KATE Middleton is expected to take time off from her royal duties until Christmas after being discharged from hospital today.
The Duchess of Cambridge, who spent three nights in the King Edward VII Hospital in London being treated for severe pregnancy sickness, has cancelled two engagements this weekend and is unlikely to be well enough to attend a third next week.
She has been told to rest at Kensington Palace for at least a week, meaning she is unlikely to be seen in public again until the Royal family’s traditional Christmas Day church attendance at Sandringham.
The Duchess, 30, smiled broadly as she left hospital at 10.45am holding a bouquet of yellow roses given to her by hospital staff, saying she was feeling “much better, thank you” as she got into a waiting Jaguar with her husband.
A St James’s Palace spokesman said: “The Duchess of Cambridge has been discharged from the King Edward VII Hospital and will now head to Kensington Palace for a period of rest.??
“Their Royal Highnesses would like to thank the staff at the hospital for the care and treatment The Duchess has received.”
The Duchess, who missed a planned engagement at a fundraising day in the City on Wednesday, has already pulled out of attending a ball in aid of the homelessness charity Centrepoint at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday night and an appearance at the British Military Tournament at Earl’s Court on Sunday, though the Duke of Cambridge plans to attend both events alone.
The couple had also been due to attend the Royal Film Performance of The Hobbit in Leicester Square next Wednesday, but aides said the Duchess’s presence was now “doubtful” adding that she would be “governed by medical advice”.
With maternity experts suggesting she will need to take at least two weeks off work, it now seems inevitable that the Duchess will not be seen again before Christmas.
The Duchess of Cambridge is accompanied by her husband Prince William as she leaves the King Edward VII hospital in London (Paul Grover)
The Duchess’s condition also means she and the Duke will be separated for days at a time over the coming weeks, with the Duke due back on shift with his Search and Rescue squadron at RAF Valley, Anglesey.
The Duke cannot afford to take any more unscheduled time off, as he would be in danger of dropping below the minimum required flying hours for the year, having already taken time off for the Olympics and the couple’s tour of the Far East.
The Duchess will remain in London, within easy reach of her doctors, until she is fully recovered, and may also spend time with her parents in Berkshire, but is unlikely to risk returning to the couple’s isolated home on Anglesey until she is completely over her sickness, which could take weeks or even months.
The Duchess’s condition, hyperemesis gravidarum, usually clears up by the time a woman is three months pregnant, but can carry on until full term and sometimes needs further spells in hospital.
The Duchess has not yet reached the 12-week stage of her pregnancy, though St James’s Palace has not disclosed how far through her pregnancy she is.
Caitlin Dean, a trustee of the charity Pregnancy Sickness Support, who suffered from the same condition, said: “She will need people to look after her, literally bring food to her and quickly. If she wants a piece of toast or an apple, it needs to come straight away before a bout of nausea sets in.
“Hyperemesis can be quite cyclical. She will be feeling quite good now because she's hydrated, but she needs to keep taking fluids or that cycle can start again, taking sips of water frequently or any other liquid she can tolerate.”
Bookies have now taken tens of thousands of bets on the royal baby’s sex, name, weight, hair colour, and the possibility of twins or triplets.
Victoria is now the clear favourite, at 9-1 with Coral, followed by Diana and George at 12-1 and John and Elizabeth at 16-1.