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14 Royal Pregnancy Rules Meghan Markle Had to Follow When She Was Pregnant

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed baby Archie in May of 2019. When Meghan Markle was pregnant, she had to learn to follow these rules for royal pregnancies.

15 Royal Rules Meghan Markle Will Have to Follow When She's PregnantDavid Fisher/Shutterstock

Learning to “fall” pregnant

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are far from what many consider a traditional royal couple. But when Meghan was pregnant with baby Archie (who will be seventh in line to the British throne, according to the rules of succession), there were many traditions to uphold. And the first was that in British terms, one does not “get pregnant.” Rather, one “falls pregnant.” So if you hear that Meghan had “fallen pregnant,” know that there is no cause for concern. It was perfectly good news.

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The maternity wardrobe couldn’t be too adventurous

We saw a lot of Meghan during her pregnancy since she was still very active, but what we didn’t see a lot of was her 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.

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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.” Meghan’s morning sickness was not a severe as Kate’s, but she did feel tired and like she was “running on adrenaline” while attending to royal engagements throughout her pregnancy.


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.

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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 got some wiggle room. The pregnancy news was announced right before she and Prince Harry launched a tour of Australia, so during her pregnancy she traveled to Australia, Morocco, and New York City. Of course, she was able to travel on a private plane with her own medical team. Here’s what it’s like to travel like royalty.

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex visit to AfricaShutterstock

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.

Royal Baby Archie Mountbatten-Windsor Christening,Chris Allerton/Shutterstock

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.

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A limited layette

With the gender of the heir a tightly-held secret, Meghan wasn’t able to prepare an elaborate layette for baby Archie and instead had to go with neutral colors. In addition, anything but “formal” attire is frowned up for royal babies, so if Meghan had always dreamed of putting Archie in a bib embroidered with, “Spit happens,” sorry, but it’s not happening.

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex visit to Africa - 25 Sep 2019shutterstock

No baby shower

In the past, royal mums haven’t had baby showers—including Kate Middleton and Princess Diana. But, Meghan Markle chose to have a private one with about 15 of her closest friends in New York City. The event was co-hosted by one of Markle’s best friends, Serena Williams. To shower an expectant royal is considered “bad taste,” but Meghan still wanted to celebrate. Don’t worry, the baby will still get lots of toys, just not these popular items that royal parents have banned.

15 Royal Rules Meghan Markle Will Have to Follow When She's PregnantByron Kirk/Shutterstock

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 royal babies have theirs 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.

15 Royal Rules Meghan Markle Will Have to Follow When She's PregnantShutterstock

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. Since Meghan and Harry wanted to keep their birth much more private than other royal births, she had Archie at London’s Portland Hospital. She was taken there in private so no one would know that she was in labor. Here are 13 other royal rules Meghan Markle must follow now.

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex new baby photocall, Windsor Castle, UK - 08 May 2019Domic Lipinski/PA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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.'” But, as expected, Meghan did things a little differently. They didn’t show Archie to the world until two days after he was born during a quick meeting with the media at Windsor Castle. Don’t miss these 19 official portraits of the royal family.

15 Royal Rules Meghan Markle Will Have to Follow When She's PregnantFACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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. The Queen met baby Archie on the morning before they introduced him in front of the press. Find out the 14 etiquette rules every royal must follow.

Royal Baby, London, United Kingdom - 06 May 2019Yui Mok/AP/Shutterstock

Royal birth announcements

When the royal baby is born, Meghan wasn’t picking out baby announcements from the local Hallmark shop. Rather, the baby’s arrival was 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.” They also announced his birth on their Instagram account. Read on for 10 royal birthday traditions you didn’t know existed.


Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared regularly on Reader's Digest, The Huffington Post, and a variety of other publications since 2008. She covers life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. Lauren is also an author of crime fiction; her first full-length manuscript, The Trust Game, was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.