Image: Lia Toby/WENN.com
We're going to be honest - we haven't been this excited about a baby since we had our own. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are expecting their first child ANY DAY NOW, and the royal baby fever is high. Harry and Meghan are tucked away in their country estate, presumably getting everything ready for the arrival of the little babe. They've been largely out of the public eye for a few weeks now. Although we miss our bump updates, we support this! Having a baby is hard, and we're glad Meghan has this private time to prepare. We hope they're enjoying these last few weeks as a family of two, because things are about to change a whole lot.
Ever since Harry and Meghan announced they were expecting, we've been following along on her pregnancy journey. We've loved seeing her belly grow, and have marveled at how amazing she's looked the entire time. The royal couple has kept many of the details about the pregnancy and baby to themselves, which is totally fine. But we do know a bit about what's been going down, and what's to come. Before Meghan Markle officially becomes a Royal Mama, let's recap what we know about her pregnancy and the royal baby. You can never be too prepared, you guys!
When the pregnancy was announced in October 2018, the palace simply said that Meghan Markle was expecting a baby in Spring 2019. Now, that could really mean anytime between March and June! But Meghan herself has dropped a couple of hints which lead us to believe that the royal baby's arrival is imminent. During a royal visit to Birkenhead in January, she told fans she was six months along. On another occasion, she got a bit more specific with her due date, telling fans gathered in Hamilton Square that she was due in April. We've only got a handful of days left in April!!
Now, in our defense, we never really know what the royal babies are going to be before they're born. The palace keeps that information pretty close to the vest. But it sounds like maybe Meghan and Harry don't even know what they're having yet! In February she told an attendee at the Endeavour Fund Awards, "We don't know. Yes, we decided to keep it a secret... It's one of those things, like, no matter what it is, it's still going to be a surprise." But that hasn't stopped everyone from speculating. From her clothing to the belly, royal watchers have searched for clues as to what they royal couple will be having. Harry himself said he hopes it's a girl. But there's a 50/50 chance either way!
As of now, the line of succession goes Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, and then Prince Harry. Baby Sussex will fall seventh in line, after their papa. However, if Wills and Kate have anymore kids, they'll be bumped down the line even further! Since William is second in line, his children move ahead of Harry. And Harry's kids, however many he has with Meghan, will fall in line behind him. But Baby Sussex is pushing a few others farther from the throne. Prince Andrew and his daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie will now be eight, ninth, and tenth.
When it comes to baby names, the sky's the limit. People name their kids all sorts of weird stuff, and there are SO MANY to choose from! But when you're naming a royal baby, you're bound by some royal rules. Like, we don't think the palace would approve of Princess Consuelo Banana Hammock. There are actual bets being placed on potential names for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's baby. Front runners include Alice, Arthur, Philip, Victoria, and Diana. However, Meghan is already bending quite a few royal rules, so the name will likely be a surprise to everyone. No one guessed that Will and Kate would choose Louis for their youngest, so it happens!
Rules set forth by King George V in 1917 very clearly state who can use the designation Her or His Royal Highness. And Meghan and Harry's baby won't quite make the cut. The baby will likely be given the title Earl of Dumbarton if it's a boy, or Lady Mountbatten-Windsor if it's a girl. Of course, Queen Elizabeth could always set aside the rules to give them HRH titles. That's actually what she did with Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. But since Harry's kids will be farther removed from the line of succession, it's not clear if the Queen would make the exception here. Regardless of title, the baby will likely use Sussex as their surname in everyday life.
Since they announced their engagement, Harry and Meghan have been living in Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace in London. But the cottage is only two bedrooms, and was never intended to be a long-term living option for the growing family. They stayed there while their permanent home was being renovated. The royal couple has since moved into Frogmore Cottage at Windsor Castle. They've kept a low profile since relocating, and are presumably getting their home ready for Baby Sussex to arrive. Looks like a lovely place to raise a family, wouldn't you say? Going to need a baby gate around that pond, though.
Queen Elizabeth celebrated her 93rd birthday on April 21, and Prince Louis turned the big 0-1 on April 23. Also, Princess Charlotte will be celebrating her 4th birthday on May 2. So Baby Sussex gets to share the birthday spotlight with their great-grandmother and two cousins. That could be a good thing and a bad thing. It's always nice to be able to celebrate a bunch of birthdays at once. But at the same time, it's kind of hard to compete with the freaking QUEEN OF ENGLAND. Baby Sussex has already dodged the birthday twin bullet with HRH and Louis, so here's hoping they get their own special day.
