- Meghan Markle is pregnant and reportedly has to follow a series of “royal pregnancy rules.”
- But according to experts, there are not “rules” expecting royal mothers must follow.
- But, Markle might follow some royal traditions that are uncommon for an American mother-to-be.
Kensington Palace has officially announced that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are expecting their first child. The Duchess of Sussex is due to give birth to a royal baby in Spring 2019 and because the royal family often seems to follow so many examples of reported royal protocol or traditions (wearing nude stockings, limiting instances of PDA, etc), many wondered if Markle would be subject to any royal pregnancy “rules.”
CNN Royal Commentator Victoria Arbiter and royal historian and expert Marlene A. Koenig emphasised to INSIDER that there aren’t “pregnancy rules,” per se, but rather a combination of royal traditions and UK norms.
Here are the traditions and norms that Markle can choose to abide by during her pregnancy.
The Queen was likely told about the pregnancy before anyone else
According to The Daily Mail, Prince William reportedly called his grandma on an encrypted phone line when Prince George was born so that he could be sure she was the first to find out. However, it sounds less like a “rule,” and more of a show of respect that Queen Elizabeth II would find out about royal births before anyone else.
“Out of respect for the queen, it’s likely that she was told the news first. She’s the queen, head of state, and a much-loved grandmother. Harry will have been excited to let her know her eighth great-grandchild was on the way,” Arbiter told INSIDER.
Koenig added that she suspects the Queen learned of the pregnancy this week.
It’s a royal family tradition for all royal babies to wear the same gown at their christening
All royal children wear the same gown to their christening – a copy of the original 1840 Honiton Lace gown worn first by Victoria’s first child. Arbiter said that this is not so much a rule, but a family tradition.
“Harry and Meghan will be proud to continue all of the christening traditions,” Arbiter added.
Markle is free to have a baby shower, although it’s not common in the UK
Many outlets are reporting that Markle is not allowed to have a baby shower and that royals cannot accept baby gifts. However, both Koenig and Arbiter clarified that Markle can absolutely have a baby shower and accept any gifts if she chooses to.
“Baby showers are largely something done in North America, not the UK,” Koenig told INSIDER. “Of course, Meghan can get baby gifts and I would not be surprised if her American and Canadian friends have a shower for her. Baby showers are not a UK tradition and has nothing to with being royal.”
It’s completely up to her on whether or not she’ll have a baby shower, and if she does, it will likely be a private affair.
Prince Harry and Markle might not learn the sex of their children beforehand
Per E! News, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chose not to learn the sex of their children before they were born, and Arbiter added that “Brits generally don’t” either, so she imagines that Prince Harry and Markle might follow in Prince William and Middleton’s lead and find out the sex when their baby is born.
However, E! reported that Princess Diana did learn about the sex of both her children before they were born, but kept it private.
Most importantly, it is a personal decision between Prince Harry and Markle, and even if they learn the sex ahead of time, the general public would likely not be made aware of it.
Traditionally, royal babies often have a minimum of three names
It’s become a bit of a royal tradition for royal babies to have at least three names: Louis Arthur Charles, George Alexander Louis, and Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, for example.
The Queen has three names (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary) and Prince Charles and his siblings have four (Charles Philip Arthur George), so there is no real protocol for naming royal offspring.
Koenig said it was the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s personal choice to go for three names, and Arbiter added that as far as Markle and Prince Harry are concerned, “the baby can have as many names as they would like but three are most likely.”
Markle will likely have one, or more, midwives on hand
Although it’s very common for royal family members to give birth in the hospital, they often have a team of midwives on hand, as Middleton did for all three of her pregnancies.
According to News Americas Now, when Middleton gave birth to Princess Charlotte, her two midwives – Jacqui Dunkley-Bent and Arona Ahmed – were running the delivery while the doctor’s waited nearby for any complications.
It would not be surprising for Markle to enlist the help of midwives as well.
The royal “rule” that expecting royals cannot fly appears to be a rumour
Some outlets have reported that expectant royal mothers are not encouraged to fly. However, Markle announced her pregnancy after arriving in Australia and Middleton did fly to Sweden and Norway while she was pregnant with Prince Louis, so it doesn’t appear that this so-called “protocol” is upheld – or real.
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