If Kate Has Twins, Which One Will Assume the Throne?

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Britons woke up yesterday morning to gleeful headlines declaring that the former Kate Middleton, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, is pregnant. It was, of course, something British tabloids already knew—every time the Duchess turned down a glass of wine in favor of water or happened to rest her hand on her stomach, she was instantly and obviously pregnant.

But this time around, she actually is. However, the happy couple was forced to explain to the salivating British press much earlier than they had wanted to after Kate, possibly between six and eight weeks pregnant, was rushed to hospital with severe morning sickness. And that’s got everyone speculating in a totally new direction—could she possibly be having twins?

The medical term for what Kate’s going through is “hyperemesis gravidarum,” and it's typically caused by an uptick in baby-growing hormones; it’s also more common among women who are pregnant with multiples. However, The Daily Mail, normally one of Britain’s most excitable tabloids, had to go and rain on everyone’s baby parade when it cautioned that only a “tiny excess” of women who deal with the condition actually go on to have multiples. (So maybe hold off on buying those “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” onesies.)

But it could still happen—and in the event that Kate does have twins, or even triplets, who gets to ascend the throne? According to Josh Voorhies at Slate, “it'll be a flat-out race down the royal birth canal”—meaning that whoever gets born first gets the crown. Voorhies also highlighted that under Britain’s new succession laws, it doesn’t matter if the firstborn is a boy or a girl; British Commonwealth leaders agreed in 2011 that males and females have equal rights to the throne.

But there’s another wrinkle! According to Britain’s NHS, just about half of the twins and nearly all of the triplets born in the UK were delivered via caesarian section—so the future King or Queen of England could actually come down to doctor’s choice.