LONDON -- Princess Diana, the former kindergarten teacher who married Prince Charles in a glittering ceremony in July, is expecting a baby this June, Buckingham Palace said Thursday.
'The queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are absolutely delighted, as are members of the princess' family,' said the statement which added that the baby will be second in line to the throne. Charles is first in line.
'She will make a wonderful mother,' said Diana's father, Earl Spencer. His mother-in-law, romantic novelist Barbara Cartland, said she hoped it would be a boy but 'I am sure it will be a beautiful and intelligent child. If two people marry for love it will be a wonderful child.'
The palace said Diana, 20, who worked as a kindergarten teacher before her wedding, is in good health. Although it did not say so, Diana will certainly cancel 1982 trips to Australia, New Zealand and Canada with Charles, which were intended to show the future queen to the Commonwealth and the world.
British bookmakers set the odds on a baby prince or princess within minutes of the announcement. At the William Hill chain, the odds were 10-11 for a boy, even for a girl and 50-1 for twins. The Corals organization offered 4-5 on a boy, evens on a girl and 125-1 on twins.
Prince Charles displayed keen interest when he visited a maternity ward in a hospital in Wales last week. He told one mother: 'I think it's a very good thing for husbands to be with mothers when they're having their babies,' leading to speculation he might be present at the birth of his own child.
Within minutes of the announcement, the switchboard at the palace was jammed and telegrams of congratulation began flowing in.
As the news spread, police hastily erected crowd barriers at London's ancient Guildhall, where the couple was attending a luncheon with the Lord Mayor.
As the crowd buzzed with excitement outside, father-to-be Charles in an luncheon address, recalled standing at a window of Buckingham Palace on his wedding day July 29, listening to the cheering crowds 'so I would someday be able to tell my children about it.
'And this, I will now be able to do,' said the 32-year-old Prince of Wales.
He went on to speak of 'the extraordinary effect my dear wife had on the people' during the three-day tour of Wales Oct. 27 that ended their long honeymoon. The couple was greeted with cheers everywhere they went in the principality.
This produced loud applause while Diana, wearing a maroon dress, blushed and bowed her head.
In the official announcement, Buckingham Palace said the new baby will be titled Prince or Princess (Christian name) of Wales but did not say where the child would be born.
Buckingham Palace, however, has a hospital room and one could easily be arranged at Highgrove, the country home 113 miles west of London that Charles bought for his bride.
The child will be the eighth royal baby delivered by royal gynecologist George Pinker.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Robert Runcie, who married the couple in what he described in St. Paul's Cathedral as a 'fairy tale' said in Brussels: 'I am delighted. Millions who were thrilled by the royal wedding now have something more to celebrate. Our love surrounds the Prince and Princess of Wales and we share their joy.'