All parents know that the weeks leading up to the birth of a child are an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least. No doubt Prince Harry and Meghan Markle can attest to this, too, with their first baby due to come along in the spring of 2019. But add to that the constant rumors and eager fans trying to uncover every detail about the new arrival, and you can imagine that it’s a pretty stressful time. Plus, it seems that the Duchess of Sussex’s friend Serena Williams dropped a potential bombshell in April regarding the impending birth.
Meghan may now be a duchess and about to deliver an heir to the British throne, but she came from a wildly different world. Born in August 1981, Meghan grew up in Los Angeles, California, alongside her parents, Thomas and Doria. It’s perhaps fair to say, though, that from an early age, she was destined for the limelight. Yes, young Meghan formed some very strong beliefs on certain subjects. And two years before hitting her teens, the future Duchess saw a television commercial that sparked her into action.
While watching the advert, Meghan picked up on some potentially sexist undertones regarding women working in kitchens. As a result of that, she lobbied high-profile individuals, including First Lady Hillary Clinton, to highlight the issue. And thanks to Meghan, the commercial was tweaked to address the unintended slur.
A few years later, Meghan headed to Illinois to enrol as a student at Northwestern University’s School of Communication. During the Los Angeles native’s time at college, her academic focuses were international relations and theater. And in 2003 the future duchess earned her degree.
Some 12 months before Meghan celebrated her graduation, however, she had already made her on-screen debut as an actress. The future royal was cast in an episode of drama General Hospital, taking on a character named Jill. And after a couple of years of hiatus, Meghan returned to television in 2004.
Indeed, Meghan bagged a minor role in Century City – a sci-fi drama series starring the likes of Ioan Gruffudd, Viola Davis and Nestor Carbonell. And from there, the aspiring actress’s career really started to pick up. In 2005 she joined a number of projects, in fact, kicking the year off with an appearance in the TV show Cuts.
Following Cuts, Meghan made her big-screen debut in the romantic comedy A Lot Like Love, starring Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet. Then, later that year, the Los Angeles native returned to television in an episode of Love, Inc.. And while these roles were fairly small, Meghan was just beginning to establish herself in the world of entertainment.
As 2006 rolled around, Meghan was cast in another show before bagging a role in the television movie Deceit. Off the back of this, the actress went on to appear in series such as 90210, CSI: NY, Without a Trace and Knight Rider over the next few years. In 2011, though, Meghan’s career changed forever.
Yes, after appearing in several other film and television projects, Meghan joined the cast of Suits. Taking on the character of Rachel Zane, she featured in more than 100 episodes of the legal drama before leaving in 2018. And as we know, the star’s departure came about as a result of a truly unique situation.
Back in 2016, news had emerged that Meghan was in a relationship with Prince Harry of the British royal family. The following year, the couple announced their upcoming nuptials to the world, which led to Markle’s withdrawal from Suits. Further excitement followed with the news that their wedding date had been set for May 19, 2018.
Ahead of the big day, it was announced Harry and Meghan would be made the Duke and Duchess of Sussex by Queen Elizabeth II. With all the pieces in place, then, the pair celebrated tying the knot in Windsor, England, in what was undeniably one of the biggest events of the year. But a few months later, the royal couple had further significant news to share.
That’s right: Harry and Meghan revealed to delighted fans around the world that they were set to become parents, with the due date scheduled for April 2019. Following the announcement, Kensington Palace released a statement. “Their Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public,” it read.
Meanwhile, in the weeks leading up to the birth, there’s been plenty of guesswork regarding the baby’s sex. Meghan and Harry have both remained tight-lipped on that particular subject, though, inevitably adding fuel to the speculation. However, the Duchess’ friend Serena Williams may have inadvertently spilled the beans in an interview.
Born in September 1981, Williams grew up in Compton, California, alongside her parents and older sister, Venus. From a very young age, she took an interest in tennis, leading to a big move a few years later. When the future superstar joined Rick Macci’s tennis school, the Williams family relocated to Florida.
Williams continued to hone her craft on the court and reached her first milestone in 1995. In October of that year, the youngster made her very first appearance as a professional, entering a tournament in Quebec, Canada. And at just 14 years of age, she was only eligible to compete thanks to a wild-card nomination. Unfortunately for Williams, though, she lost in straight sets.
Undeterred, however, Williams kept playing and kept improving. And three years later, she reached another tennis landmark, qualifying for her first Grand Slam event. At the 1998 Australian Open, the future champion made it into the second round by defeating Irina Spîrlea. The subsequent celebrations didn’t last too long, though, with older sister Venus knocking her out of the tournament at the next stage.
Then, the following year, Williams’ tennis career skyrocketed, culminating in her first Grand Slam final at the U.S. Open. There she faced Martina Hingis, who was the world’s highest-ranked player at the time. And incredibly, the youngster came out on top, winning the match in straight sets.
After Williams’ momentous win, she continued to establish herself as one of the biggest rising stars in tennis. In fact, she appeared in four straight quarter-finals at the Grand Slams between 2000 and 2001 before securing her next title in 2002. In another battle with her sister, she won the final at that year’s French Open.
In fact, Williams went on to win the next three Grand Slams on offer, joining a very select group of players to have earned all four major titles. And since then, the tennis sensation has gone on to become one of the most dominant competitors in the sport’s history. But Williams has certainly been winning away from the court, too – if her star-studded collection of friends is anything to go by. Top of the list, though, is perhaps Meghan Markle, with whom Williams formed a very special relationship back in 2014.
