While on the New Zealand leg of their royal tour Prince Harry revealed to the press his cute nickname for his future heir, calling it “our little bump.” And needless to say, it melted hearts everywhere. As little Archie, at the time only known as, “our little bump,” grew into “our little baby,” Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were busy with their royal engagements, and even though they did sneak in a whole bunch of super sweet hand-holding, there are some Royal Rules this royally adorable little family has to follow. How will the monarchy’s most modern couple handle a royal pregnancy, birth, and upbringing, and what rules are monarchical mandates?
1. No Baby Shower
If you were wondering if Kate Middleton has been busy at work on a top-secret and celebrity-filled baby shower for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the answer is, unfortunately not (you just know it would’ve been beautiful though). Alas, members of the royal family don’t have baby showers.
Royal experts explain that due to the Royals’ vast wealth, throwing a baby shower, a.k.a. a party for friends and family to gift the expectant family everything they’ll need, would be inappropriate, since, it goes without saying, they can afford to provide their little bundle of joy with a pretty plush life. There may be no baby shower, but that’s not the only party they can’t partake in.
2. Boy or Girl?
The new trend of gender reveal parties has taken the world of expectant parents by storm, with celebrities often having some of the most elaborate gender reveal celebrations of all. But for Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle, there will be no cutting of a pink or blue cake, no releasing of pink of blue balloons, no pink or blue anything actually!
The public is kept out of as many details of the pregnancy as possible, including the gender. It’s possible that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle don’t know the gender of the baby either (Will and Kate didn’t find out until the birth). But we’d bet this royal tot will have some pretty incredible birthday parties throughout the years!
3. Great-Grandma Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth clearly loves her grandchildren (and great-grandchildren) just as any grandmother would, but under normal circumstances, would one’s grandmother be the first call made to share in the excitement of a newborn baby? Probably not, but for Meghan and Harry, there are rules.
It is mandatory that upon the baby’s birth, the Queen must be notified before a single member of the public. That rule obviously doesn’t include Meghan’s family, despite her mother being a commoner, as the families and dearest friends of both Harry and Meghan will find out a few hours before the rest of the world.
4. Don’t Wake The Queen!
For all those dedicated royal watchers who’ve already marked their calendars for spring 2019, don’t worry – there’s no way you could sleep through the birth announcement. In keeping with the rule that states that the Queen be notified of a royal birth prior to the public, there’s an addendum to that rule as well.
Towards the end of Kate Middleton’s pregnancy with Princess Charlotte, a palace expert said, “I wouldn’t think anyone will be waking the Queen before 8 a.m.” The Queen is obviously a very busy lady, and as such, needs her rest. No public birth announcements will be made after 10 p.m., until 8 a.m.
5. Travel Ban
While news of the future Royal Baby-to-Be were announced while The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were starting out their royal tour of Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, and Fiji, travel is actually discouraged for safety reasons. That rule is actually a good one for all future mothers, but for Markle it may be a rule that gets broken.
Meghan Markle has already proven herself to be a bit of a risk taker when it comes to some of the royal rules, and this may be another one that will have to adapt to the circumstances. As Markle is originally from California, and her mother Doria Ragland still resides there, it’s possible she’ll fly back for a visit or two early in the pregnancy.
6. No Social Media Announcements
Social media has become the place to announce a pregnancy, often with a cute photo and a fun caption about a bun in the oven. But don’t expect The Duke or Duchess to take to Instagram to share their exciting news. When you’re royal, you’ve got other ways of getting the word out.
A formal announcement is made by Kensington Palace to share in the joy of a new royal baby with the public. “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.” So, what more do we know about this Royal Baby Bump?
7. A Happy Arrival
Once the Queen has had the opportunity to bask in all the excitement of a new royal great-grandchild, the public gets to partake in the celebrations too. But if you guessed that there are rules about just how that announcement is made, you guessed right!
Per tradition, the public was notified of a royal birth from a handwritten missive placed on an easel in the court of Buckingham Palace. In the age of information you might be surprised to learn that a formal birth announcement is still done today. Although, these days they’re typed and printed, and followed by an official email and social media posts. Think an easel in a courtyard sounds old-fashioned, just wait until this next one!
8. Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
Imagine waiting to read the formal notice announcing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new arrival, but you forgot your glasses! Have no fear, the town crier has you covered. That’s right, London still has town criers, and there’s one specific one you may want to get to know.
Tony Appleton, formerly of the Royal Navy, eventually trained as a toastmaster, and ultimately settled on a career as a town crier. Despite misreports by American news outlets as to his role within the palace (Appleton is not official associated with the crown in any capacity), he has become known for being in the right place at the right time, announcing the births of all three of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s children.
9. A Working Woman
As Kate Middleton demonstrated during each of her pregnancies, Meghan Markle will continue to carry out royal engagements on behalf of The Queen, both alongside Prince Harry and on her own. Of course, Kate canceled a few engagements due to her extreme morning sickness, but otherwise, it was work as usual for the mom-to-be.
Her Royal Highness Meghan Markle has a lot of passion projects, most notably, a refreshingly modern take on women’s issues. It wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to expect the Duchess to continue speaking out on equality for women, and maybe given her current state, some early childhood issues as well. How else can we expect this modern Duchess to modernize a royal pregnancy?
10. Maternity Leave
Fairytales have us believing that princes and princesses never lift a finger, let alone have jobs, but these royals are some seriously hard workers! Markle will continue carrying out royal engagements throughout her pregnancy, swollen feet and all. When does a pregnant duchess get a break?
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex pull double-duty, attending engagements on behalf of the Queen, as well as doing work for the many noble charities they support. Still, after the birth a royal mum needs a rest. Kate Middleton took six months of maternity leave following Prince Louis’ birth, and Markle may do the same.
11. Paternity Leave
We’re all about gender equality, why should Meghan be the only one changing nappies (diapers if you’re from the other side of the pond) when their royally cute baby is born? Thankfully, the royal mum will have some royal help!
Duchess Meghan Markle won’t be the only one taking a leave from her royal duties, Prince Harry will get to take paternity leave as well. After the birth of Prince George and Princess Charlotte, Prince William took approximately two weeks off from all royal work to help with the royal mess that a newborn baby can cause. If Prince Harry’s excitement throughout the pregnancy is any indication, he’ll be more than happy to help.
12. Delivery Room Dad
Prince Harry hasn’t exactly been shy about his excitement at one day being a father. Even before he’d met Meghan Markle he’d spoken in interviews saying, “Of course, I would love to have kids right now, but there’s a process that one has to go through.” Now that he’s finally becoming a father, how involved will he be?
Historically, no male was allowed to be present during the birth of a royal baby – the delivery room was strictly no boys allowed! Thanks yet again to the original royal rule-breaker Princess Diana, Prince Charles was in the delivery room for both his son’s births, and Prince William has followed suit. Prince Harry will undoubtedly be there for his little boy or girl from the moment they arrive.
13. Beloved Baby Sussex
Of all the rules a new royal family must follow, this next one is perhaps the most unexpected. Upon the birth of Royal Baby Sussex, the brand new bundle of joy will be going home with mom and dad, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, but the custody of the baby is not what you might think.
Based on a 300 year-old law enacted under King George I, custody of Meghan and Harry’s children actually lies with The Queen. While the law hasn’t been changed with the times, the crown’s attitude toward child rearing is far more modern. The Queen will leave the child raising to the parents, and instead take on the role of loving great-grandmother. Either way, this baby is sure to be loved by all!
14. What’s in a Name?
Crazy celebrity baby names have been pretty common for a few years now, yet even though being the baby of Their Royal Highnesses means he or she will be famous from the very first moment of its birth, an unorthodox moniker for this future celebrity baby is out of the question.
We all know Beyoncé is a musical queen, but don’t expect Harry and Meghan to pick a name a la Blue Ivy. The expectant parents will follow in a longstanding tradition of selecting a name from a short list of royal names of past. Although, since this little one is unlikely to inherit the throne, there might be some wiggle room.
15. A Royal of Many Names
We know for certain that this tiny royal will not be named something wacky (think more along the lines of Victoria than, say, Moon Unit or Apple), but one thing that is sure is that it will have a lot of names.
Although the name is likely to be selected from an oft recycled list of ancestral names, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will have to pick up to three more names, typically from the same list. Prince Harry’s lengthy moniker is actually Henry Charles Albert David. The additional names are a way of honoring the little one’s relatives past and present. And that doesn’t even cover the issue of a surname!
