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Prince William, Duchess of Cambridge's royal baby due in July

By Bryony Jones, CNN
January 14, 2013 -- Updated 1848 GMT (0248 HKT)
Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, leave hospital on December 6, 2012.
Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, leave hospital on December 6, 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William's baby is due in July, couple announce
  • Royals were forced to reveal pregnancy earlier than planned, because of Catherine's illness
  • Duchess has been suffering from acute morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum
  • She was hospitalized for several days in December

London (CNN) -- Britain's royal family are looking forward to a summer surprise: The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William's baby is due in July, the couple has announced.

"Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to confirm they are expecting a baby in July," St. James's Palace said in a statement Monday.

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The couple was forced to reveal Catherine's pregnancy earlier than planned last month when she was hospitalized for several days suffering from acute morning sickness, or hyperemesis gravidarum.

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News of the expected baby sent royal watchers and the UK media into a frenzy of speculation about due dates, whether the eagerly-awaited child is a boy or a girl, and what he or she will look like.

The duchess's illness has forced her to pull out of several public events in recent weeks, but she was at London's National Portrait Gallery on Friday for the unveiling of her first official portrait.

On Monday, St. James's Palace said "the duchess's condition continues to improve since her stay in hospital."

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