It's official - Royal Wombwatch is ON. As Kate and Wills prepared to tie the knot in April, I predicted that it wouldn't be long before the speculation over their potential offspring began. And I was right.
This week, the media rumour-mill has gone into overdrive - becoming the journalistic equivalent of the annoying relatives who drop pointed little hints and quiz you about the 'pitter-patter of tiny feet' every time they see you and your partner. And it's all thanks to just four little words uttered by Kate as she chatted with a well-wisher while visiting Quebec on Saturday.
British ex-pat David Cheater wished the Duchess well in her efforts to start a family - and Kate replied, not as you might think from all the fuss being made about it, with "Yes, we're trying already!" but with "Yes, I hope to."
And just like that, the press and the blogs have gone for it with gusto:
“Kate Middleton & Prince William’s Baby Plans – Kate’s Ready To Be A Mom!”
All off the back of "Yes, I hope to," which is the sort of thing you might say when you plan to have a baby some day, in a few years' time, or, yes, soon. But it's hardly an admission of broodiness - and it's not as if it hasn't been mentioned before. While being interviewed around the time of their engagement, William stated that they both wanted children.
But now Kate has officially been classified as 'broody', the media will be watching her clothing choices, her waistline and her activities in a more obsessive way than ever, much in the same way that they hover like vultures over Jennifer Aniston, waiting for the merest signs pointing to babies or marriage.
If broody's the same as 'I hope to have children one day' then I'm sure many of you are now looking at your opinions about starting a family in a different light. Go forth and start charting your body temperature, ladies!
Getting in on the action, The Telegraph obliged with a nice run-down of some the royal women who have gone before Kate, detailing how long it took them to produce the heir after they'd got the ring on. Princess Diana gave birth to William 11 months after her marriage, whereas the Queen waited just short of a year before popping out Charles, don't you know. Of course no-one would dare to suggest that the couple should be getting a move-on, but in these Kate-obsessed times it would seem like the thing they should be seeing to next.
Otherwise I'm not sure if I can take much more of this overblown analysis of the couple's every move, typified by this month's tour of Canada. The eight-day visit has been chronicled with daily picture roundups and dissection of everything from Wills and Kate's body language and jokes to their clothing choices.
They take cookery classes! They compete in dragon boat races! They do a whole lot of walking about and smiling! And Kate looks radiant in a succession of "classic yet contemporary" outfits, destined to sell out the minute the papers reveal she's bought her dress from Reiss or Whistles.
I'm not sure whether the nation's women believe that by owning the Shola dress or the Natalie clutch, they'll exude a little bit of Kate-style poise and elegance, but the instant rush on items she wears is being touted as 'The Kate Effect' and it's currently big news. At the weekend I turned on the television to find Kate's hats and shoes being discussed at length on BBC News.
I have to say I'm hoping that the frenzy around the tour of Canada is more because it's their first tour as a married couple than anything else. That or the papers have realised that they can't create news based around who Pippa Middleton may or may not be dating every single day.
For now, I await with dread the first time Kate wears a flowing top or slouches slightly and the gossip pages explode with 'COULD THIS BE A BUMP?!' I'm sure she's thinking the same thing and I hope she can rise above it.
At the moment it's looking like her life is a choice between being tediously portrayed as either a Womb or a Fashion Plate (not forgetting, of course, her lovely glossy hair). So much for 'a very modern marriage', as far as the media is concerned. Times may have moved on - and I'm sure they have for Wills and Kate behind closed doors, but for the press it's still all about clothes and motherhood.