Meghan and Williams were introduced back in February 2014, while competing in a flag football match for charity. After this initial meeting, the duo formed an instant connection and quickly became friends, according to Meghan’s now-dormant blog, The Tig.
“We hit it off immediately,” Meghan said on The Tig at the time. “[We were] taking pictures, laughing through the flag football game we were both playing in and chatting not about tennis or acting but about all the good, old-fashioned girly stuff. So began our friendship.” And it seems that the women’s bond only went from strength to strength.
For instance, Meghan showed her support for Williams later that year when the tennis star competed in the 2014 U.S. Open final. After the sportswoman lifted the title once again, her friend took to Instagram to offer her congratulations. And the famous pair were even snapped sharing a hug following the match.
Then, Meghan took to social media again when Williams clinched the Australian Open in 2015, posting the photo of their hug from a few months before. “So happy for you, Serena Williams!” the Duchess wrote on Twitter. “I was just hugging you for your win at [the] U.S. Open. Now [the] Australian Open!”
As Meghan’s friendship with Williams continued to grow, she described their bond in a bit more detail via The Tig. After having previously dubbed the Grand Slam champion one of her “closest friends,” the duchess explained why she believes that they have such a tight connection.
“[Williams] quickly became a confidante I would text when I was traveling,” Meghan wrote on her website. “[She was also] the friend I would rally around for her tennis matches and the down to earth chick I was able to grab lunch with just a couple weeks ago in Toronto.”
“We are both the same age, have a penchant for hot sauces and adore fashion,” Meghan added. “But what connects us more than those things is perhaps our belief in exceeding expectations – our endless ambition.” And unsurprisingly, then, Williams was one of the guests to show up at Meghan’s wedding in May 2018 – before also attending another big event a few months later.
With Harry and Meghan’s child due to arrive in the world in the spring of 2019, you see, Williams helped organize a baby shower for the expectant mom in February. The party took place at The Mark Hotel in New York. And celebrities such as Abigail Spencer, Amal Clooney and Gayle King were invited to the star-studded celebration alongside some of the duchess’ long-time pals.
One of said old acquaintances is Daniel Martin, who also took care of Meghan’s makeup at the royal wedding. In Martin’s mind, the baby shower came at the perfect time for the Los Angeles native, since it was just a couple of months before her due date. But the get-together was important for an additional reason, according to the makeup artist.
“It was exactly what [Meghan] needed,” Martin recalled to People magazine. “And it was a reunion for all of us, too, who hadn’t seen each other since the wedding. Snow was falling outside, and it was so cozy. We all sat on couches or on the floor and told stories and caught up. It was like going to a family reunion.”
Meanwhile, Williams hasn’t shied away from chatting about her royal pal in public. When she sat down for an interview with website E! News in April 2019 to discuss a variety of topics, for instance, a question came up about Meghan’s pregnancy. “She’ll be the best mom,” the tennis superstar responded confidently. “For sure.”
At this point, Williams touched upon her own experiences as a mom, having given birth to her daughter, Alexis, back in September 2017. And she revealed some of the many lessons she had learned in that time, too. “Accept mistakes, and don’t expect to be perfect,” the former Grand Slam champion noted.
“We put so much pressure on ourselves,” Williams continued. “I had all those high expectations and what I was going to do, and then I had what I was going to do. I was gonna recover, and I was gonna be great, and this is a time that everything is not going to go as planned.”
Williams added, “My whole life is so planned, and this is the one time where it wasn’t. You just gotta go with the flow.” On that note, the tennis star recalled a conversation that she had had with one of her pregnant friends. And much like herself, this unnamed mom-to-be apparently wanted to map everything out before the baby was born.
And it was what Williams said next that has got tongues wagging everywhere. “My friend is pregnant, and she was like, ‘My kid’s gonna do this,’” Williams told E! News. “[And] I just looked at her like, ‘No, she’s not. No, you’re not.’ She was like, ‘I need to talk to you about tips,’ because, yes, I had all of those high expectations.”
Yes, since Williams made these comments, many people have speculated that the mystery “friend” in question is actually Meghan. And if that is the case, the sports superstar may have revealed the gender of the royal baby-to-be – a top-secret nugget of information. Unsurprisingly, the possible indiscretion caught the attention of several media outlets, who suggested that Williams may have let on that Meghan’s future child is in fact a “she.”
People seem so convinced that Williams did indeed spill the beans, in fact, that British bookmakers have even taken account of the tennis player’s words and adjusted their odds accordingly. And as the speculation continued, Alex Apati of Ladbrokes – a British-based betting company – spoke about the current situation.
“Royal punters are looking for any slip-ups, and Serena might just have given them one,” Apati told People in April 2019. “We’re taking no chances and have slashed odds on a girl as a result.” So, are we likely to get any clues from Harry and Meghan themselves? Well, the royal couple made an announcement on April 11, 2019 – and finally addressed some of the rumors surrounding the pregnancy.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very grateful for the goodwill they have received from people throughout the United Kingdom and around the world as they prepare to welcome their baby,” read the statement from Harry and Meghan. But it was the following passage that caught a lot of royal fans off guard.
“Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private,” the statement continued. “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.” And so, compared to previous royal births, it seems that Harry and Meghan are taking a very different approach.
As for Williams, meanwhile, she’s presumably excited about meeting the new royal arrival – whether or not she does indeed know the gender already. She’s also looking to the future in terms of her career, too. “I’ve missed every single goal I had for this season, so I’m wiping the board clean and starting over to see where my next goal is,” Serena told E! News. “Maybe I just need to stop thinking so much and just go out there and relax.”