16. Call Me by Your Name
The baby name saga continues. We know that the name will be quite traditional, and that there will be at least three or four names, but what about a surname? Do royals even have last names? Well, the answer is: yes and no. Confused?
While royals technically don’t have surnames the way the rest of us commoners do, in instances where a surname is necessary, the surname is pulled from the royal title bestowed upon said royal by The Queen herself. The royal titles given to Harry and Meghan upon their marriage are Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and their future children will be using Sussex as their surname. Sounds pretty posh, no?
17. A Royal Highness?
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s baby is sure to inherit its parents’ good looks, and maybe even Harry’s bright red hair and Meghan’s megawatt smile, but when the time comes, will Prince Harry’s children inherit the title of prince or princess too?
As Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, you might assume that any of their future progeny would have a similarly titled name, but as it stands, that’s actually not the case. According to the King George’s decree in the 1917 Letters Patent, only the firstborn son of the Prince of Wales is to have the title of Prince. But Queen Elizabeth had something else in mind.
18. A Lord and a Lady, A Baron and a Baroness
According to the 1917 Letters Patent, Prince George won the golden ticket and the title of prince! But Queen Elizabeth, clearly enamored of all her great-grandchildren, issued a revision to the decree in 2012, making it so that all their children would have the title of Prince or Princess. Still, that doesn’t extend to little baby Sussex.
As it stands, Meghan and Harry’s precious poppet will either be titled Lord/Lady of Sussex. Additionally, Megan and Harry are also titled in Scotland as Earl and Countess of Dumbarton, and in Ireland as Baron and Baroness Kilkeel — titles their little loves could adopt as well. Four names, three possible titles, and no official last name. Got all that?
19. Call the Midwife!
Tradition is quite important when it comes to royal pregnancies and royal babies, and as such, there will definitely be at least one midwife on hand – if not more. We once again turn to sister-in-law and fellow Duchess Kate Middleton, who had not one, but three midwives as part of her extensive birthing team.
So, if we’ve already determined the baby will be born in a hospital, why is there a midwife at all, let alone three of them? To cover all the bases! Coming in somewhere between a cricket team (11 players) and a baseball team (25 players), Middleton’s birthing team included a whole slew of different medical professionals – midwives included.
20. At-Home or a Hospital?
Meghan Markle will be getting a more modern birthing experience than royal women of the past, in thanks to a modern princess who came before her – Princess Diana of course! What that means is, an at-home birth won’t be necessary, or likely.
Princess Diana was the first royal to give birth in a hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital in Westminster to be specific. Both William and Harry were born in the private Lindo Wing, with Duchess Kate following her lead. Just like his or her little royal cousins Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, the newest member of the royal family is likely to be a Lindo baby too.
21. It Takes a Village
They say it takes a village to raise a child, but how many people does it take to give birth to one? If you’re carrying a royal heir the answer is roughly 20! And of course, with such a special baby on board, comes some special requests.
There are midwives, obstetricians, anesthesiologists, and so on, and each one is not only expected to perform their jobs to the absolutely best of their ability when the exciting moment finally arrives, but they have to keep quiet about it in the nine months leading up to the birth. Each member of Markle’s birthing team is sworn to secrecy about every last detail.
22. A Very Special Delivery
A musician wouldn’t perform a concerto without practicing first, right? That is certainly how The Duchess of Sussex’s birthing team feels about their jobs too. A high-profile couple means a high-profile job, and that means one thing – practice! Practice! Practice!
From the very first moment each member of Markle’s natal team is selected, they meet once a month to formulate a birthing plan for the big day. As the due date draws nearer, those meetings become increasingly more frequent. And they’re on call the entire time too. A member of Kate Middleton’s birthing team reported that they all had to be at the ready for three months prior to the fateful day.
23. Fashion Dos and Don’ts
While a lot of the traditions and rules Markle must follow related specifically to her new status as the future mother of a royal baby, some of the more general rules she must follow as a member of the royal family still hold true – whether she’s newly wed or newly pregnant.
The Queen (a fashion icon in her own right) has some very specific thoughts on how the members of her family are to dress – they are an extension of her after all. Even while pregnant, Markle is expected to limit the frequency she wears denim in public, and of course cannot show cleavage. So what does a pregnant Duchess wear?
