take things one step at a time,” royal writer Robert Jobson said. “But Kate, at 30, probably wants to start a family as soon as she can. She’s been with this man for eight years of her life, she’s clearly in love with him.”

Since their wedding the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as they are now known, have triumphantly toured Canada and California, met the Obamas, made polished public appearances, and won fans from Nicole Kidman to Snoop Dogg.

Catherine, the middle-class girl made good, has become a fashion trendsetter and appeared with her socialite sister Pippa on Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people.

She has also won the endorsement of Queen Elizabeth II, who has twice appeared with Catherine – still known to many as Kate – in public and has reportedly written to the pair to thank them for their work.

William took part in a daring rescue of two sailors in his job as a search-and-rescue pilot, and won hearts by giving Kate a cocker spaniel, Lupo, to keep her company when he was deployed for six weeks to the Falkland Islands.

In 2013 they are due to move from their home on the Welsh island of Anglesey near William’s Royal Air Force base to grander accommodation – Princess Margaret’s old apartments in London’s Kensington Palace.

This is widely expected to accompany them starting a family, Jobson said, and will inevitably herald even closer public attention.

They’re very cautious, perhaps too cautious. “They’re aware that the future of the monarchy is on their shoulders,” he said.

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