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The perfect end to Jubilee year

News that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a baby marks the perfect way to round off the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year.

With the monarch having celebrated her historic 60 years on the throne, the fact that she now has a new great-grandchild on the way will ensure 2012 is even more poignant for her.

The baby will be of immense importance to the future of the monarchy - William and Kate's baby will eventually be king or queen.

The news echoes back to the Silver Jubilee of 1977 when the Queen learned that her first grandchild was on its way.

The Princess Royal's pregnancy was described at the time by the Palace as the best Jubilee present of all and Peter Phillips was born in the November of 1977.

The Cambridges' baby will be the Queen's third great grandchild. Her first Savannah was born to Peter and his wife Autumn in 2010.

Peter and Autumn had their own Jubilee baby Isla Elizabeth in March 2012 - her second name seemingly a touching tribute to her famous great-grandmother.

The hope and joy generated by William and Kate's baby and the Diamond Jubilee, coupled with the Royal Wedding in 2011, signifies a markedly different period for the Royal Family compared with two decades ago.

Kate's pregnancy announcement and the Jubilee come 20 years on from the Queen's "annus horribilis" year of 1992 when the Prince and Princess of Wales were at war, the Duke and Duchess of York had separated and Windsor Castle went up in flames.

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