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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announce they are expecting their third child

Kensington Palace has announced that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child.

The announcement has been made after the duchess was unable to attend an engagement on Monday due to a bout of extreme morning sickness, otherwise known as hyperemesis gravidarum. In a statement released this morning, the Palace said:

“Their royal highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their third child.

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“The Queen and members of both families are delighted with the news.

“As with her previous two pregnancies, the duchess is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. Her royal highness will no longer carry out her planned engagement at the Hornsey Road children’s centre in London today. The duchess is being cared for at Kensington Palace.”

The couple already have two children, with four-year-old Prince George being set to start school this week at Thomas's Battersea, South London. Princess Charlotte is currently two-years-old.

It's not the first time that Kate, 35, has had to battle extreme morning sickness during pregnancy, with the duchess also suffering from it during her first pregnancy. Hyperemesis gravidarum can be so severe that it requires supplementary hydration, medication and nutrients.

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The new baby will be fifth in line to the throne, with William's brother, Prince Harry, being bumped down into sixth place. Until recently, if the new child had been a boy, he would've leapfrogged his sister Charlotte in the line for the throne, as under the rule of male primogeniture, royal sons took precedence over their female siblings.

However, a radical shake-up to the rules before Prince George was born means that after October 2011, the priority was no longer based on gender at all. The new rules meant that whatever the sex of the first child, it would be destined to serve as monarch, and that no matter if this child is a girl a boy, Charlotte retains her position in the queue.

Kate will more than likely deliver the baby in the Lindo Wing in St Mary's Hospital, London, where she has previously experienced two straightforward deliveries. The couple also have a live-in nanny to look after the children while they fulfill their engagements.

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Having picked fairly traditional names for their first two children, the bookies odds are likely to be short on Alice or Alexandra for a girl, and James or Philip for a boy. Many royal observers believed that the couple were always going to have three children, with plenty of them speculating that this will now be the last one for the young family.

Kate is one of three, and on a royal tour of Poland in 2017, she joked about having a third child after receiving a present for newborn baby, turning to William and saying: "We will just have to have more babies."

No doubt we will be hearing plenty of speculation regarding the sex and name of the child, and when the time arrives, we'll see plenty of weirdos standing outside the hospital cheering the birth and waving their union jack flags around.