It's an incredibly exciting time for the Middleton family. On 22 April, it was revealed that Pippa Middleton is expecting her first baby with her husband James Matthews - just 24 hours before it was announced that Pippa's older sister, Kate Middleton, had gone into labour with her third child. It's thought that 34-year-old Pippa is around three months pregnant, meaning the two siblings enjoyed a joint pregnancy for some 12 weeks - no doubt stregthening their already-close relationship. For first-time mum-to-be Pippa, having Kate on the end of a phone to offer advice and guidance will have been invaluable. Kate had the experience of two previous pregnancies to fall back on, and was no doubt be able to share her knowledge with Pippa, both in terms of the build-up to the birth and the early days with a newborn.
Kate and sister Pippa Middleton have enjoyed a joint pregnancy for around three months
Furthermore, the siblings now only live a short distance apart. Following William and Kate's decision to make Kensington Palace their primary residence, Pippa's west London home is located just a few miles from her sister. Their proximity will have the added benefit of bringing their children closer together. Kate and Pippa's babies will be born just six months apart, and the two mums will no doubt frequently meet up with their little ones, while Prince George and Princess Charlotte will also be able to form a close relationship with their new baby cousin.
The two siblings have a very close relationship
Less than two years apart in age, Kate and Pippa have always been close. Pippa famously acted as maid of honour when her sibling tied the knot with Prince William in April 2011. And six years later, in a reversal of roles, Kate was on hand to support her sister when she married husband James Matthews. The Duchess was seen helping bride Pippa with her gown as she prepared to walk down the aisle; but her input extended far beyond that moment. Kate and Pippa had been putting their heads together to plan the society wedding in the months following James' proposal in July 2016. Furthermore, it emerged that Kate was also the artist behind the order of service, adding a personal touch to proceedings by hand drawing a beautiful and intricate drawing of St Mark’s Church.
Kate was on hand to help her sister at her May 2017 wedding to James Matthews
Pippa and Kate grew up as part of a close-knit family, along with their younger brother James Middleton. Their idyllic childhood included helping out parents Carole and Michael Middleton with the family business, and enjoying long walks in the countryside. The girls later attended the boarding school Marlborough College together, where they both played on the hockey team. Not much has changed since then; the Middletons still enjoy family holidays and Christmases together, while tennis fans Kate and Pippa have been pictured on a number of occasions at Wimbledon.
In a 2014 interview with Today's Matt Lauer, Pippa was asked if her sister's status had affected their relationship. "Not particularly," she replied. "I mean, obviously she has pressures that she's taken on and things. But we spend a lot of time together. We still do a lot together as a family. And I think that really the heart for all of us is having a really close family that we can sort of be normal with each other, treat each other normally. And that's sort of kept us all, you know, affixed to the ground."
Pippa famously acted as maid of honour at the royal wedding in 2011
Kate's family was also one of the many things that William fell in love with, and he spent a lot of time at the Middleton family home during weekends away from St Andrews University. Speaking in a joint interview with Kate following their engagement in 2012, he said of his future in-laws: "They have been really loving and caring and really fun, and have been really welcoming towards me, so I've felt really part of the family."