LET THE NEW ROYAL BABY HYSTERIA COMMENCE: Everything You Need to Know

Alert, alert! The spare has been deployed! Kensington Palace says that yes, Kate Middleton is officially pregnant with her second child. And lo, a thousand celebrity news editors and designers of high-end baby clothes offered their thanks unto the heavens. Here's everything we know.

The Washington Post reports that the announcement came this morning. Kate's not quite 12 weeks along yet, but they were forced to release the news early yet again, because she's suffering from another bout of Hyperemesis Gravidarum. You'll rarely catch me expressing deep, sincere sympathy for a public figure sitting so pretty (she can pay people for that), but you've got to feel bad for the woman. She must be absolutely miserable. She's being treated privately at the palace, but it's not looking great for her upcoming public engagements. And in fact, she was due to leave for Malta, on her first solo state trip, in just a couple of weeks. Sorry, Malta! Can you make do with, uh (rifles through sack of royals) Prince Andrew? No? What if we put him in a very lovely wig?

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Bookies are already taking bets on the kid's name. Elizabeth and Henry are leading contenders, but I'm personally pulling for Victoria (nickname Vicky, of course):

This means the tabs can stop speculating about Kate's F E U D with the Queen and everyone can return to producing fine royal-baby-related content, such as:

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But the big question is: How will this effect the upcoming referendum to determine whether Scotland goes its own way? Is a royal baby enough for Scots to ignore hundreds of years of history and jettison their bid to break away? Could this in fact be a canny trick by the Windsors? Does Bitsy have it in her? The Telegraph speculates:

Frankly, magic is just what the campaign for the Union has lacked. That's made the referendum an unequal fight, because the nationalist-led case for independence has emotion, myth and magic to spare. Alex Salmond is succeeding in part because he's telling a stirring story of Scotland as a better country alone. The No campaign has failed to counter that with its own story of shared history. A Royal baby is part of that story, and – if Prince George is any guide – a damned cute part at that.

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If Scotland votes no because of a royal baby I think William Wallace will rise from his grave to haunt the Highlands for all eternity.

The announcement sends Prince Harry sliding even further down the line of succession. Bright side: One step closer to marrying whoever he wants. SUCH AS AN AMERICAN. And Harry's pleased as punch by this development; the last thing that ginger hellion wants is any sort of political responsibility, even if it's almost wholly symbolic. Via the Daily Mail:

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He's probably just pleased the tabs have something new to focus on, besides his love life.

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We've got a long wait ahead of us; in the meantime let's all pretend this is Prince George's reaction to the news he'll be required to share the spotlight:

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Photos via Getty.

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