If you guessed a liking for beribboned hats, wrong…but good try!
In fact, Kate Middleton and Charlotte Bronte both suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, the Latin name for intense morning sickness. Caused by heightened sensitivity to the hormone hCG, the condition affects an estimated 2% of all pregnant women. When it occurs, as in Charlotte’s case, it can be deadly. A victim of incessant vomiting and constant nausea, the Jane Eyre author died in 1855, whilst 4 months pregnant. A friend reported, “A wren would have starved on what she ate the last six weeks.” Ultimately it was not starvation but extreme dehydration to which Charlotte succumbed; incidentally, she is the only Bronte sibling to NOT die of tuberculosis.
Kate has been luckier (in a lot of ways!). Born into an age where fluids can be administered via IV drips and where anti-nausea medication is readily available, she will live to see the christening of her second child, Princess Charlotte (named for Prince Charles, NOT Bronte). She was also born into relative affluence, with an ambitious mother, a trust fund and naturally bouncy hair. As we all know, she is married to William, one of the most eligible men in the world. Charlotte wed her father’s curate, Arthur Bell Nicholls, an obscure and poverty-stricken Irishman, over the vehement objections of papa Patrick, who was convinced Arthur was not good enough for her. By all accounts their brief marriage was a happy one–though in true Bronte fashion, even joy led to death. In Kate’s case it will most probably yield a fancy new christening outfit complete with fascinator, a ton of fan letters, and in time, yet another rosy baby.
Upon reflection, she and Charlotte B. don’t have that much in common after all…