Duchess Catherine had two secret meetings with an antenatal guru to prepare for the birth of her first child.

The British royal - who was known as Kate Middleton before her marriage to Prince William - visited obstetric physiotherapist Christine Hill to get some practical advice on childbirth.

Christine told the Daily Telegraph: ''She is a delightful girl. What you see is what you get.

''My philosophy has always been that no one prepares you for the true ghastliness of birth. There's a sort of whimsical attitude that it will all be lovely and that everyone can have a natural birth. But that's not true. I want my mothers to be prepared and well-informed. Then they can make the best decisions without fear.''

Meanwhile, it has been reported that the royal family have a strict plan in place for when the baby arrives.

A source said: ''[The palace staff is] on call every day and night in July for this. There is nothing left to prepare or plan for.''

With the birth imminent, even Britain's reining monarch Queen Elizabeth is becoming anxious.

Asked if she would prefer a boy or a girl, she recently said: ''I don't think I mind but I would very much like it to arrive because I'm going on holiday soon. ''