An heir and two spares… why big is beautiful for William and Kate as third baby is on the way

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It is another milestone moment for the young family who are the future of the House of Windsor.

Just as they have relocated to Kensington Palace — back from their Norfolk base Anmer Hall in Sandringham — the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have announced they are expecting their third child.

It comes at a time of great change for the family, with Prince William quitting his job as an air ambulance pilot to fill his role as a full-time royal.

As second in line to the throne, and after the retirement of his grandfather Prince Philip, he will be expected to support his grandmother the Queen.

His brother Prince Harry, who also lives in Kensington Palace, and Kate’s family will be close at hand to support them.

Everyone will be thrilled at the news, which will certainly give the country a much-needed lift.

Of course, for the Duchess of Cambridge, who suffered severe morning sickness with her previous two pregnancies, this will be a difficult time. Sources say Kate is now set to limit her public appearances until she gets over this difficult stage. Planned official trips abroad this autumn will probably be put on hold. 

Prince Harry responds to the royal baby news

But these are decisions for a later date. Each case will be looked at individually.

During their engagement interview in 2010 William and Kate said they wanted a large family.

Kate, the eldest of three, said she loved family life at home with her brother James and sister Pippa. The Middleton siblings have maintained that bond into adulthood.

There are practical reasons for royals to have more than one child — the phrase “an heir and a spare” is famous for a reason. 

For William and Kate, the decision to have another baby is more personal. 

For both parents, their family and especially siblings have played important roles in tricky times. William and Harry depended upon each other through their parents’ scandals and divorce as well as the death of their mother, Diana. When Kate was pursued by the paparazzi while dating William, Pippa and James were by her side. 

Those close relationships are something they want George and Charlotte to have.

Even if the child is a boy, it will not impact on his place in the succession to the Crown, due to the changes in the law of primogeniture.

The Prince of Wales is first in line, followed by William, Prince George and the couple’s daughter Princess Charlotte, who is two. That will remain the order. In the past, a second male child would have leapfrogged Charlotte in the succession.

The Cambridges have recently announced that their main base will no longer be Anmer Hall, but Kensington Palace.

Security for his wife and young family will be paramount for William. Kensington Palace, with its police office and security cordon, is a totally safe environment. Kate’s mother, Carole Middleton, is expected to play an important role supporting her eldest daughter. Kate spent long periods at her parents’ family home in Berkshire while pregnant with her previous children. But with George now going to school Carole is expected to spend more time at Kensington Palace.

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