Kate Middleton Debuts Royal Baby Bump (and Awesome Maternity Dress)

Meet the royal baby bump. On Tuesday morning, the Duchess of Cambridge was glowing and showing as she made her first official appearance in months. Despite the intense scrutiny surrounding her pregnancy, the pregnant Kate Middleton was all smiles during her visit to Hope House, a woman’s rehab center in London. The appearance is her first official engagement since her hospitalization in late December for acute morning sickness.

Kate Middleton Pregnant Bikini Photos Published by Tabloid, Royal Family Fumes

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. The Telegraph called the dress "unseasonably flimsy," but that probably won't stop moms-to-be from hunting down knock-offs. A spokesperson from the designer told Hello! Magazine that sales go “through the roof” whenever Kate wears the brand.

A swarm of photographers waited eagerly for Kate’s arrival, hoping to capture the first official evidence of the world's most famous 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 she 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?'" She also talked candidly with Natalie, another Hope House resident in recovery, about her early pregnancy struggles. "She was saying she had been unwell but is feeling better now," Natalie, the mother of a two-year-old daughter, told the Telegraph. "We were all talking about children."

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 benefits 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 because of severe morning sickness. 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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Kate Middleton’s Pregnancy Whistleblower: Who is She?
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