Duchess Kate stays home from wedding for baby fears

10:07 PM, Jun 21, 2013   |    comments
(Photo: Chris Jackson AFP/Getty Images)
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By Maria Puente, USA TODAY

Duchess Kate's baby is not supposed to be born until mid-July, or maybe even later, but she's concerned enough about an unexpected early arrival that she's not going to a close friend's wedding this weekend, British media reported Friday.

Prince William, who turned 31 Friday but celebrated in private, will be going alone to the wedding, where he will be best man for his longtime pal, Thomas Van Straubenzee, 30.

Van Straubenzee is marrying Lady Melissa Percy, 26, a daughter of the Duke of Northumberland, at her family's estate, Alnwick Castle, better known as the stand-in for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies.

The castle is about 300 miles away from London, in northeast England. There is at least a slim risk she could go into labor during the trip up there, so Kate, disappointed, opted to stay home, anonymous palace sources told The Sun.

Prince Harry, also a longtime friend of Van Straubenzee, will be at the wedding, too, as will his former girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, a bridesmaid, and his current beau, Cressida Bonas.

Kate's sister, Pippa Middleton, also is a friend of the Northumberland Percys: She pals around with the duke's son and heir, Earl George Percy, and attended the wedding of his other sister at the castle in 2011, the same year of the royal wedding of Will and Kate.

The due date of the Cambridge baby, a future monarch third-in-line to the throne, has been a topic of much discussion and little enlightenment. It might be July 13, it might be July 3 - both dates have been bandied about. At one point, the media reported that Kate's mother, Carole Middleton, told a friend the baby would be born a Leo, which would put the birth in the later half of July.

And besides, babies often do not cooperate with due-date predictions.

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