Prince Harry has always been something of a rebellious royal. And in his marriage to Meghan Markle, it appears he’s found his perfect match. Indeed, since joining the British monarchy, the former actress has helped modernize her new family. And now, as the due date for the couple’s first child arrives, they look set to break from tradition again.
Even before Harry met Meghan, he made no secret of the fact that he wanted to become a father. In fact, even as far back as 2012 the young royal opened up about his thoughts on being a dad. He told ABC News, “I’ve longed for kids since I was very, very young. I’m waiting to find the right person and someone who’s willing to take on the job.”
Harry met Meghan in July 2016 and soon enough it seemed likely that the ringing of wedding bells would be shortly followed by the pitter patter of tiny feet. However, when asked about whether he wanted to be a dad in the near future during a BBC interview, Harry was unusually coy.
Revealing whether he and Meghan were thinking about having children, Harry told the BBC’s Mishal Husain in November 2017, “Not, not currently no.” However, he did repeat his desire to have kids one day, adding, “I think, you know, one step at a time, and hopefully we’ll start a family in the near future.”
But before having kids, Harry and Meghan had to tie the knot. And they did so in lavish fashion, marrying at Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel in May 2018. And hundreds of millions of people worldwide were estimated to have watched the ceremony, which cost nearly $42 million.
Meanwhile, following their nuptials, Harry and Meghan did not jet straight off on their honeymoon. Instead, they threw themselves into their royal engagements. And in October 2018 the couple went on an official tour of Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji. The trip was timed with the fourth Invictus Games – a sporting event Harry founded in 2014 for injured veterans – which was being held in Sydney, Australia.
However, by the time Harry and Meghan had arrived in Australia, speculation was building that they were finally expecting. Indeed, the rumor mill was set into motion after the Duchess of Sussex wore a loose-fitting blue coat to Princess Eugenie’s wedding in Windsor in October 2018. And when Meghan once again hid her stomach – this time using some folders – when she arrived in Sydney a few days later, many became sure that she was expecting.
Indeed, the public didn’t have to wait long to have their theories confirmed. And in October 2019 a post on the Kensington Palace Twitter account said that Meghan was indeed pregnant. It read, “Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the spring of 2019.”
And from that moment on, all eyes were on Meghan in the hopes of spotting any tiny sign of her pregnancy. Photographers were eager to snap the first hint of her baby bump, and the world got its first glimpse when the royal couple arrived in Fiji in late October. During the visit, Meghan was seen cradling her belly, dressed in a beautiful “Fijian Blue” gown.
Meanwhile, even at this early stage, Harry and Meghan were clearly smitten with their unborn child. The Duchess was regularly seen caressing her bump, and the Duke was praised for supporting his wife by toasting with water, rather than a glass of fizz, at a fancy Fijian dinner.
After they came back to the U.K. from their royal tour, Meghan’s changing figure was seen during her visits to a number of events, including Remembrance Sunday and the Royal Variety Performance. But it wasn’t until November 2018 that the Duchess’ bump really came into its own. And by Christmas Day it was plain to see, as the former actress dressed head-to-toe in clothes designed by Victoria Beckham to attend mass with the rest of the royals.
Then in January 2019 Meghan gave some fans an inside scoop on her due date. During a visit to the town of Birkenhead, she revealed she was now six months pregnant to some well-wishers. This means the baby is likely due in April or May, although no official specific due date has been announced.
Meanwhile, as 2019 progressed, Meghan carried on going to functions with her husband, Harry. However, in February she jetted off to New York City where her friends threw her an extravagant baby shower, which cost an incredible $430,000. And that wasn’t the only traveling that the Duchess did that month.
Indeed, shortly after Meghan’s trip to New York, she joined Harry on what was assumed to be their final overseas trip before the birth of their child. And during their visit to Morocco, the Duchess embraced local tradition by receiving a good-luck henna tattoo. Samira Ouaadit, who did the design, told the Daily Express in February 2018, “We do it for major celebrations like getting married or having a baby.”
Then, a few weeks after her Moroccan trip, Meghan made what was believed to be her final public appearance before giving birth. For it, they visited Canada House, before going to a service for Commonwealth Day at Westminster Abbey in London. And after the event, Kensington Palace revealed that Meghan had no other scheduled appearances in her diary.
The break from public work came shortly after Meghan told Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns, “We’re nearly there,” when asked about her pregnancy. As such, it seemed likely that her maternity leave had now begun. However, even during this downtime, rumors about the Duchess’ pregnancy and impending birth continued to circulate.
Indeed, one area of interest was Meghan’s birthing plan. That’s because it reportedly differs from those of Kate Middleton in a number of ways. For one, it’s not believed that the Duchess of Sussex will give birth at the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London, where Kate had her three children delivered.
In fact, it’s not just Kate who’s opted to use the Lindo Wing for her births. Indeed, a number of women in the royal family have had their babies at the private clinic, such as Princesses Diana and Anne. But the clinic is near Kensington Palace in London, a relative distance away from Meghan’s new home in Windsor.
Instead, it’s believed that Meghan may deliver at Frimley Park Hospital, which is a National Health Service-ran clinic near home in Frogmore Cottage, Windsor. And the facility is known to the royals, because it’s also where Sophie, Countess of Wessex had her two children.
And while Frimley Park may be a public hospital, it’s not without its luxuries. Indeed, it has 12 labor rooms, with the Mulberry Suite being the most opulent. It offers six comfy rooms, one of which houses a birthing pool, and there are also double beds and mood lighting.
