The Probability of Predictions: Will and Kate So Far

(Astrology Explored) As a front line fighter in the skeptic’s wars against superstition, the paranormal and the supernatural, Michael Shermer has a whole line of pat answers to why people believe in what he and his fellows believe irrational. In fact he wrote a book about it The Believing Brain in which he postulates that the brain constructs its own belief systems based on patterns and culture, essentially creating its own reality.

Being a man of science, Shermer believes that science holds the answers about what is real and what is not. Science being his guide he tells us that what we perceive is true is only dictated by our belief systems.

When Shermer speaks about astrologers, psychic and fortune tellers, people who he believes are either deluded or charlatans, he says, “The way it works, people, is that they remember the hits and forget the misses.”

But what happens when someone who is an astrologer starts lining up a series of successful predictions? Is it unlikely coincidence? When is a prediction, which in hindsight seems like a likely outcome, actually an unlikely outcome come true?

Skeptics like to accuse people who make predictions of revisionist history, as one skeptic did of my old Astrology blog. Fortunately to test a series of predictions, I have a set of mine that I can not edit, since it is an exclusive feature of on the site of a former employer, The Shoreline Times published on April 26, 2011.

The predictions are about the marriage of Will and Kate. Here are the predictions for 2011 and 2012.

2011: The couple is actively engaged in a round of public tours that are exhausting for both for them. The Queen is determined that this new marriage strengthens the image of the monarchy and the couple is pushed hard to do so.

Whoa Nelly, now wait a minute, don’t we expect that a royal couples make public tours?

Well, not actually. In the previous four royal couples, one of who was became monarch, none of them went on public tours during the first year of marriage. In the case of Charles and Diana, they went on their first public tour after William was born. Elizabeth and Phillip did not go on their tour until after her coronation and six years into her marriage. Her parents, George VI and his wife Elizabeth, didn’t go on a tour until 18 months into their marriage, and his parents, George V and May didn’t go on a tour until the seventh year of marriage. The family custom then is to let the newlyweds as far as possible settle into married royal life without the pressure of world tours. But in Will and Kate’s instance, not only did they made an 11 day tour of Canada and America within their first months of marriage, Buckingham palace announced an ambitious Asian tour for September of 2012. These tours outdo past performance any modern British newlywed royal couple. Based on royal past performance, it is unlikely that William and Kate would be making one, let alone two, tours within one year of marriage.

The British Publication,The Sun, commented on these tours several weeks after my published prediction:

And the emergence of the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as a star double act will take much pressure off the Queen, who turned 85 last month.

The Palace insists that Her Majesty has no plans to scale back her commitments.

But her grandson and his wife have agreed to free her from some of the burden of foreign travel.

Prediction 2012: Mercury moves into the 4th house indicating a new addition to the family. This announcement is made a couple weeks before their first anniversary.

When the timing of the announcement didn’t work out this prediction had me a little worried. What I looked at to make this prediction was the composite chart of the couple, which combines the charts of the of the couple into one. Mercury moving into the fourth house indicates to me that a birth was likely. However, the sticky part is that we do not have Kate’s birth time. In the UK, birth times are not recorded on birth certificates (except in the case of twins), though royals birth times. Without a birth time, it’s not possible to have the proper ascendant, mid-heaven and moon position, important markers to calculate timing. The cusps on the composite chart are not correct and the dating of the prediction could be off. Some astrologers would argue against my sloppy predictive technique, but you work with what you have.

But wait! The possibly of the Duchess of Cambridge getting pregnant in 2012 was even more remote than anyone imagined. According to media reports, Will and Kate supposedly waited to conceive until after the Queens Jubilee. This meant that Kate and Will were only “trying” for less than six months before announcing the pregnancy. Statistically at Kate’s age, her getting pregnant within 6 months of trying is 50/50. The prediction I made, with the extra stressors of public life trimming that prediction, timing or no, of Kate getting pregnant in 2012 was more farfetched than it would seem on its face.

Prediction: This is a difficult pregnancy for Kate—Kate was admitted to the hospital for extreme morning sickness and was kept in for three days. Her husband spoke of her morning sickness as “all day and all night” sickness. Her doctors diagnosed it as the serious condition hyperemesis gravidarum.

The percentage of pregnant women with hyperemesis gravidarum is only 1 to 2 percent while 25% of women experience a complication of pregnancy. Difficult pregnancies are less likely than normal ones.

Prediction: The first child is a boy. Another prediction, based on statistics, says otherwise. Sasha Miller from the motherhood advice website Babycentre says statistically, Kate’s baby will be a girl. We’ll find out in July.


It becomes more obvious that William is being groomed for the throne rather than his father.

The Queen sent Will and Kate (and to a lesser extent his brother) on extensive world tours centered on the Queen’s jubilee while Charles, the heir apparent did a brief three-day tour of Canada. One might argue that this is a debatable point and that the Prince of Wales carries a heavier public schedule.

While I predicted that Charles, now 64, will be king in 2015, it appears at least from the astrology that William will step up soon after. Again we will see what happens.

So far these predictions, what skeptics like Michael Shermer would term coincidences, have a very unlikely success rate. Coincidence? I think not.

Photo published under a Creative Commons license from user oxfordian as explained by flickr.

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