THE MOST widely anticipated pregnancy since one of those MTV teen moms got knocked up is official: Prince William's wife, the duchess of Cambridge (a/k/a Kate Middleton), is pregnant.

St. James's Palace announced the pregnancy Monday, saying that Kate has hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness, and was in a London hospital. William was at his wife's side.

News of the pregnancy drew congratulations from across the world, with the hashtag "royalbaby" trending globally on Twitter.

We're sure the palace will be delighted that another heir to the throne is trending.

The couple's first child will be third in line to set up house in Buckingham Palace - leapfrogging Prince Harry, so if you thought he was a wild man before . . . watch out.

The palace would not say how far along Kate is, only that she has not yet reached the 12-week mark. (So don't tell anyone. Bad luck.)

Palace officials said Kate needed to be hospitalized because her morning sickness is so severe, she can't keep down any food or liquid. She is currently seeing subjects on the porcelain throne.

Officials said she was expected to remain hospitalized for several days and would require a period of rest afterward.

"It's not unusual for pregnant women to get morning sickness, but when it gets to the point where you're dehydrated, losing weight or vomiting so much you begin to build up [toxic] products in your blood, that's a concern," said Dr. Kecia Gaither, director of maternal fetal medicine at Brookdale University and Medical Center in New York.

The condition is thought to affect about one in 50 pregnant women, but Gaither said less than 1 percent of women with the condition need to be hospitalized.

"We're riding on a royal high at the moment at the end of the Diamond Jubilee year," Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said. "People enjoyed the royal romance last year and now there's this. It's just a good news story amid all the doom and gloom."

The palace said the royal family was "delighted" by the news.

Thanks to new rules agreed to last year, "This is the first child who will be an heir to the throne whatever sex they are," said Ingrid Seward, editor in chief of Majesty magazine. "It's a new beginning."

Meanwhile, Graham Smith of anti-monarchy group Republic called Kate's pregnancy a "private, personal matter" for her and William, saying the flood of media coverage was disproportionate.

"We've heard today that our future head of state is on the way. It's a pretty bizarre way of choosing someone for public office," he said.

Not if you're a Bush or Kennedy.


Lindsay Lohan's bank

accounts have again been seized by the IRS to help pay off her massive tax bill.

Does she think 1099 is some kinky sex position?

* "Rise of the Guardians,"

"Wreck-It Ralph," "Brave" and "Frankenweenie" are among the nominees for best animated feature at the 40th annual Annie Awards.

Other best-picture nominees announced Monday are "ParaNorman," "Hotel Transylvania," "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" and "The Rabbi's Cat."

The Annie Awards recognize animated productions in 30 categories and will be presented Feb. 2 at University of California, Los Angeles' Royce Hall.

* The BBC is turning J.K.

Rowling's first novel for adults into a television drama.

The Casual Vacancy is a darkly humorous saga of modern British life in which a local council election unleashes rivalries and resentments in a small town.

The BBC said Monday that the adaptation is due to air in 2014.

* In the umpteenth auction of

Michael Jackson memorabilia, costumes worn by the late King of Pop commanded hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction.

Lady Gaga tweeted Sunday that she bought 55 pieces in the sale administered by Julien's Auctions.

Auctioneer Darren Julien said

the jacket Jackson wore during his "Bad" tour fetched $240,000. Two of his crystal-encrusted gloves sold for more than $100,000 each, as did other jackets and performance costumes.

The auction raised more than $5 million. Some proceeds benefited Guide Dogs of America and Nathan Adelson Hospice of Las Vegas.

* "Zero Dark Thirty," director

Kathryn Bigelow's chronicle of the decadelong search for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, was named best film of the year on Monday by the New York Film Critics Circle.

Bigelow also won best director for the picture, her first film since the 2009 Iraq war drama, "The Hurt Locker."

"Zero Dark Thirty" is set to open in theaters on Dec. 19.

Ashton Kutcher as Apple

co-founder Steve Jobs and Allentown native Amanda Seyfried as porn star Linda Lovelace are among the highlights at January's Sundance Film Festival.

Sundance runs Jan. 17-27 in Park City, Utah.

* London's Daily Mail reports

that sixth-degree-of-separation-famous Rob Kardashian has broken up with she-was-just-using-him-to-get-her-name-out-there singer Rita Ora.

Rob tweeted: "How can a woman who is so busy trying to start her own career have time to be with so many dudes all while in a relationship?"

Then he tweeted: "She cheated on me with nearly 20 dudes while we were together . . . "

Hey, they liked Ora sex.

- Daily News wire services

contributed to this report.