14 Royal Pregnancy Rules Meghan Markle Will Have to Follow
Another royal baby is on the way! Kensington Palace announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting their first child in the spring of 2019. Now that Meghan Markle is pregnant, she’ll have to quickly get on board with these rules for royal pregnancies.
Learning to “fall” pregnant
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are far from what many consider a traditional royal couple. But now that Meghan is pregnant with the newest addition to the royal family (who will be seventh in line, according to the rules of succession), there will be lots of traditions to uphold. And the first is that in British terms, one does not “get pregnant.” Rather, one “falls pregnant.” So when you hear that Meghan has “fallen pregnant,” please don’t be alarmed. It’s perfectly good news.
The maternity wardrobe can’t be too adventurous
While you’ll likely see a lot of Meghan during the seven/eight months during which she’s publically pregnant, what you won’t see is a lot of skin. While maternity fashions have become more body conscious in recent years, it’s virtually unheard of for an expectant royal to show cleavage—despite that larger breasts are as much a natural part of pregnancy as a swollen belly.
Morning sickness is a public matter
Kate Middleton suffered terrible morning sickness in all three of her pregnancies. It was so bad, in fact, that it had a clinical name: hyperemesis gravidarum, which the official royal website explained in a press release is “very acute morning sickness, which may require supplementary hydration, medication, and nutrients.” If Meghan’s pregnancy proves difficult, as Kate’s pregnancies were, Meghan won’t be suffering alone. The entire world will be suffering right along with her.
Forget comfy shoes
A woman’s bosom isn’t the only thing that swells when she’s expecting. Swollen feet are a normal part of pregnancy, and many women cope by wearing comfy shoes, especially sandals, which allow those poor tootsies to breathe. But not expectant royals. Just as they must maintain decorum around their décolletage, they must also keep their toes covered, no matter how swollen their feet or how sweltering the temperatures. Of course, Meghan Markle is not always known to follow the rules; here are a number of ways in which Markle has already broken royal protocol.
Travel is truncated
Most pregnant women are advised against traveling in the third trimester. Royals, however, are advised against traveling at all during their pregnancies, especially overseas. But Meghan might get some wiggle room. The pregnancy news was announced right before she and Prince Harry launched a tour of Australia, and it can only be assumed that she’ll come back to England to give birth. Here’s what it’s like to travel like royalty.
No gender-reveal festivities
Since the 1950s, eager-to-know expectant parents have been happily dispensing with the “mystery” of whether they’re having a boy or a girl via sonogram. And some royals have joined in, including Princess Diana, who learned that Prince Harry would be a boy sometime during the pregnancy (although she didn’t tell Prince Charles, and here’s why). However, what a royal must never do is reveal the gender to the public in advance of the birth.
And about that christening gown…
Since 1841, every royal baby has been christened in an identical robe. The original robe was made for the christening of Queen Victoria’s oldest daughter. Queen Elizabeth was dressed in the same robe for her christening, and so were all her children. In fact, all the Queen’s grandchildren were dressed in that very robe until 2008, when the Earl and Countess of Wessex’s son was dressed in a replica designed to preserve the original, according to the BBC.
A limited layette
With the gender of the soon-to-be-born heir a tightly-held secret, Meghan won’t be able to prepare an elaborate layette, or at least she’ll have to go with a neutral color like yellow. In addition, anything but “formal” attire is frowned up for royal babies, so if Meghan has always dreamed of putting her baby in a bib embroidered with, “Spit happens,” sorry, but it’s not happening.
No baby shower
Meghan Markle won’t be showered with a cake made of diapers. The purpose of a baby shower is to “shower” the expectant mother with useful gifts she can use once her baby is born. To shower an expectant royal as such would be considered “bad taste.” That’s why Kate Middleton never had one, nor did Princess Diana or any other royal mummy. Don’t worry, the baby will still get lots of toys, just not these popular items that royal parents have banned.
Anyway, only special receiving blankets are used
A popular baby shower gift is a receiving blanket, which is a small, lightweight blanket used for swaddling your baby. But there will be no point in gifting Meghan and Harry with receiving blankets, as their baby’s will already have been made by G.H. Hurt & Son, which has been making all royal receiving blankets for the past century. Although when Prince George was born, he was famously introduced to the world in an Aden + Anais swaddle.
Forget home birth
Having spent her share of time in Hollywood, Meghan Markle could be forgiven if she sometimes thinks about what it would be like to give birth at home or even in a bathtub. But it’s not happening. Ironically, home birth was the way of the royals for far longer than it was the way of the general public, continuing all the way until the birth of Prince William in 1982 (Wills was the first royal heir to be born in a hospital). However, ever since then, the protocol is to deliver at St. Mary’s Hospital, in the Lindo Wing. Here are 13 other royal rules Meghan Markle must follow now.
Be prepared for baby’s first photo opp
Even when Kate Middleton had wanted to give birth at home in the Palace, it was not to be. The reason? Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told the Express that “the photos on the hospital steps of St Mary’s are a way of connecting with the public at large at a happy time.” And even if a royal baby were born elsewhere (say, in the case of an emergency, as was the case with Sophie, Countess of Wessex, in 2003), “an immediate photocall would have to be arranged if paparazzi didn’t get a ‘traditional one.’” Don’t miss these 19 official portraits of the royal family.
But first, tell the Queen
When a royal baby is born, the Queen must be notified first and must learn all the details of the royal baby before any information goes public, according to the Express. And please note: If the baby is born before 8 a.m., the Queen must not be woken. “Babies be damned, the Queen needs her beauty sleep,” explains The List. Find out the 14 etiquette rules every royal must follow.
Royal birth announcements
Eddie Mulholland For The Telegraph/Shutterstock
When the royal baby is born, Meghan won’t be picking out baby announcements from the local Hallmark shop. Rather, the baby’s arrival will be announced by a town crier, followed by a typewritten statement placed on an easel in front of Buckingham Palace. As the BBC explains, the public announcement of a royal birth “involves lots of pomp and circumstance.” Read on for 10 royal birthday traditions you didn’t know existed.