The weird royal pregnancy rules Duchess Meghan must follow

Here's a look at what the Duchess of Sussex must do to toe the line with her pregnancy!
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The Duchess of Sussex is pregnant and we’re all squealing with excitement!

But apart from back-slapping ourselves for calling it as soon as Meghan stepped out of the limousine with Prince Harry to attend Princess Eugenie’s wedding to Jack Brooksbank last Saturday (the navy Givenchy coat was divine but we just knew the little surprise it was hiding), not to mention the fact that carrying two folders in front of her tum when the duchess arrived in Sydney wasn’t fooling anyone (the royals have flunkeys for carrying stationery supplies, surely?), we’re really interested to discover that Meghan is facing a whole host of royal rules when it comes to carrying Baby Sussex.

Yes, it appears that just like every other aspect of life as a royal, being pregnant with a blue-blooded baby comes with a long list of traditions and protocol.

From when and how the news is shared with the public, where the birth takes place, who will be told first when Baby Sussex has safely arrived and even what the couple’s first child will be called, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will have to toe the royal line.

Here’s what you need to know about the royal rules when it comes to having a baby.

Royal pregnancies aren’t announced until the 12-week mark

The ladies of the royal household don’t usually announce their pregnancies until they’ve passed what’s seen as the ‘safe’ 12-week mark.

When the Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant with her third child, Prince Louis, she went public a little earlier but that was most likely down to the fact she’d missed out on a couple of public engagements due to her battle with hyperemesis gravidarum (a particularly debilitating type of morning sickness).

The fact that Meghan’s sparkling away in her usual sky-high heels around Australia suggests that unlike her unfortunate sister-in-law, Meghan’s early weeks of pregnancy have been smooth sailing.

The newlyweds were all beams in Dubbo!

There won’t be a baby shower

What? No gender reveal cake? No deeply dubious baby shower games? Sadly not. Baby showers aren’t really a ‘thing’ in the UK (though they are becoming increasingly common as a trend having crossed the Atlantic from the US).

Talking of common, there’s another reason why the British upper classes don’t have baby showers. Yes, that’s right. The celebration of a baby’s impending arrival by the mother-to-be’s female relatives and friends still has that slight whiff of eau-de-peasant. Even more so when there’s a royal involved.

According to royal-watcher Victoria Arbiter, this is because “there’s nothing they can’t go out and buy themselves”. What’s more, if a pregnant member of the royal family were to receive a gift, they’d have to “respectfully” return it to the well-meaning gift giver.

That stance is bound to change in years to come (after all, who doesn’t love free stuff and cake?) but for now, sorry Meghan, it looks like you’ll have to buy your own nappy cake if you want one.

Baby Sussex is due in autumn 2019.

There’ll be no gender reveal

Prince William and Duchess Catherine reportedly didn’t find out the gender of Prince Louis until he arrived.

It’s expected that Prince Harry and Meghan won’t know if they’re having a boy or girl either but one thing’s for sure, if they do spot something on screen while the Duchess is having a scan (or not, as the case may be), the news most certainly won’t be released to the general public.

There won’t be much in the way of royal tours overseas

While Meghan’s obviously feeling well enough to be taking part in what is a gruelling royal tour of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific (imagine having to be ‘on’ all the time when you just want to be in your jammies reading a baby names book), after this royal tour, we can expect to see the Sussex duo stay home.

Royal travel while expecting is pared back, thanks to the risk of falling ill sampling local ‘delicacies’ and the undeniable exhaustion that is par for the course whether you’re traveling (royal) first class or not.

Prince Harry will take paternity leave

After Prince Harry and Meghan’s first child arrives in the northern hemisphere spring of 2019, the 34-year-old royal redhead will take an unpaid leave of absence from his official duties. Good on ya, Harry.

Meghan’s mum, Doria is reportedly all set to move into Kensington Palace to help her daughter and Prince Harry.

Prince Harry and Meghan are both ecstatic.

Meghan will go on a lengthy maternity leave

Meghan’s only been in the job a few months but caring for Baby Sussex will take precedence over any royal duties. It’s expected that, just like the royal women before her, the Duchess will take a fair amount of time off after the birth.

Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, started her maternity leave in late March, just before Prince Louis was born the following month. Her maternity leave ended in October, five months after her third child’s birth – the longest of all her maternity leaves.

Meghan’s Australian-designed frock is appropriately named the ‘Blessed’ dress.

Home births were once the royal standard

Like most upper class British women, it used to be that royal ladies gave birth at home (and by ‘home’, we mean palace).

Princess Diana broke that tradition however by delivering both Prince William and Prince Harry at the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s hospital in London. Kate did the same with her three and Meghan is likely to follow suit.

The Queen will be the first to know that the baby has arrived

There’ll be no fighting over who gets the phone call first to say that Baby Sussex has arrived for that honour must go to Queen Elizabeth II, the baby’s great-grandmother.

Only after the monarch has been informed can the news be relayed to the rest of the couple’s family, followed by a formal announcement from Buckingham Palace.

The pair got a great view of the Sydney Opera House.

The birth of a Royal baby is celebrated with a 62-gun salute

Royal tradition dictates that after a new member of The Firm is born, the news is heralded by a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London. This takes about 10 minutes to complete and is exactly what a mother wants when she’s trying to get her newborn to sleep.

An official birth announcement is posted outside Buckingham Palace

The Royals have – gasp! – embraced social media in recent years, releasing key tidbits of news but that doesn’t stand in the way of the traditional elements of royal life that we know and love.

This means that the official announcement of the birth will be placed on an easel outside Buckingham Palace. The wording is very formal and reveals the baby’s gender, as well as when he or she was born.

The baby’s name and an official portrait will be released in the days to come following the birth.

Harry and Meghan were given Australian-themed gifts from the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove and his wife, Lady Cosgrove.

A town crier announces the royal baby’s birth in London

In the days before news was available to us online in the seconds after it happened, a town crier was the preferred mode of getting the latest information to the masses.

Wearing his tricorn hat and ringing a bell to summon attention, the town crier would shout the news.

That tradition is still carried on in London when a royal baby is born with one by the name of Tony Appleton serving as the town crier after Princess Charlotte’s birth.

Royal babies don’t have surnames

The Royals are renowned for having a string of names but none have an official last name.

Up until the first world war, the royal family went under the mouthful of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha as a ‘house’ name (like The Tudors or The Stewarts) which, considering Great Britain was at war with Germany at the time, was deemed to be too Germanic.

To keep on side with his subjects, King George V, the present Queen’s grandfather, renamed his family as Windsor which the Queen then amended to Mountbatten-Windsor in 1960 to combine her family name with that of Prince Philip.

However, if you are an HRH you don’t need to use a surname.

Just to be even more confusing, Prince Harry was known as Harry Wales when he served in the forces in Afghanistan as he is the son of Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.

Princess Eugenie and her sister Princess Beatrice have both been known to go under the surname of York as their father is Prince Andrew, Duke of York so maybe Harry and Meghan’s bub will follow suit and use the surname Sussex when the need arises.

Meghan’s definitely glowing!

The Royal baby’s first official appearance will be his or her christening

If you’re hanging out for that first glimpse of Baby Sussex, you might not want to hold your breath. Yes, there’s bound to be a glimpse of His or Her Royal Cuteness when Meghan leaves hospital after the birth but after that, it’s not usual to see the new baby until their Christening which can be weeks after their arrival.

More tradition comes in the form of the christening gown which has been passed down through the Royal Family for eight generations. Known as the Honiton christening gown, the garment that Baby Sussex will wear is actually a replica of the dress that Queen Victoria commissioned for her first-born child, her daughter Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa. Little Princess Victoria was baptised in 1841 in Buckingham Palace, on her parents’ first wedding anniversary.

The gown had been inspired by the Queen’s own wedding dress, and was made from white silk with a handmade lace overlay. The dress was worn by 62 royal babies over the course of its 163 years of royal service. Five monarchs have been baptised in the gown, beginning with Victoria and Albert’s first son, the future Edward VII. George V, Edward VIII, George VI and the Queen all wore the white lace dress, as did Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry.

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