Of the millions of people who are excited about the Duchess of Cambridge‘s pregnancy, few are as proud as the 2,000 residents of Bucklebury, the small English village where she grew up simply as Kate Middleton.
“Tons of people walked in here last night, and we cracked open a few bottles of champagne. We had a bit of a party, that’s for sure,” John Haley, the landlord of The Old Boot Inn, tells PEOPLE.
That the West Berkshire village’s most famous daughter is expecting a baby who could one day be king or queen is amazing enough. But the townspeople are also thrilled for the family on a personal level.
“Everyone in the area is really happy about the news and really pleased for Kate and William,” said Haley, who was a guest at the couple’s wedding.
“She will be a great mother,” he said. “She is very caring and an absolute natural with children. It’s great for her parents, too. It is their first grandchild, and they will love it to death.”
“It is such a shame that she is in hospital with morning sickness. That’s horrible,” said Bucklebury resident Wynne Frankum.
“When the baby’s born I’m sure there will be a few toasts raised in the local pubs,” she added. “The whole village will want to celebrate once it safely arrives.”
Another resident, Colin Morris, predicted a party atmosphere at the regularly scheduled village meeting this Thursday at The Bladebone Inn. “I have absolutely no doubt that there will be a huge number of glasses raised to the good health of Kate and William and their future son or daughter,” he said.
“How can you be anything else other than pleased? They are such a lovely couple, and such a lovely family as well.”
Meanwhile in London, many of William and Kate’s closest friends and loved ones – including his cousins Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie – were on hand to hear the young voices of the African Children’s Choir at a holiday concert at Chelsea’s St. Luke’s Church. The musical performance included a very fitting tune for the day the royal couple made their thrilling announcement: “Oh Happy Day.”
Guests at the annual event, which benefits the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund (of which William and brother are patrons), were buzzing about the happy news that Kate is expecting.
“William will be the most wonderful father,” one friend said.
For much more on the royal pregnancy, including the couple’s plans for a nanny, baby names and royal maternity fashions through the years, pick up this week’s PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
• Reporting by PHIL BOUCHER and SIMON PERRY