Kate Middleton, pregnant?
True, we've heard it before. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a woman the world's media has been more intent on knocking up: Almost as soon as she and Prince William said their "I dos" back in April of 2011, the tabloids began their royal bumpwatch in earnest, with nary a month gone by since in which some publication wasn't trying to trumpet their supposed exclusive look into the inner workings of the duchess's reproductive system. (Need we remind anyone of Peanutgate? Or that time she—gasp—dared touch her midsection and the world nearly exploded in excitement? The girl can't even drink a glass of water without inferences being made.)
The laws of probability say that these armchair OB/GYNs were bound to be right at some point. And, as it happens, mounting speculation seems to suggest that some point may very well be now.
Granted, no announcement has been made, and neither Buckingham Palace nor the Cambridges' official mouthpiece, Clarence House, has given any indication that one is forthcoming (though that hasn't stopped rumors from mounting that it will anyway).
But there certainly have been more than a few signs that a stork may be circling their royal grounds. Like what, you say? Funny you should ask—here's a roundup of clues as to why an heir may very well be on the way:
There's Something, Shall We Say, DIfferent About Kate Middleton: Yes, the hair, but no, not the hair. You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that Kate's banging new 'do has brought a surge of new photos and close inspections of Kate's mane. And, it follows, face. And, it still follows, face shape. Which is undeniably rather different from her usual superslim visage. True, it's the holiday season and who among us doesn't indulge a bit more than usual, but when someone known for their preternatural narrowness starts showing signs of being, well, not quite so narrow as before...color us suspicious. Besides, there's no distraction technique quite like drawing attention away from one body part (say, her stomach) with another (like that new hairstyle).
Her Friend Says It's Going to Happen: Well, we say friend. Jessica Hay, who went to school with Kate but who has, by pretty much all accounts, not spoken to the duchess in years (grain-of-salt alert), has taken it upon herself to declare Middleton pregnant, telling both Life & Style and Australia's New Idea, "They're planning to make an announcement in December. I have this on the highest authority, and it's not to be taken lightly. It's going to be wonderful, happy news when it's announced."
Will and Kate Want Kids: It would be one thing if the couple seemed reticent about procreating, but the duo has graciously—and without too much prodding—been more than open about their desire to hear the pitter-patter of little feet around the palace. As recently as September, Wills had no problem talking about his family plans with members of the public, telling inquiring locals during their South Pacific Diamond Jubilee trip without hesitation that he wanted two kids. For Kate's part, she's rarely away from adorable kids, and even has chosen child-centric charities to serve as patron of.
The Public Wants Will and Kate to Have Kids: And if you thought pressure from wannabe grandparents was tough, just imagine the pressure from your royal subjects. Just yesterday, when Will and Kate visited their namesake city of Cambridge on an official visit, one of the well-wishers on hand to greet the royal couple handed the duke a rather leading present: a homemade baby onesie bearing a picture of a helicopter and the words "Daddy's Litte Copilot." Without missing a beat, Wills replied, "I'll keep that," and handed it to one of his aides for safekeeping. Mmm-hmm.
They've Got the Time: It's the holidays. The pair is in the middle of quite an expansive window of time in which no royal tours are lingering on the horizon. Plus, they're alone in North Wales; how else are they going to while away the hours up there? Most notable of all, however, is that Prince William's current tour of duty with the RAF Search and Rescue team is scheduled to end in mid-2013. So, should Kate already be pregnant, that would put his leaving time right around a potential due date. Nice bit of coincidence there.
Where There's Smoke, There's Fire: OK, not the strongest of clues, granted, but there all the same. Watch this space.