04/12/2012 05:14 GMT | Updated 04/12/2012 05:17 GMT

Kate Middleton Pregnant: Smiles Of Duke And Duchess Hid Royal Baby Secret (PICTURES)

The Duchess of Cambridge has showed some stamina which would make many women in the early stages of pregnancy green with envy - and we're not talking about morning sickness.

She and Prince Williams have beamed through royal appointments, from Cambridge to Newcastle, delivering speeches, playing hockey and cuddling children, with Kate looking picture-perfect despite almost certainly overcome by waves of early pregnancy nausea everytime a perfumed dignitary drew closer.

If the couple were anxious, they didn't show it. In fact, pictures from recent weeks show they could not keep the smiles from their faces.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge speak with children from Nauti Primary School during a visit to Tuvalu

Royal experts have claimed the Duchess is just eight weeks pregnant.

The couple took a break from public engagements after returning from their manic tour of the Far East, which was marred by the publication of topless photos by a French gossip magazine, taken of the Duchess as she sunbathed in a French chateau.

Pregnancy rumours were already swirling, via a poorly photoshopped American magazine, Star, which reported the Duchess drank only water all evening at a reception in Singapore, and was pregnant with twins.


The magazine photshopped a pregnant-looking Kate

In the photoshopped picture, Kate had a swollen stomach, was missing her right-hand ring and a much smaller section of her left forearm was visible.

Their first public engagement was the historic Honourable Society of the Middle Temple where they were introduced to recipients of 'Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Scholarships'.


Kate at the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple

In a modest burgundy suit, Kate looked happy and relaxed since her return home.

The couple headed north for the start of a four-day UK tour which will took in Burton-On-Trent, Newcastle and Stockton-On-Tees.


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Steven Gerrard during the official launch of The Football Association's National Football Centre

With Kate bundled up against the cold, but still with a wide smile on her face, the couple visited the FA's £105m St George's Park, near Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, before opening the facility.

But Kate was left alone in Newcastle, making a solo appearance as Prince attended the funeral of Olga Powell, nanny to William and Harry when they were younger.

The couple were back in London for a rare night out at the exclusive LouLou private member's club in Mayfair, with Kate leaving the club late at night, looking the picture of dignity, next to slightly more wobbly sister Pippa, perhaps having skipped the cocktails.

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Kate at the Natural History museum

Beaming from ear-to-ear, and unveiling a new fringe reminiscent of Charlie's Angels, a definitely pregnant Kate headed to the Natural History museum, where she was given a preview of the Treasures gallery.

But the secret was still safe with the couple, although the hum of speculation rose to a roar as the couple headed to Cambridge for a visit to the town which gave them their titles.



'I'll keep that': Prince William was given a baby-gro during a visit to Cambridge

Prince William sparked royal baby rumours in Cambridge after accepting a romper suit from a well-wisher, telling her "I'll keep that."

The Duke of Cambridge was in the city with his wife Kate when he was presented with the gift by Samantha Hill.

The handmade baby-gro featured a helicopter and the words "Daddy's little co-pilot" - a reference to the Prince's career as a search and rescue captain.

It prompted Coral to suspend betting on the existence of a Royal zygote. A Coral spokesman told ITV: "We saw numerous bets for a royal new arrival throughout the Jubilee summer, and the betting went through the roof again this week when Prince William accepted a babygro while on a tour of Cambridge.

"We cut the odds to 1-4 and then again to 1-8, at which point we decided to suspend the betting. If the money talks, 2013 will see a new addition to the royal family."


Hockey in high heels: Kate at her old prep school, St Andrews

It was business as usual for Kate, who headed to her old prep school to play hockey in high heels, and even more impressive feat in retrospect.

But the best laid plans for a special announcement, rumoured to be planned for Christmas Day, were laid to ruin. First, it was the insistence of schoolfriend Jessica Hay that the duchess was "100% pregnant" to an Australian magazine.

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Prince William leaves the King Edward VII hospital where his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted with a severe form of morning sickness

And then the couple were forced to make the announcement early as the Duchess was admitted to hospital with hyperemesis gravidarum.

Here's hoping the smiles are back on their faces soon.