The glowing days before royal baby news

Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, played hockey during her visit to St Andrew's School.Photo / AP
Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, played hockey during her visit to St Andrew's School.Photo / AP

What a picture of health the Duchess of Cambridge looked as she enjoyed an energetic game of hockey at her old prep school only five days ago.

Nimble, athletic and beaming, she dashed about unhindered by her unusual choice of footwear - a pair of high-heeled boots. And her face? Positively glowing, you might say.

Many onlookers were struck by that glorious blush, with her cheeks looking a touch rosier and rounder than we have perhaps become accustomed to seeing.

Tongues were inevitably set wagging that a happy announcement was in the offing. Now, of course, we know her glow may not have just been down to physically exerting herself on the turf at St Andrew's school near Pangbourne, Berkshire.

Although some consider the 'glow' an old wives' tale, increased blood flow during pregnancy can cause expectant mothers' faces to shine, giving them that healthy aura which is often a tell-tale sign of the impending pitter-patter of tiny feet.

Last night, confined to hospital with acute morning sickness, Kate doubtless cut a very different figure.

But what a week it had been for the 30-year-old duchess, full of trips down memory lane to her own happy childhood, coy looks and baby-related coincidences.

It started with a head-turning new haircut with a heavy parted fringe and more layers through her glossy mane. Looking coy, she sometimes appeared to be hiding behind it as she visited the Natural History Museum in London. If it was designed to divert attention from her 'glow' it worked - for a while anyway. Then came the first joint visit by Kate and William to their namesake city Cambridge, where the duke, who is an RAF search and rescue pilot, was presented with a Babygro romper suit.

Emblazoned with a picture of a helicopter and the words 'Daddy's little co-pilot', it was made in an act of remarkable prescience and given to him with, as it turns out, extraordinarily good timing, by new mother Samantha Hill, 27, who had taken her four-week-old daughter Beth to see the royal couple.

Hill said: "I made it for when his little one comes along. He's a helicopter pilot so his baby will think his daddy is cool. When I gave it to him he said, 'I'll keep that' and handed it to his aide."

The baby theme continued in Cambridge when Kate met another mother, Tessa Davies, 35, who had given her son, James, the middle name William in honour of the duke.

Then came Kate's visit to St Andrew's, where she was a star pupil from the age of four to 13, excelling at hockey and setting a 1.5m record in the high jump that remains unbeaten.

As well as officially opening the school's astroturf pitch, she reminisced about the fun she had there as a little girl - and even revealed a hitherto unknown nickname, Squeak. St Andrew's had two guinea pigs called Pip and Squeak, and when Kate and her sister Pippa started there they soon acquired the nicknames.

Her grandmother-in-law recently gave her view on motherhood too.

"Yes, that's the only job that matters," the Queen told Kate Winslet, who had told her that she loves her job as an actress but loves being a mother even more, as she received a CBE for services to drama.

- DAILY MAIL

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