Kate Middleton, the wife of Prince William, will give birth to her first child in July, Britain's royal household said Monday.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge "are delighted to confirm they are expecting a baby in July," St. James's Palace said in a short statement.

Regardless of its sex, the child will be third in line to the British throne.

The statement from the palace came amid rumors that Kate, 31, could be expecting twins.

"(T)he duchess's condition continues to improve" since her hospitalization last month for severe morning sickness, the palace said.

The announcement of the duchess's pregnancy came early due to her health problems, which have cut back on her public appearances and will continue to do so until she gives birth.

The first grandchild of Prince Charles and the third great-grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II will someday be called to occupy the throne, regardless of whether the royal is a man or a woman.

Next week the House of Commons will debate the change of legislation that will give royal daughters and sons the same chances to become monarch.

A law passed in 1701 established the primacy of the male in the line of succession, which did not impede two queens, Victoria and Elizabeth II, from reigning longer than anyone else in the history of the British monarchy.

The new baby will replace its uncle, Prince Harry, as third in the line of succession, after its 65-year-old grandfather and its father. EFE