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Kate on the cover of this week's Star

That Kate Middleton is not pregnant is probably not likely to strike anyone as major news.

Except, perhaps, The Star.

The American tabloid weekly reported — no, trumpeted — its exclusive story that the Duchess of Cambridge was expecting not just one child but twins. Under a box stating “The Official Announcement,” the magazine’s headline blared, “Kate Pregnant with TWINS! A boy and a girl.”

The royal family is “abuzz with word that the first-ever royal twins are on the way!” claimed the Star. “Doctors confirmed the exciting baby news exactly 100 days after the April 29 royal wedding,” the weekly wrote, citing “sources.” But according to the tabloid, “William and Kate want to keep the news secret until she is at least through her first trimester.”

Other gossip magazines quickly reported denials of the news from Buckingham Palace. US Weekly wrote that the “couple’s rep” said: “Suffice to say that were it true, it would be us that announces it, not a gossip magazine.” We’re assuming that the rep means the Buckingham Palace “us” and not the magazine US, but the quote probably made some editors there smile.

It’s not the first time the Star has reported pregnancy rumors about Kate — and it probably won’t be the last. Such rumors sell magazines and attract attention. Even more respectable outlets, like The Royal Insider, for example, get a story or two out of it. And even if it’s totally made up, it has a chance, like that famous stopped clock, of being correct at some point in time.

In other royal related news:

• Britain’s tabloid cheekiness continues. We reported the other day on some of what Zara Phillips told the Tatler in its October issue. Among other topics, she addressed the insatiable hunger for interest in royal procreation (see the story above) by saying that she and her husband, soccer star Mike Tindall, are concentrating on their careers and not thinking of having kids right now. The Huffington Post pointed out that although Zara, the thirteenth in line for the throne, has no royal title herself, The Tatler gave her one, on its front cover: “Zara! Is she the only RILF? (That’s R for Royal).” HuffPo asks: “We wonder what Mr. Tindall thinks about that.”

• Queen Elizabeth sailed into Liverpool today. That’s Queen Elizabeth, the Cunard luxury liner, who made her first voyage to the port city. Named by the Queen herself last October, the 90,000-ton ship, which is on a cruise around Britain, sailed down the River Mercy into Liverpool’s harbor and was greeted by early morning crowds on the waterfront who watched the ship execute a perfect U-turn before docking. (via The Liverpool Echo)

By the way, if you’d like to look at a BBC newsreel of a young Princess Elizabeth visiting the city of Liverpool in 1949, click here.

• By November, two enormous hydro-electric turbines will supplying electricity to Windsor Castle, part of the monarchy’s continued attempts to support green energy. The turbines, which use water currents to generate electic power, will be put in place in the nearby Thames. The head of the power company supplying the generators says he’s “over the moon” about supplying renewable energy to the royal family. (via The Telegraph)

• It’s still weeks before Prince Harry will head to the U.S. for his helicopter training, but already curiosity is building about his anticipated 48-hour visit to Las Vegas. “It’s traditional that guys on his course, which is split between California and Arizona, have a break in Vegas at the halfway point,” said a “military source” quoted by The Mirror. “The course doesn’t have much downtime – it’s pretty intense. This is a chance for pilots to let their hair down, kick back and enjoy themselves.”

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By Paul Hechinger