When Kate Middleton gave birth to all three of her children, she chose to deliver at the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London. It's the same swanky private wing where Princess Diana delivered both of her children, too. But it's looking like Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will be opting for a more private childbirth experience. Palace sources say the royal couple may be planning a home birth at Frogmore Cottage, saying "it is thought Harry and Meghan decided against it because it felt too much like a 'goldfish bowl.' The duchess objected to the idea of standing on the steps of the maternity unit surrounded by the public and the media just hours after the birth."
Kate Middleton blew us all away when she appeared on the steps of the Lindo Wing a mere hours after giving birth. Not once, not twice, but three times! Moms around the world were like, "Um, but her vagina?!" It's sort of royal protocol to present the new baby to the waiting public, but Meghan and Harry won't be participating when Baby Sussex is born. The new royal family will likely wait a few days before partaking in any royal photo calls. The photos will be taken on the grounds of Windsor Castle. One thing's for sure: all eyes will be on the official Instagram account for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex while we await our first glimpse of Baby Sussex.
Harry and Meghan definitely have some friends in high places, and they wanted to show the royal couple some love when it came to celebrating the royal baby! Meghan flew to NYC to attend a shower put together by none other than Serena Williams. Serena, in case you missed it, is rumored to be the one who set Harry and Meghan up on a blind date). Guests included Amal Clooney, Williams, Gayle King, Jessica Mulroney, and Meghan's former Suits costar Abigail Spencer. Despite the star-power in attendance, it was a pretty private, intimate soiree. Daniel Martin, Meghan's longtime friend and wedding makeup artist said, "The next plan is all of us being there for both of them when the baby comes. That baby is going to be loved by all of us."
Well, we can tell you who they WON'T be - Prince William and Kate Middleton! In British tradition, godparents typically aren't aunts and uncles of the baby. Those people already have a role in the child's life. Prince Harry isn't a godfather to any of Will and Kate's kids, so it's unlikely he'll tap his brother and sister-in-law for the high honor when it comes to Baby Sussex. Instead, Meghan and Harry will likely choose from a select group of close friends to act as godparents to their little one. In the running are Serena Williams and Jessica Mulroney on Meghan's side, and Charlie Van Straubenzee or Tom Inskip from Harry's side.
In 2015, Meghan says that she splurged on a Cartier French Tank watch when her show Suits got picked up for a third season. That's quite a way to treat yoself, and we support this 100%! She had a personalized message engraved on the back to memorialize the occasion. Meghan says, "I had it engraved on the back, ‘To M.M. From M.M.’ and I plan to give it to my daughter one day. That’s what makes pieces special, the connection you have to them." That's a really sweet story. And maybe it's a hint as to what they'll the baby is it's a girl? People should really be focusing on those 'M' names.
We fully acknowledge that "raising the baby as normally as possible" is a bit of a pipe dream when the parents are actual royalty. Like, no matter how much they try, the kid isn't going to be able to escape who their parents are. But there are definitely ways to keep them down to earth, and it sounds like Meghan and Harry are hoping to make that a reality. The royal couple are hoping to bring Baby Sussex up with an appreciation for the normal things in life, as well as a sense of responsibility. The kid can expect to have chores one day, and the couple isn't going to spoil their kids.
Listen, we'd all hire a nanny if we could, and denying that is just lying to yourselves. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will obviously have a nanny at some point. But, as with many other aspects of their pregnancy, they're going to break with royal tradition here, too. The couple is reportedly looking to hire an American nanny in the next few months. So they won't be using one of the uniformed Norland nannies favored by the royal family. Additionally, Baby Sussex may one day attend the ACS Egham International School in Surrey. It's a private, co-ed academy that can provide the more diverse education the couple favors.
She's not giving birth in the Lindo Wing. She's not going to parade the baby out just hours after it's born. And she's going to have her own team of doctors and even a doula by her side for the delivery. Breaking with royal tradition, Meghan won't be using the services of Kate's doctors, Alan Farthing and Guy Thorpe-Beeston. Instead, she's chosen the services of a woman-led delivery team, and is reportedly even using the services of a doula. Sources say she didn't feel comfortable being looked after by "men in suits" during the labor and delivery. And it's all about the comfort of mom, so what Meghan wants, Meghan gets.
When grandma arrives, you know it's about to go down! Doria Ragland, mama to Meghan Markle, has officially touched down in the UK to be there for Meghan and Harry and be present for the birth of her first grandchild. Meghan and Doria are incredibly close, so it was a given she would be making the trip. But she's reportedly hired a dog walker and house sitter, and has cancelled her yoga classes for the foreseeable future. So it sounds like Doria is planning an extended stay. We all know how valuable it is to have a great support system in the weeks following the birth of a child. We hope Meghan feels comforted by her mom being there with her.