Princess Kate Middleton is fueling rumors that she’s pregnant after showcasing a slightly rounder figure at an event at London’s Natural History Museum on Nov. 27, 2012.
In the photos, the slender 5-foot-10 Middleton wears a long-sleeved green dress belted slightly above her waist, which she appears to protectively hide beneath her folded hands.
Kate, 30, looks slightly rounder in the face as well as from the side, adding credence to the slew of media rumors that the princess is indeed expecting. [Update: Kate is pregnant, the Palace confirmed.]
Kate, whose royal title is Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, was already outed by her childhood acquaintance, Jessica Hay, who told Australian media that Middleton is definitely pregnant.
“They’re planning to make an announcement in December,” Hay told New Idea. “William and Kate are focused on starting a family. They’ve discussed it endlessly and don’t want to be older parents.”
The size-two Kate’s recent weight gain (though nominal) hasn’t gone unnoticed by British tabloids, which are already in overdrive with pregnancy speculation.
The athletic Middleton, a fitness fanatic who’s known for her elegant fashion style and sleek, model-like physique (see photo, above left), has had a rough few months.
The normally reserved Kate suffered an embarrassing nude-photo scandal in September 2012, and will celebrate her 31st birthday on Jan. 9, 2013, so the timing of the pregnancy is just right to deflect attention away from the humiliating nude-photo fiasco.
As it is, Middleton has been under a constant pregnancy watch now that she has been married for well over a year. By not getting pregnant within a year of her wedding, Kate already defied a 200-year British royal tradition.
“If Kate is not pregnant in the next nine months, she will be defying 200 years of royal tradition,” Andrew Morton, who wrote a biography of Princess Diana, said in May 2011.
Indeed, William was born just 11 months after Diana married Prince Charles in 1981, and Charles was born less than a year after his parents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, wed in 1947.
While fans view Kate’s life as a princess as one of luxury and leisure (and it is), her primary duty is to be a good wife and mother, say experts.
“If I’m being brutal about it, Catherine’s duty is to make her husband happy and to produce an heir,” said royal historian Hugo Vickers.
“[William’s marriage] makes it possible to have another generation of the House of Windsor in direct line to the throne: a boy who will automatically become king, or a girl who might be queen.”
William, who said he and Kate want to have two children, has previously expressed a desire to start a family soon. “Obviously we want a family, so we’ll have to start thinking about that,” he said in 2011.