It has been nearly one year since Meghan Markle became part of the British royal family. And now, as you’re no doubt aware, the Duchess of Sussex is preparing to welcome her first child with husband Prince Harry. So when it came to Meghan’s final official engagement before reportedly going on maternity leave, the duchess treated the public to one last glimpse of her large baby bump.
This is just the latest chapter in Harry and Meghan’s love story, of course. The couple actually started dating in 2016 after a shared acquaintance got them together for a blind date. The royals were then able to keep their romance under wraps for half a year before the press finally caught wind of their relationship. And so in November 2017 the couple announced that Meghan had retired from acting and moved to the United Kingdom – and that they had gotten engaged.
Then, on May 19, 2018, Harry and Meghan tied the knot at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. It was on that same day that the Queen actually bestowed the titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex upon them too. And right after the royal wedding, Meghan began performing duties on behalf of the monarchy.
So, as well as making royal visits both with Harry and the Queen, Meghan began her own charity ventures. The first of these was supporting a book of recipes in aid of the victims of the Grenfell Tower Fire. The proceeds of Together: Our Community Cookbook, in fact, raised money for Hubb Community Kitchen. This was where a group of women gathered to cook meals after being displaced by the tragedy.
And more recently, Meghan has become a patron of charities that support causes seemingly close to her heart. Because of her interests in arts and education, for instance, the duchess took over the Queen’s patronages for The National Theatre and The Association of Commonwealth Universities. The sovereign, as she gets older, will also pass along other duties to her children and their spouses.
Meanwhile, Meghan has become patron of two other charities. The first of these is Mayhew, an organization that helps cats and dogs in need. And additionally, Meghan has become associated with Smart Works. This venture helps women who have been in care, sleeping rough or behind bars develop the skills that they will need to find jobs.
On top of Meghan’s solo charity work, though, she and Harry have made multiple royal visits together. These have included traveling to other countries, such as Ireland. But their largest and most memorable overseas tour was a trip that they took to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga in October 2018.
And interestingly, the visit became even more special because of the big news that the couple shared at the time. Shortly after the royals touched down in Australia, you see, Meghan and Harry revealed that they were expecting their first child together. In a statement from Kensington Palace, in fact, the duke and duchess confirmed that Meghan was due to give birth in spring 2019.
“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,” the statement read. So while they were Down Under, Meghan took some time out to rest. Yet the duchess has continued to carry out her royal duties throughout her pregnancy.
During their trip to Australia, for instance, it became clear just how excited Harry and Meghan were about the new arrival. Harry even gave thanks – and made mention of the upcoming child – at the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games. “I have been so proud to be able to introduce my wife to you, and we have been so happy to be able to celebrate the personal joy of our newest addition with you all,” he said in a speech.
In fact, even before the couple got married, it seemed evident that Harry and Meghan were aching to become parents. Back in 2012, for instance, the prince admitted that he had thought about becoming a father for a long time. “I’ve longed for kids since I was very, very young,” he told ABC News. “I’m waiting to find the right person. Someone who is willing to take on the job.”
And Meghan had echoed the same sentiments when she’d spoken about motherhood during an interview with Lifestyle magazine. Speaking shortly after she’d begun secretly dating the royal, Meghan explained that she was reaching the point where she was ready to have children of her own. “I also dream to have a family,” she said.
Meghan had also admitted that following her success in the acting industry, she couldn’t wait to take the next step in her personal life. “It’s all about balance, and I have so much happiness in my career and am fortunate to travel the world and see so many amazing things. It will also be nice to be anchored to something grounded and in the same place,” she added. “Raising a family will be a wonderful part of that.”
So when they got engaged, Harry and Meghan made it clear that having children was on the agenda. “One step at a time, and hopefully we’ll start a family in the near future,” Harry said during the couple’s first joint interview with the BBC. And it was less than one year later that the couple made their big baby announcement.
The other thing that Meghan is known for, of course, is her sense of style. Surprisingly, though, it has been reported that Meghan does not actually have a professional stylist. One of her friends apparently told People in February 2019, for instance, that despite what some might believe, the duchess is actually “very self-service.” The pal supposedly added, “Except for her wedding, [Meghan] does all her own makeup. Dresses herself, styles herself.”
Along with her designer wardrobe, then, Meghan has also been sporting high heels throughout her pregnancy. In fact, the duchess has even sparked a debate over whether or not it is advised to wear that kind of footwear while expecting. And if you’re wondering how she feels about them, the royal has hinted that it’s not always easy to be wearing heels.
This came during Harry and Meghan’s first public appearance of 2019 at a visit to Birkenhead in England in January. It seems that at one point of the walkabout, the duchess discussed her shoes with a royal fan. “She said her pregnancy had gone so quickly,” the anonymous person reportedly confessed to People. “I asked her how she was coping on those high heels. She said, ‘One day at a time!’”
And on that very same visit, Meghan apparently finally revealed her due date too. Having previously just stated that the baby would be arriving in the spring, the royal seemingly gave her admirers a little bit more information. “We asked her how her pregnancy was going, and she said she was six months, and she tapped her tummy,” Carla Gandy told People.
The couple were also grilled about the sex of their future child on their trip to Birkenhead. But Meghan reportedly told nine-year-old Kitty Dudley that they had no idea of their baby’s gender and would find out once he or she is born. “We don’t know whether it’s a boy or girl; we are keeping it as a surprise,” she said, according to the little girl.
Mind you, Harry had confessed during their trip to Australia that he was hoping for a girl. And when it comes to what the pair will call their child, it seems that the royals have heard plenty of suggestions. “We’ve been given a long list of names from everyone. We’re going to sit down and have a look at them,” Meghan told 12-year-old Charlie Wolf when they were in Melbourne.
