THE Duchess of Cambridge left hospital today saying she was feeling “much better” after three days of treatment for a severe form of morning sickness.
Kate emerged from the central London private hospital that has been providing expert care looking relaxed and with William by her side.
The Duchess was admitted on Monday after developing a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum, which leaves expectant mothers so ill they cannot keep food or liquids down.
But she looked well and even smiled briefly as she posed with the Duke on the steps of the King Edward VII hospital for the world’s media.
When a member of the press asked how she was feeling, the Duchess, wrapped up against the cold in a coat and scarf and carrying a bouquet of yellow flowers, replied: “Much better.”
The Prince of Wales said today he was “thrilled” that the Duchess was pregnant, adding: “It’s a very nice thought to become a grandfather in my old age.”
Kate, who is less than 12 weeks pregnant, will now have a period of rest at her home at Kensington Palace, said St James’s Palace.
The Duchess’s attendance at two royal engagements this weekend - a Centrepoint Royal Albert Hall fundraiser and the British Military Tournament - has already been cancelled.
And it is likely her public diary will be tailored to how she is coping with the illness that causes prolonged bouts of vomiting triggered by smells and even movement.
A spokeswoman for Pregnancy Sickness Support, a charity that helps women with Kate’s condition, said rest would be important for the Duchess and the Duke’s support was also crucial.
Caitlin Dean, who suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum during three pregnancies and is a trustee of the charity, said: “She will need people to look after her, literally bring food to her and quickly. If she wants a piece of toast or an apple, it needs to come straight away before a bout of nausea sets in.”
Mrs Dean added: “Hyperemesis gravidarum can be quite cyclical. She will be feeling quite good now because she’s hydrated, but she needs to keep taking fluids or that cycle can start again, taking sips of water frequently or any other liquid she can tolerate.”
She said William’s support would also be important: “The emotional side is going to be really tough on her. It’s just so unrelenting. You wake up thinking you’ve got a whole day to get through and this lasts for months.
“William is going to be really key. My husband was my rock and, as hard as it was, it brought us closer together.”
The Duke is an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot based at RAF Valley on Anglesey and is likely to get time off to help care for his wife but will have to return to work at some stage.
The Duchess’s mother and sister could step in to provide support for Kate when her husband is away.
Her discharge comes the day after it emerged two Australian radio DJs impersonated the Queen and the Prince of Wales to dupe hospital staff into giving a condition update on the Duchess on Tuesday.
The 2Day FM presenters, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, apologised for their actions, as did their radio station.
But Christian has been promoting their stunt on Twitter, telling followers in a tweet: “Still haven’t heard the #RoyalPrank that has the world talking? Listen to it here...”
According to reports, the Australian Communications and Media Authority has received complaints about the prank call, but said they should first be made to the licensee.
The presenters, from 2Day FM, remarked during their show how their efforts were the “easiest prank call ever made”, as they put on mock British accents they later described as “terrible”.
John Lofthouse, chief executive of the private Edward VII Hospital, said he regretted the breach, but condemned the call as “journalistic trickery”.
He said: “I think this whole thing is pretty deplorable. Our nurses are caring, professional people trained to look after patients, not to cope with journalistic trickery of this sort.”
He said there was no chance the Duchess could have received the call, adding: “Technically I think this was a breach of patient confidentiality, which I very much regret. Having said that, the information which was inadvertently revealed is already in the public domain.”