Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to keep royal baby's arrival secret, couple announce

Buckingham Palace says the couple will celebrate the baby's arrival with the public ‘once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family’

Katie O'Malley
Friday 12 April 2019 11:58
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Royal baby in numbers

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have announced they intend to keep the arrival of their baby secret.

On Thursday, Buckingham Palace released a statement saying Meghan Markle and Prince Harry “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.”

Speculation that Ms Markle won’t pose for a photograph on the steps of the Lindo Wing, as several royals have done before her, comes days after Kensington Palace launched an official Instagram account on behalf of the royal couple.

Last week, the Palace announced it had launched a verified Instagram account, under the handle @sussexroyal, which went onto break the record for the fastest time to gain one million followers on Instagram.

Reacting to the Palace’s statement, royal historian Sarah Gristwood tells The Independent: “This announcement is further evidence of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's very strong desire to do things their way.

“Both of them have been proving themselves very useful members of the younger generation of the royal family in recent years.”

However, Gristwood adds that while the news may disappoint royal fans, "the bottom line is that if a woman wants to keep her birth plans private than why shouldn’t she?"

Royal biographer Hugo Vickers concurs with Gristwood’s view, telling The Independent that Ms Markle and Prince’s Harry’s decision seems to be “completely in character with the mother-to-be”.

“She will do it her way. She is lucky that the Home Secretary no longer has to be present at royal births, a custom abolished between 1936 and 1948," Vickers states.

In 1926, the then Home Secretary, Sir William Joynson-Hicks, was present at the Queen's birth.

Royal commentator Omid Scobie says he isn't suprised by the royal couple's decision to keep the birth private.

"They know that everyone wants to celebrate with them, and they’ll facilitate that," he tells The Independent.

"But for that private, special moment, they want to keep it to themselves. We know from sources that Meghan is quite nervous ahead of the birth."

The announcement comes days after Shutterstock royal photographer Tim Rooke said he thinks the first time we may see the couple’s newborn could be via their new Instagram account.

Meghan Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, London on 11 March 2019

"Obviously they just launched their Instagram. If they want to keep it private... they’ll just issue a picture and put it on Instagram," the photographer told Cosmopolitan.

Rooke also warned the public not to get their hopes up to see the royal couple soon after the birth of their child.

“I don’t think we’re going to get the same thing with the Duchess of Sussex’s baby,” added Rooke, who has photographed all three of the Duchess of Cambridge’s post-birth photographs outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s hospital in Paddington, London.

“I don’t think we’re going to see it at all. I think it’s going to be private.”

The photographer bases his thinking on the fact he, and several of his photographer contemporaries, had failed to receive much information on the birth from the Palace, prior to the statement.

“At this point with Kate’s babies, we’d been briefed by the Palace, but we’ve had no briefings whatsoever,” he explained.

“At this time, at St Mary’s for all the other three births, there was parking restrictions and all sorts of other things, and there’s none of those.

“They’ve already moved into Frogmore Cottage so why would they come up to West London to have the baby?”

In November, Kensington Palace announced Ms Markle and Prince Harry were moving out of London to Frogmore Cottage, which is located in the grounds of Windsor Castle and was their chosen wedding destination for the nuptials earlier that year.

A month earlier, the Palace announced Ms Markle was expecting her first child in spring 2019.

Follow more news about the royal baby on The Independent here.

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