Kate Middleton is turning 31, and in addition to what are sure to be sparkly and expensive gifts from her hubby Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge received an extra-special present from Queen Elizabeth.
The queen issued Letters Patent stating that any child of William and Kate, boy or girl, will be styled His or Her Royal Highness. Boiled down: If Kate has a girl, she'll be a princess!
The proclamation issued by the queen reads, "The Queen has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 31 December 2012 to declare that all the children of the eldest son of The Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title and attribute of Royal Highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honour."
The decision was issued through the House of Lords in December but was only made public today.
The decision changes a 1917 decree that only the children of the sovereign, the sovereign's sons and the eldest son of the Prince of Wales were given the title, although the sovereign could choose to bestow such a title him- or herself. Now it will be automatic, and both males and females will benefit.
The move comes on the heels of the Succession to the Crown Bill ending the system of male primogeniture and allowing any firstborn child of Will and Kate to become heir to the throne, male or female.
Palace sources said Kate celebrated her special day privately at home with William. There is no official word on how far along Kate may be in her pregnancy, but she is thought to now be past the crucial 12-week mark.
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