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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have made one of their biggest breaks from royal tradition, announcing on Thursday that they're keeping mum on their birth plan and welcoming their first royal baby in private.
“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,” said Buckingham Palace in a statement.
“Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private. 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.”
While Meghan's surely been picking her sister-in-law Kate's brain on everything baby, one thing she won't need from the mother of three is advice on how to manage the iconic Lindo Wing baby debut (on which the Duchess of Cambridge is now a bona fide expert!).
So how will Meghan's delivery differ from Kate's? Here are 5 strange royal birth traditions that the Duchess of Sussex gets to skip altogether.
Couples spend lots of time deliberating over how they want to welcome baby, especially their first. Imagine sharing some of that plan with the entire world? More than two months before William and Kate welcomed Prince Louis, they gave their plans to the media, including where they'd deliver, the fact that William would be present (a royal rarity!) and when cameras could expect to snap the first photos of Baby Cambridge No. 3.
In their statement today, Meghan and Harry made it very clear that they won't be sharing any of these details ahead of the birth, which could happen any day now (she told fans that she's due end of April or early May).
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex recently blessed fans with their very own @sussexroyal Instagram feed, but with the vast amount of trolling Meghan has faced on Twitter, they're understandably staying off that platform. Kate, however, has had news of her labour broadcast on the @kensingtonroyal feed with each of her three pregnancies, which means being international news during the insanity of childbirth (with all the glorious screaming, pushing and sometimes pooping that goes with it).
Meghan and Harry have made it very clear that they want their special day to be private, so we're not so sure they'll tweet it. Maybe just Instagram? Or, like they did with their statement today, perhaps they'll only announce in a statement to media.
When Kate gives birth, her hairdresser Amanda Cook-Tucker and stylist Natasha Archer are among the first visitors—no, not because they're the closest of gal pals but because they've got to whip the duchess into shape for a photo op just hours after she gives birth. (We've decided the key to those hospital step debuts must be a double diaper topped with smoothing Spanx!)
Wherever Meghan welcomes her little one, she'll have the luxury of focussing only on her new addition and celebrating their growing family with Prince Harry. Like us, she can robe up and toss her hair in a messy bun for as long as she likes.
Princess Anne, the Queen's daughter, was the first royal to welcome her baby at a hospital, and this was in 1977. Up until then, home births in their palatial abodes was the trend of the day. The Queen welcomed all four of her children at home, three at Buckingham Palace and one at Clarence House. So this would actually signal a return to earlier royal tradition, and a very chilled one at that.
No camera crews, covert arrivals at the hospital, worrying about photo leaks from the delivery ward and posing outside. And if reports are true that Meghan has chosen to have a natural birth using hypnotherapy to manage her pain, there's no place like home to do it. (If she doesn't opt for a home birth, all signs point to Frimley Park Hospital, near the couple's new Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage.)
The hair, the dress, the... heels! Yes, Kate's first postnatal hours were all about that baby debut, and with Princess Charlotte she even paired her blowout and four-inch heels with—wait for it—a white dress! Yes, white with yellow flowers. We can only imagine the anxiety that would bring. But we also don't blame her for rushing to get it out of the way so she could go home, throw on some sweats and hibernate with her new babe.
Which is how Meghan will be from the very start. And while they're shirking the traditional pose on the steps at St Mary's Hospital, the Sussexes have promised a sweet family photo op on the grounds of Windsor Castle a few days after baby's arrival, according to People—a far cry from the frenzy outside the Lindo Wing.