It may be antiquated but let's face it, what is the top priority of a royal wife? It's the swift production of the “heir and the spare.” While it may sound quaint, that's a necessity to secure the future of the monarchy. As a result both Diana – and the current Queen of England – produced heirs within a year of their marriages.

Royal watchers always gave Kate Middleton, who got married in April 2011, slightly longer. With the Jubilee and Olympic celebrations of 2012 the smart money was always on a 2013 baby. With the news of her pregnancy on Monday, the Duchess of Cambridge has fulfilled her duty.

This great grandchild will be the third in line to the throne and has already made history. The monarchy may be antiquated on many levels, but to survive it has always adapted over time. Laws are in the process of being altered in the sixteen countries where the Queen is head of state, so the firstborn of William and Kate will be the next monarch, whether male or female.

 

The monarchy may be antiquated on many levels, but to survive it has always adapted over time.

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The pressure on Kate has been and is tremendous. Her marrying into the Royal Family is estimated to have boosted the British economy by $1.6 billion in retail and tourism – much needed as the UK deals with deficit reduction (the royal family costs around $60 million a year to maintain). The baby will cement that and is projected to generate further millions for a struggling country next year and beyond. But the child will also personify a link between Britain’s past and future – monarchy is very much a stabalizing force, a focus of national unity, identity and pride. Both the Queen and Prince William enjoy approval ratings of around 90%.

Diana supposedly complained of how the whole world was watching her stomach when she was pregnant with William. Insiders have indicated that the Duke and Duchess had been hoping to announce the pregnancy to the Royal Family at the traditional Royal Christmas gathering at Sandringham. However hospitalization is hard to hide in the Twitter age, so Kate’s suffering of the rare hyperemesis gravidarum “HG,” brought the announcement forward.

Brace yourself for months of mounting speculation over the birth. Why do Americans seemingly care so much? We all need some escapism in our lives – hence the existence of celebrity culture. If it wasn’t Kate, it would be even more Lindsay Lohan or Kim Kardashian. So you’ll probably be hearing much of how women with HG are more prone to giving birth to daughters and are more likely to have multiple births, which run on both William and Kate’s sides of the family.

On a personal level for the parents-to-be, after the recent furor surrounding the publication of naked photos of Kate sunbathing, this announcement ends their year on a happy note. And Britain, a country going through incredibly tough times, gets its spirit lifted going into 2013.