TORONTO - Four simple words reportedly uttered by Prince William's wife Kate have sparked a firestorm of breathless speculation by international media and gossip rags alike that the royal couple are planning on starting a family — or that they may have begun already.
It was a seemingly innocuous response to a bit of chit-chat with a fan, but it has nevertheless generated scores of headlines proclaiming the Duchess of Cambridge a "mummy in waiting."
David Cheater, a British ex-pat now living in Quebec, met Kate during a walkabout and her comments to him, as reported by the Daily Telegraph newspaper, formed the basis for a story about Kate's desire to have children.
"When Mr. Cheater wished the Duchess well in her efforts to start a family, she thanked him saying: 'Yes, I hope to,'" the Telegraph reported.
It wasn't long before entertainment blogs, celebrity gossip magazines and many other media outlets seized on the pleasantry as an opportunity to ruminate about royal reproduction.
"I'm a mummy in waiting, admits Kate as she gets broody over baby on Canada tour," the Daily Mail proclaimed.
The article went on to say it was "the first time Kate has spoken publicly about having children," although the public-private nature of the comments could certainly be the subject of debate.
Few women's wombs are subject to such intense public speculation as those of royals — excepting, of course, Hollywood royalty. With baby-bump watch such familiar territory for the celebrity-centric media, they pounced, too. Us magazine and People joined the fray to pronounce Kate as having babies on the brain.
A CBS report even offered insight on when royal conception could take place, suggesting it may have already happened, talking about "romantic" private time William and Kate spent together at "Lake Harrington." The prime minister's official retreat — actually named Harrington Lake — was where the royal couple spent some time away from the cameras on Friday.
CBS News royal contributor Victoria Arbiter cited "cheeky" reports that "if there's a baby nine months from now, the headlines are going to read 'Made in Canada,'" though it's not clear where those reports originated.
Other outlets offered insights into the newest member of the Royal Family's supposed baby-crazy mindset.
"Broody Miss Middleton just couldn't help speaking of hopes to start a family one day — the greatest indication yet a tiny new royal could soon be on the way," reported Marie Claire's U.K. website.
ABC News contributor expressed both "surprise" at Kate's apparent remark and certainty that baby will soon make three.
"For Kate to give such an intimate aspiration is very special," said Katie Nicholl. "You look at the two of them. It's the chemistry, the love between them. It won't be long before they will."
Many media pointed to recent royal history as evidence William and Kate won't delay parenthood too long.
William was born about 11 months after his parents Prince Charles and Diana were married. The Queen gave birth to Charles just six days shy of her one-year wedding anniversary with Prince Philip.
William and Kate — also known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — were married April 29.
As Kate is not making any public remarks on the nine-day trip to Canada, her every movement is being closely scrutinized, which is reminiscent of her late-mother-in-law. When Diana toured Canada with Prince Charles in 1983 she didn't make any speeches either, prompting the British media to analyze her gestures and walkabout conversations.