Princess Diana's Delighted: Come September Another Babe Will Be Playing at the Palace

updated 02/27/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/27/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

Perhaps it was hindsight, but palace-watchers in Great Britain were saying that Diana, Princess of Wales, 22, had looked happier and healthier than ever in the weeks before the Valentine's eve announcement that September would bring a sibling for Prince William. In any case, she was said to be positively glowing after the news was made public. "She looks quite terrific," bubbled Di's father, Earl Spencer. Father-in-law Philip reacted with more royal restraint: "We are all very pleased. She is well."

According to Spencer, the royal couple "doesn't mind if the baby is a boy or a girl." But Britain's oddsmakers were quick to lay stakes on the sex of the new heir. One offered 4-5 odds on a girl, even money on a boy and 50-1 against twins, which run in Diana's family. (Her aunt, Lady Anne, has a twin son and daughter, and her grandmother and great-grandmother were twins.) Elizabeth is the 7-4 favorite for a girl's name; George, the 2-1 favorite for a boy. When the royal couple's first child was born, William was a 10-11 betting choice. Sex aside, the baby will become third in line for the throne (although a girl would have to yield her place to any future brothers).

The expectant princess had returned from a 20-hour jaunt to Norway just before the announcement was made. A patron of the London City Ballet, she had taken on her second solo foreign engagement to attend the company's performance of Carmen at the new Koncerthause in Oslo. Hundreds waited in subzero temperatures for hours on Saturday to witness her arrival at the ballet, to which she wore a red lace gown that had made its debut during last year's Canadian visit. After a trip backstage, she joined 140 people at the British ambassador's residence for a buffet, where, said one member of the diplomatic staff, "She never gave a hint of her pregnancy—but then it's not the sort of thing you would expect her to say."

Typically, royal second-borns enjoy a freedom that their elder siblings never know. Although Baby No. 2 won't be in danger of being forgotten, William—the boy who will be king—will always be in the spotlight, with the pressures that entails.

So far, there is no indication that the princess suffers from the morning sickness that wracked her in the early months of her previous pregnancy. She is in "excellent health," says a palace spokesman, and expects to fulfill official engagements until the birth draws nearer.

The palace has pronounced it "much too early" to determine where the baby will be born, but Diana—who is said to have been upset by the commotion outside the hospital when William arrived—is thought to favor a delivery at home in Kensington Palace, while her gynecologist George Pinker (who has delivered eight royals) prefers the safety of St. Mary's Hospital, where he already has booked a suite for late September. Pinker prevailed when he and Diana had the same face-off before William's birth, so she may have to confront the madding crowds once again when her prince—or princess—debuts.

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