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Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge smiles as she speaks to University staff and students during a visit to Senate House in Cambridge, England Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 (Kirsty Wigglesworth/The Associated Press)

Britain's Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge smiles as she speaks to University staff and students during a visit to Senate House in Cambridge, England Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012

(Kirsty Wigglesworth/The Associated Press)

Kate’s baby-bump watch is over. Can we let the Duchess rest now? Add to ...

Finally. The news Royal watchers have been waiting for: The Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant. Online traffic overloaded the Royals’ website Monday, as people rushed to read the much-anticipated press release.

Perhaps the relief from incessant pregnancy rumours will also be a comfort to Kate, who is being treated in hospital for acute morning sickness.

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The baby-bump watch began the moment the couple’s 2011 Royal Wedding was over. Every handbag held within stomach range was cited as proof Kate was hiding a Royal bun in the oven; like Jennifer Aniston and other A-listers before her, Kate’s physique has been vetted daily for any sign of stomach bloat that could signal a pregnancy.

Last November, Kate passed on sampling a peanut-based food used by relief agencies at one event, so she was clearly avoiding a common allergen in the hopes of preventing an allergy in her unborn child.

That month, she also (gasp!) touched her belly.

As their first anniversary approached this April, the speculation intensified, since it’s common for Royals to get pregnant within a year of marriage.

The rumour mill wound itself up again in September after Kate sipped water instead of wine at an official dinner in Singapore.

As any woman who has been hounded about when she’s going to get pregnant can tell you, constant baby-bump surveillance can be trying if you’re not pregnant – and terrifying if you’re in the first trimester, hoping that your pregnancy is healthy. And that’s without any media interest. A source close to Kate told UsWeekly that while the Duchess was getting used to it, “This week there have been stories about IVF, baby-buzz speculation and what not. Usually they don't mind anything that is written, but this is a little different because it's so personal.”

It’s all been so much that I wouldn’t be surprised if she changed her hairstyle last week just to remind people to address her face, not her belly.

Alas, the excitement over the new long bangs quickly gave way to news that a “friend” of the Duchess’ had blabbed that she had it on “the highest authority,” that a Royal baby was on the way.

At an appearance last week, the Duchess seemingly did her best to quell the rumours – and, presumably her severe nausea, if she was already suffering from the acute morning sickness that landed her in the hospital – by playing field hockey and keeping her tartan Alexander McQueen coat buttoned.

Here’s hoping Kate is getting some much-needed rest. There will be a whole new crop of rumours and queries to face – the name!? The sex!? Is it twins!? – when she emerges from the hospital.

Follow on Twitter: @traleepearce

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