Get ready to bump up the volume
NEVER has a womb been so watched. Since Kate wed Wills, a large portion of the world's cameras - when not snapping her topless on a private holiday - have been trained on the Duchess of Cambridge's abdomen. An abdomen that has always been well dressed, and totally flat.
Until now. The duchess is between eight and 12 weeks' pregnant, the whole world has learnt.
The poor pair - Kate ill enough to be admitted to hospital with a form of morning sickness so rare it has a Latin name (Hyperemesis gravidarum), and Wills looking very worried when he left her bedside on Monday night - have been the focus of constant speculation since their honeymoon.
Like a gaggle of over-involved mothers-in-law, the world has been waiting. Kate made a toast with water, not wine, in Singapore in September. Significant looks were exchanged. She was photographed with her hands folded across her belly. The world's media nodded knowingly. When she unveiled a new hairstyle last week, it was noted as a ''sign''.
When the Queen became pregnant in 1948, a simple statement declared she would withdraw from public duties for a few months. Consequently, her royal highness doesn't seem to have been photographed much during the pregnancy. When Prince Charles was born in November, a notice was posted on the gates of Buckingham Palace and the BBC informed a patriotic nation of the news.
Kate's pregnancy went down a little more publicly. The news was released in a statement and tweeted. Immediately, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, tweeted his congratulations, sparking a social media frenzy. The hashtag #royalbaby was trending in minutes and someone started tweeting as the foetus itself.
The US President, Barack Obama, offered his congratulations via telephone and, importantly for the incipient royal baby's media profile, Kim Kardashian also congratulated the couple.
Speculation extended to the act of conception. Consensus landed on ''somewhere in the Pacific'' during the recent tour of the region.
Possibly even Tuvalu, which may be under water by the time the baby ascends to the throne.
There was even speculation that Kate may be carrying two heirs, as women who suffer Hyperemesis gravidarum are more likely to give birth to twins.
The royal baby - at present more of a royal zygote - will be a future sovereign whatever its sex. The laws of succession will soon be changed in Britain, with mirroring legislation across the Commonwealth countries, including ours.
Boy or girl, the cells that are dividing in that royal belly will one day be our monarch.