Six months pregnant and feeling her baby kick ("very much so"), Princess Kate is basking in pre-baby bliss. From her posh pals dishing advice to her reserved spot in London's most exclusive maternity wing, this week's issue of PEOPLE magazine features new photos and new details of the Pregnant Princess Diaries and how Kate is prepping for her special delivery. From shopping to cravings and choosing baby names: PEOPLE has all the inside scoop on the Royal Baby countdown.
Princess Kate cheerfully models a "Baby on board!" button for the Queen while visiting the London tube ("I'll make sure I wear this at home," joked Kate), exchanges loving glances with Will while comforting the bereaved, rhapsodizes about cupcakes in a class full of school kids – those storied second-trimester hormones must be kicking in. As Kate's plans for baby kick into high gear (she's shopping for her nursery in Kensington Palace with a move-in date set for early fall), the ever more radiant princess, 31, "feels she's thriving," says family friend Julia Samuel. Founder of the charity Child Bereavement UK, Samuel spent time with Kate and Will there on March 19. "It was like they showered starlight on everybody," she says, "because everybody who met them was left with a glow."
Busy Schedule: After lying low while battling morning sickness early on, Kate now seems to be everywhere, from going green with the Irish Guards for St. Patrick's Day to campfire cooking with Scouts. All signs point to her working as long as she can and even taking on new charities – "meaty projects," a Palace source tells PEOPLE, "that Kate wants to be involved with."
Carb Crazy!: While her beloved soy lattes are now decaf, Kate has indulged cravings both savory (cheddar crackers) and sweet (lavender biscuits) and even snacked on sugary twists with the Scouts on March 22. In a Grimsby cooking class, she asked about cupcakes but had to settle for a frosted cookie – in the shape of a crown, of course.
Pampering Prince: Can he get any more charming? William, who braced his bride when she caught her shoe at a St. Patrick's Day outing, "really supports the duchess," says Samuel. Right down to sympathy cravings: Handed Easter chocolates on March 19, Kate promised to share but joked, "I will make sure William doesn't eat it all himself!"
Name that Baby: Diana and Elizabeth (Kate's middle name and that of a certain granny monarch) are favorites of oddsmakers. For a boy, the money is on George, for Will's paternal great-grandfather. A Palace source insists the couple aren't boxed in – "There are so many names" – but Irish Guardsman Lee Wheeler, who met Kate on March 17, knows posterity's pull: "I said, 'I suppose you have to stick to traditional names.'" Kate changed the subject.
The complete Pregnant Princess Diaries are featured in the 4/8/13 issue of PEOPLE, which hits newsstands (and tablets) on Friday, March 29.
*Also In This Week's PEOPLE*
People Exclusive: Marie Osmond On Losing Her 18-Year-Old Son: "I'm Healing Every Day"
Christina Aguilera's New Look: How She Lost The Weight
Kim Kardashian On Temptation: "You Have To Nurture Your Relationship"
People Exclusive: Newswomen Jenna Wolfe & Stephanie Gosk Are In Love And Having A Baby
Also this week...
'People' Country Special - Exclusive: Blake Shelton Responds To Tabloid Attacks
PEOPLE Country sits down with multifaceted star, Blake Shelton, who tells all and reveals his many sides. With a wicked sense of humor, an equally white-hot wife in Miranda Lambert and a career that boasts 13 No. 1s, a megahit TV show and three nods at this year's Academy of Country Music Awards, the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year has risen to mainstream celebrity status as he releases his 10th studio album, Based on a True Story.
Earlier this year, comments he made in a GAC interview – dismissing those who complain modern country music isn't country enough as "old farts" – set off a firestorm among some of Nashville's old guard. The singer found himself on the defensive, with some critics even questioning the legitimacy of his 2010 Opry induction. "When that blew up, I called my manager, and he said, 'Everybody pulls for you as long as you're two steps behind, but the second you're on top of that mountain, they're trying to knock you back down,'" he says. "I did feel like the last three or four years people were pulling for me, and the last six months, people are pushing. I just feel more like a target now. I'm not whining about it, but it does make you feel like every time you open your mouth, you can't be honest anymore."
Even more upsetting to the singer, however, has been seeing his marriage become the stuff of tabloid fodder. With magazines and websites speculating on everything from whether a baby is on the way to claims of infidelity, "I'm just now learning to deal with the lies and with the fact that if you're in the public eye, people are going to take shots at you," says Shelton. For the record, he says, he and Miranda are doing just fine. "I do think I've got a better handle on marriage now," Shelton says. "Until I'm dead, I know I'm going to be learning how to approach our marriage as an open-minded listener. When you're dating, it seems like things never get to the real boiling point. There's always that thing in the back of your mind going, 'She can leave.' But when you're married, you're stuck together. And it's important to work things out all the way through, not just put a Band-Aid on it."
As the couple approach their second anniversary in May, Shelton admits he has begun thinking about having children. "That seems to be the next thing that happens," he says. "And somehow from being on The Voice, I keep hearing about this persona of me as this father-guardian type figure." Both Lambert and Shelton have insisted that the only babies they're interested in raising at the moment are of the canine variety, "but I do think if and when it happens, I'll be pretty happy about it," Shelton says. For now, though, it's all about Miranda and the music. "There will be a time – and I look forward to it – when this slows down and I'm not going to be the guy anymore."
As an Okie whose idea of a good time is spending the morning clearing brush from his Tishomingo farm and the afternoon tending to a burn pile (vodka and Sprite Zero in hand), Shelton still has a hard time believing his own hype. "I spent so many years wishing for these opportunities, you'll never see me running out of a restaurant with my sunglasses and a hoodie on 'cause I don't want to be noticed," he says. "I just don't take myself that seriously."
Interview and photos of Blake Shelton appear in the April 2013 issue of 'PEOPLE' Country, on newsstands nationwide now.
*Also In The April 2013 Issue Of People Country*
Miranda Lambert Whips Up Ice Cream Floats At Her "Pink Pistol" Retro Soda Shop
Baby Photos! Jake Owen Shows Off New Baby Olive Pearl
Engaged! Inside Brantley Gilbert's Romantic Proposal To Jana Kramer
Tim Mcgraw: "I Find Myself Walking Through The House And Singing 'This Girl Is On Fiiirrreee!'"
Free Sizzling Spring Playlist On iTunes – Go To People.Com/Free For Free Downloads