Moreover, other moms have praised the facilities at Frimley Park. In April 2019 Jessica Moore told Hello! magazine, “The food is, for hospital food, fantastic. It’s really good, healthy food and cooked fresh. You can have vegan burgers if you so wish. It’s maybe even been modeled on expensive, private suites because it does look very luxurious. It’s like a home-from-home, it’s perfect. If I had a choice I wouldn’t give birth anywhere else.”
It’s believed that if Meghan does choose Frimley Park to have her baby, she may take advantage of the Mulberry Suite birthing pool. That’s because there are rumors that the Duchess wants to deliver via a water birth, according to The Express. However, others believe that she could even give birth at home in Frogmore Cottage, the paper added.
While it may be rare for members of the royal family nowadays, home births were once a common practice for them. Indeed, even Queen Elizabeth II was born at her parents’ London home, while Prince Charles arrived in Buckingham Palace. Victoria Arbiter, royal commentator for CNN, told Time magazine in April 2019, “Royal women for centuries had their babies at home.”
But wherever Meghan gives birth, it’s been rumored that she has picked a team of female-led doctors to assist her. Indeed, the Daily Mail reported in April 2019 that the Duchess doesn’t want her baby to be delivered by “men in suits.” And she reportedly turned down the Queen’s hand-picked gynaecologists, who have helped with other royal babies in the past.
Meanwhile, as Meghan’s due date neared, the couple made it clear that they would not elaborate on their birthing plans before their child arrived. Indeed, Buckingham Palace said in a statement that they’d “keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private.” It added, “The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family.”
Therefore, it’s unlikely that Meghan will pose outside the hospital with her baby, like royals in the past have. Indeed, royal photographer Tim Rooke told Cosmopolitan in April 2019, “I don’t think we’re going to see it at all. I think it’s going to be private.”
Tim had photographed all three of William and Kate’s children outside of the Lindo Wing, but said he’s received no information on Meghan’s birthing plans. He added, “At this point with Kate’s babies, we’d been briefed by the Palace, but we’ve had no briefings whatsoever.”
Indeed, Rooke believes that Harry and Meghan will announce the birth of their child through their new Instagram account. He told Cosmopolitan, “If they want to keep it private… they’ll just issue a picture and put it on Instagram.”
Meanwhile, it appears Harry and Meghan don’t intend to follow royal tradition after the child’s birth either. For one, the pair are allegedly planning to forgo a “team of nannies” in favor of a more hands-on approach, New! magazine reported in March 2019. The Duchess is also said to want to show solidarity with normal moms, who can’t afford such help.
It was previously reported that Harry and Meghan might employ the same nanny George and Amal Clooney used. But a source told New! magazine, “[Meghan’s] determined not to do things the conventional way. Meghan’s already told Palace chiefs that she and Harry want to be hands-on parents.”
“She doesn’t want a team of nannies, which is unheard of for a new mum in the royal household,” the source added. “Meghan feels she wants to show other women out there that she’s independent and strong and can relate to new moms who don’t have the luxury of having a lot of extra help.”
Instead, The Sun has claimed that Meghan will lean on her mother Doria Ragland during her first months as a mom. According to the paper, she will fly to the U.K. to be at her daughter’s side for the birth, and will be close by to help the royal couple with their newborn.
And if Doria does decide to stay with her daughter, she’ll certainly feel at home at Frogmore Cottage. The yoga teacher might get practice in Harry and Meghan’s brand-new studio, with its state-of-the-art “floating” floor. It’s believed the couple had the room installed for private mother-and-baby yoga sessions for the Duchess and her newborn.
Indeed, as a long-time yoga fan, Meghan has showed no signs that she’ll stop doing it. In fact, according to The Sun, she has kept up her routine in preparation for the birth. And she’s allegedly encouraged Prince Harry to take up the pastime as well.
Meanwhile, a source revealed Harry’s newfound love of yoga to the Daily Mail in April 2019. They said, “It has brought calmness to his life. Meghan has kept up her own routine during her pregnancy and many experts say gentle stretching is highly beneficial for babies too. The new Prince or Princess will be the first royal baby to be skilled in yoga.”
In the past, Meghan has reportedly referred to herself as a “hippie chick.” So it may come as no surprise that the Duchess is turning to holistic methods like yoga to help her through the pregnancy. In addition, reports claim that she’ll be forgoing pain relief, in favor of a natural birth.
A source told New! magazine, “Meghan is determined it will be a totally natural experience and she’s insisting absolutely no pain relief. She’s practising a series of yoga labor coping techniques that mainly focus around breathing patterns and also chanting in rhythm to overcome pain.”
Indeed, it seems that, when it comes to Meghan’s child, natural is best. And according to Woman’s Day, a source revealed that Meghan wants her child to be brought up vegan. Indeed, the Duchess had told Best Health magazine in the past that she’d ditched meat and dairy during the week.
Perhaps in a nod to their new lifestyle choices, Harry and Meghan opted to use vegan paint to decorate their baby’s genderless nursery. And given they don’t know if they’re having a son or a daughter, they chose a neutral color palette. However, breaking from tradition, Harry let slip that he was hoping for a girl, Marie Claire reported.
In reality, none of us know what life will be like for Harry and Meghan’s baby until they are born. And even then, if they keep the same level of privacy they’ve had during their pregnancy, their child might be somewhat of a mystery for some time yet. However, one thing is almost certain – if they’re anything like their mom and dad, they won’t be a conventional royal.