It’s easy to tell through their updates to fans that Harry and Meghan are thrilled to be starting a family together, though. And their respective families are excited too. According to Simon Vigar, a royal correspondent for 5 News, members of the monarchy were actually informed about Meghan’s pregnancy ahead of Princess Eugenie’s wedding to Jack Brooksbank.
The royal family had in fact gathered together for Eugenie’s nuptials at Windsor Castle, where Harry and Meghan had also tied the knot. Vigar later reported on Twitter that “the Queen and other members of the family were able to congratulate them at Eugenie’s wedding.” The pair then flew to Australia, where they announced the pregnancy publicly a couple of days later.
Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, is seemingly equally delighted. The duchess is evidently extremely close to her mom, who attended the royal wedding and accompanied her daughter at the launch of Together: Our Community Cookbook. In October 2018 Kensington Palace reportedly told royal commentator Emily Nash that Ragland “is very happy about this lovely news and is looking forward to welcoming her first grandchild.”
Meanwhile, Harry and Meghan’s sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, said that she was “absolutely” excited for the impending arrival when asked about it during a visit to Leicester University in November 2018. “It’s such a special time to have little kiddies, and a cousin for George and Charlotte… and Louis. It’s really special.”
Meghan is now approaching the end of her pregnancy, of course. So ahead of the little one’s arrival, the duchess celebrated with a star-studded baby shower in New York City. Serena Williams and Genevieve Hillis actually threw the event at the penthouse of the Mark Hotel. And Gayle King, Abigail Spencer and Amal Clooney, among others, all attended.
Then, after the baby shower, Meghan and Harry traveled to Morocco on an official visit. And following the couple’s return to the United Kingdom, it was announced that the duchess has been made vice president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. The Queen is a patron of the charity, and Harry serves as its president.
Meghan’s new role was in fact revealed as she attended a panel discussion on International Women’s Day. For this, the duchess, who describes herself as a feminist, was joined by other female leaders to talk about some of the issues that women face. And a few days later, Meghan made another significant appearance – with Harry by her side.
Every year, you see, Commonwealth Day takes place on the second Monday of March and recognizes the 53 nations that have ties to Great Britain. In 2019, the day fell on March 11. And to mark it, Meghan and Harry spent Commonwealth Day at London’s Canada House at a celebration of Canadians in the United Kingdom.
There, Harry and Meghan chatted to young people about life in the United Kingdom after relocating from Canada. They spoke to people working in fields such as the arts as well as in academia and business. And Meghan and Harry heard about the working possibilities open to young people within the Commonwealth.
But Harry and Meghan’s time at Canada House wasn’t just about talking to and meeting with the people in attendance. In fact, the royals also joined some Canadian children in making the country’s traditional maple taffy candy. And later on, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were even treated to a musical performance.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Harry and Meghan ended up at this particular celebration, though. After all, Toronto provided the location for Harry to host his Invictus Games for veterans in 2017, shortly before his engagement to Meghan. And what’s more, Meghan actually lived in the city for several years. It’s where legal drama Suits, which was her biggest acting role, was filmed.
While she was residing in Toronto, in fact, Meghan had discussed how much she loved life there. “It’s really funny because I think as much of a big city as Toronto is, it’s so different from L.A. or New York,” she told Hello! in September 2015. “There is no paparazzi, so it’s really easy to just have a normal life where you are not getting dressed for the day and worried about that element of it.”
Meghan perhaps did have to spend some time worrying about her outfit for the trip on Commonwealth Day, though. The duchess in fact wore a green Erdem coat, which featured a black sequin design. She had on a matching dress underneath and additionally carried a black clutch Givenchy bag and wore black Aquazurra high heels. Meghan’s baby bump was on display in the ensemble, too, and she styled her hair in a bun.
And as the royals arrived at Canada House for the event, Harry and Meghan looked very much in love. The prince, who wore a suit, protectively put his hand on Meghan’s back and gestured for her to walk ahead of him. And when they greeted well-wishers gathered outside the venue, Meghan placed an arm around Harry.
Then, just before Harry and Meghan left the building, they said their goodbyes. And the prince even sang a line of the song “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound of Music. But the Duke and Duchess of Sussex hadn’t finished with their day just yet. Later on, you see, they had another event to attend.
For this occasion, Meghan changed into a cream dress and coat to join Harry as well as Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, at Westminster Abbey. There, a Commonwealth Day service took place that also welcomed Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. And according to Kensington Palace, the theme was “a connected Commonwealth.”
So, during the service, the Queen explained the advantages of the Commonwealth countries coming together because of their shared values. There was also music at the service, with Alfie Boe performing an a capella version of the song “Run” by Snow Patrol. And Meghan was clearly moved by the rendition, as she was seen fighting back tears.
It turned out that these events for Commonwealth Day were actually Meghan’s last official royal engagements before her baby arrives. According to reports, then, the duchess is now on maternity leave. And because Kate Middleton went on maternity leave almost exactly one month before welcoming Prince Louis, fans have speculated that this means that Meghan will be giving birth in mid-April.
Harry and Meghan are also moving out of Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace and into Frogmore Cottage at Windsor Castle. For now, then, it’s unclear whether Meghan will give birth at the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital, as Kate and Princess Diana did before her. Because of the move, in fact, some have suggested that the duchess could welcome her baby at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, where Sophie, Countess of Wessex, gave birth to her children with Prince Edward.
Yet although Meghan probably won’t now be seen until after the birth, she isn’t completely off-duty just yet. Vanity Fair reports that she will in fact participate in meetings at home over the next couple of weeks. And with just one month left in her pregnancy, Meghan doesn’t appear to have any worries. Let’s hope for a happy and healthy birth too.