Kate Middletons Baby Bump Makes Its First Official Appearance

Kate Middleton at Hope House on Tuesday morning. (Photo: Getty Images)Despite the intense scrutiny surrounding her pregnancy, the Duchess of Cambridge was sporting a big smile as she made her first official visit to Hope House, a woman’s rehab center in London on Tuesday morning. The appearance is her first official engagement since her hospitalization in late December for acute morning sickness.

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Kate looked happy and healthy as she talked with Hope House employees outside the facility. She was wearing a Max Mara Studio wrap-dress which she reportedly purchased at the discount website Matchers for $229, marked down from about $462. A spokesperson from the designer told Hello! Magazine that whenever Kate wears the brand, sales go “through the roof.”

A swarm of photographers waited eagerly for Kate’s arrival, hoping to capture the first official evidence of the royal baby bump. Last week, despite protest from the royal family, an Italian tabloid published images of Kate in a bikini on vacation with William in the Caribbean.

Inside Hope House, Kate discussed her pregnancy with two women in an art therapy class. Lisa, a mother of three, told US Weekly that asked the Duchess if she was nervous about giving birth. "She said, 'It would be unnatural if I wasn't. It's just human, isn't it?'"
Kate is about four months pregnant—she and William, the Duke of Cambridge, expect a baby in July. Their child, no matter its gender, is third in line to the throne behind Prince Charles and the Duke of Cambridge.

As part of her official duties, Kate serves as patron to the royal family’s “Action on Addiction,” a series of projects to help those who struggle with addiction. Hope House is one of the organizations that benefit from the program. Tuesday marked Kate’s second visit to the house since her marriage in April 2011.

The Duchess is restarting her schedule of public appearances after she was forced to cut back after her hospitalization. The British public is eager to keep an eye on Kate and her growing bump, but so far only one other public appearance has been announced. On March 5 she’ll travel to the National Fishing Heritage Center on the northeast coast of England where she will meet the town’s first responders and open a new school.

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