The 29-year-old was seen patting or holding her stomach at least a dozen times during a two-hour visit to an aid centre in Copenhagen.
Kate has already sparked pregnancy rumours by declining to eat peanut paste on her trip – as expectant mothers are advised not to eat peanuts in case it triggers an allergy in their child.
Kate was seen shooting Prince William a knowing look and grinning as she turned down the paste, intended for children hit by the East African famine. An aide confirmed: ‘There was no reason for her not tasting it, she does not have an allergy.’
The Duchess’s choice of outfit also contributed to talk that she might be hiding a baby bump. Her claret coat from High Street store LK Bennett seemed a size too large for her and bunched at the back.
Reed-thin in an elegant red coat and high-heeled boots, Kate was on her first humanitarian overseas trip with Prince William on Wednesday when she was offered the paste.
She politely declined and watched her husband as he ate the sample, a staple of UNICEF packages handed out in areas suffering from famine.
The Danish Crown Prince Frederik and his wife Mary also ate the paste.
Doctors recommend pregnant women avoid peanuts and peanut by products while expecting in order to prevent the development of allergies in their babies-to-be.
‘It was very odd,’ remarked one onlooker. ‘Kate would not stop touching her tummy – it was very noticeable. She continually patted it and held her hands against it. She must have been doing it without realising, and at one point she had both her hands cradling her stomach.
Her coat was also rather large. It looked loose below her waist, so she might well have been trying to hide something.’
Sources close to Kate say that she is ‘keen’ to start a family, but a spokesman said: ‘We would not confirm or deny any pregnancy rumors.’
Last month, Commonwealth leaders agreed to reform the succession laws so William and Kate’s first born will be monarch, even if the child is a girl
WHY PREGNANT WOMEN AVOID EATING PEANUTS
Since the 1990s, women have been advised to avoid eating peanuts during pregnancy and while breast-feeding if they or the father had a family history of allergic conditions.
Parents have also been recommended not to give peanuts to children until they are at least three years old to avoid sensitization.
The advice had been in place since 1998 and was partly blamed for the rise of ‘nut hysteria’, with parents and children becoming increasingly anxious about exposure to peanuts.
But in 2008 the Food Safety Agency said it would no longer back the advice because ‘current evidence’ does not support it.
Instead, the FSA said those at higher risk should not change their diets while emphasising that this is not a green light for peanuts to be included in meals for young children and pregnant women.
The change, which was officially adopted by government in 2009, came amid a growing change of view among scientists, medics and policy-makers, who believe avoiding peanuts in early life may be making the problem worse.
In the past 20 years the number of British children with a peanut allergy has nearly doubled, with one in 55 being diagnosed with it.
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