24. Rule-Breaker, Risk-Taker
American Meghan Markle isn’t our average English Duchess, and has shown herself to be a bit of a fashion risk-taker. While Kate Middleton has been known to dress quite conservatively and tends toward preppy styles, Markle’s look is pretty different. So how has this modern, fashion-forward Duchess expressed her style while pregnant?
The Duchess has clearly shown a fondness for structured sheath dresses, well-tailored menswear inspired outfits, and of course her signature nude pumps. Never one to disappoint her fashion fans, she has additionally been seen wearing some riskier ensembles such as thigh-high slit dresses and a pair of high-heeled combat-esque-inspired boots while on the royal tour. If her pregnancy style is any indication, motherhood won’t change her trendsetting ways.
25. Beauty Doesn’t Rest
No sweatpants or sweaty faces for these monarchical ladies! Despite the exhaustion and incredible bodily stress of childbirth, when they emerge from the hospital with their precious bundle of joy sweetly swaddled, these new mothers are dressed to the nines.
One of Kate Middleton’s first guests after the birth of the newest little prince was her personal hairstylist. A speedy seven hours after the world was graced with the arrival of Prince Louis, The Duchess of Cambridge was more than ready for her close-up. Princess Diana’s post-partum look included a dress and heels as well. We can expect the Duchess of Sussex to don some similar designer duds.
26. The Royal Baby Effect
The Duchess of Sussex is sure to display her trendsetting fashion sense when she emerges from St. Mary’s Hospital, and hopefully that’s a fashion sense she applies to her mini-me’s wardrobe as well – the wee one is sure to be a trendsetter as soon as it makes it’s first appearance.
The Kate Middleton Effect and the Meghan Markle effect have already proven to be pretty powerful economic influences, and with the arrivals of Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and not-even one-year-old Prince Louis, they Royal Child Effect is setting market trends too. Whatever Baby Sussex wears, you can expect to see thousands of babies everywhere copying the style.
27. Fashion Fit For a Prince or Princess
Baby clothes get cuter and cuter by the day, but don’t expect to see this little lovebug wearing a little ladybug onesie. Just like its parents, there is a royal dress code to follow, even for rambunctious little princes and princesses.
It is a longstanding tradition (we’re talking centuries, not just years) that royal children are to be formally dressed when they’re in public. For the little ladies that means pressed and ironed dresses fit for a flower girl but for boys it’s a bit more complicated. While this used to mean breeches in the 16th century, it has since, thankfully, evolved into shorts for young boys. No graphic t-shirts or dinosaur onesies in sight!
28. A Vintage Gown
In preparation for her marriage to Prince Harry, Meghan Markle was baptized into the Church of England. Chances are, she probably got to pick her own dress, but that won’t be the case when her royal baby is christened one year after the birth.
In 1841, Queen Victoria ordered a white satin and lace christening gown for her firstborn child, and it’s the very same gown that has been worn by every royal baby born thereafter. That’s 62 royal babies! The gown was remade before the christenings of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal brood, and Baby Sussex will be outfitted in the gown as well.
29. Picking Godparents
Royal Baby Sussex is certainly entering into a big loving family, and it goes without saying that they’ll all be on hand and dressed to the nines at the christening. With so many royally excellent options for godparents, who is likely to get the coveted title?
Although you might think Prince William and Duchess Kate are the frontrunners, in fact, they’re the least likely. As the baby will have them as an aunt and uncle, they are certain to play a large role in its life. Thus, more distant relatives like cousins, or old school friends are more likely to get the call. And as Meghan and Harry have some fairly famous friends, Godmother Serena Williams isn’t out of the question.
30. An Eruption of Joy
Royal babies are big deals! And as such, some pink and blue balloons just aren’t enough to mark the exciting occasion. When a royal baby is born you might expect fireworks at the very least, or maybe a different kind of explosion?
There are a number of special occasions the palace would want to honor with a little something extra, and a 41-gun salute seems like a pretty grand way of marking the day. But this is a royal baby, and thus, to make the day extra special, 21 additional rounds are fired. A 62-gun salute will go off upon Meghan and Harry’s beautiful bouncing baby’s birth – coming into the world with a literal bang.
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