The royal family will be a little larger by December, Buckingham Palace said Monday, announcing that Prince Edward's 42-year-old wife, Sophie, is expecting the couple's second child.

Edward — the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II — and Sophie, who are the Earl and Countess of Wessex, are the parents of Lady Louise, who was born in November 2003.

"The earl and the countess are both thrilled and excited. The countess will continue with engagements as normal and take doctors' advice," a spokeswoman said. She spoke on condition of anonymity in line with palace policy.

A statement from Buckingham Palace said the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, "are delighted with the news." The baby will be their eighth grandchild.

When Edward and Sophie married in 1999, it was announced that their children would not bear the title of Royal Highness.