LONDON—Citizens from Northumberland to Hampshire are buzzing with excitement as Queen Elizabeth II, 82, formally announced that she is expecting the arrival of another baby, just 532 months after giving birth to Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
The British monarch and her consort, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 87, confirmed rumors Tuesday that the queen recently entered her second trimester, and that a little Baron or Baroness of Renfrew is on the way. England's royal couple, who were married in 1947, said they were "absolutely delighted" to be having their first child in more than four decades.
"I'm so thrilled to be pregnant again," said Queen Elizabeth II, who gave birth to her first son shortly after Great Britain granted India its independence. "Prince Philip and I have wanted this for many, many years. The entire United Kingdom has been blessed by this tiny little miracle."
The queen, modeling her maternity robe of state and pulling it tightly around her waist to show off the slight bulge of the fetus growing inside her, claimed that she initially wore loose- fitting ceremonial gowns to hide her expanding belly and swollen breasts from the public.
This past weekend, Queen Elizabeth invited her four middle-aged children to Windsor Castle to privately inform them that they were going to have a younger brother or sister. The glowing octogenarian, whose eyes sparkled through her cataracts, said she repeatedly assured her 59-year-old son, Prince Charles, that he was still special and that the baby would not replace him as the heir apparent to the crown.
Her Majesty then met with her eight grandchildren and explained that she would need them to be extra-helpful around the palace when their little aunt or uncle was born.
"The looks on their faces when I told them I could feel the baby kicking were simply priceless," said the radiant queen, who reportedly invited her grandchildren to feel her stomach. All politely declined.
In preparation for the new addition to the royal family, Queen Elizabeth has instructed her staff to convert the State Room of Buckingham Palace into a nursery, retrieved her old breast pump from the basement of Windsor Castle, and assembled a baby throne. The queen also located an old journal containing a list of her favorite baby names, which she wrote down just six weeks before Britain entered World War II.
"I believe if I have a girl, I shall give her a pretty name such as Amberjill, Erline, or Cleva," Queen Elizabeth said. "However, if it is a boy, he will be both child of and father to all Britons and therefore will need a dignified name such as Blaxton, Dalbert, Arkwright, or Egerton."
Although nearly half a century has passed since the queen gave birth to her youngest son, she has insisted that she will raise her new baby using traditional child-rearing methods, including breastfeeding and administering a daily decoction of sarsaparilla for whooping cough. Immediately after birth, the newborn will be expected to oversee the counties of Cornwall and Wiltshire, as well as appoint the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
Many British elite, including Margaret Thatcher and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, offered their congratulations to the queen, saying they were "extremely happy" and "somewhat surprised" to hear the news. Some citizens could barely put their excitement into words.
"Oh my God," Manchester native Dominick Martin said. "When did this happen?"
While no announcements have been made regarding a baby shower, the queen will travel to each of her realms outside the United Kingdom over the next two months to allow her subjects a chance to celebrate her unborn child with colorful floats and processions. Upon returning home, Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to tour the English countryside, host a concert in which guitarist Brian May plays "Rock-A-Bye Baby" on the roof of Buckingham Palace, and suffer a massive stroke.
In other royal news, recently hired Windsor Castle gardener Diego Marquez, 24, was unexpectedly elevated to Duke of Leinster during a private ceremony Monday.