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10 Clever Ways the Royals Have Hid Their Pregnancies

We've decoded all the royals' tricks for hiding their baby bumps in advance of the official announcement a royal baby is on the way, starting with the first post-announcement photo of Meghan Markle!

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Meghan Duchess of SussexPhil Noble/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Meghan Markle just as the baby news broke

On October 15, the official website of the royal family officially announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting their first baby in the Spring of 2019. Since then, Meghan Markle hasn’t been the slightest bit shy about flaunting how her body has changed during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. And we applaud her for that (and besides, she looks amazing, and if she hadn’t been so incredibly svelte before, we’d never have even noticed a change).

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Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of SussexShutterstock

Just two days later, the changes are unmistakable

We couldn’t resist another photo of the just-announced expectant Duchess of Sussex because seriously, she looks radiant. Here, on October 17, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry visit Mountain View, a family run farm in Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia. Check out the delicious foods she’s going to be giving up because of her pregnancy.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of SussexShutterstock

Pre-announcement: The distraction trick

Prior to the royal family’s official announcement, Duchess Meghan was far more demure about keeping visible signs of her pregnancy under wraps. Here at a performance of Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theater on August 29, the papers noted that she was showing off her lovely legs. Now, we know why—it was about keeping everyone’s eyes off her belly! Here’s how Baby Sussex will change the royal line of succession.

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Meghan Duchess of SussexShutterstock

The big coat trick

On September 20, just one month after the Hamilton sighting, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, arrives with her mother, Doria Ragland, and hubby Prince Harry to host an event launching a cookbook. At right around 12 weeks into her pregnancy, it becomes harder for a woman to disguise her changing silhouette, but Meghan does her best with an oversized blue coat. Here were the other clues we missed of Meghan Markle’s pregnancy.

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Meghan Duchess of SussexTim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock

The ounce-of-flounce trick

Just a few days after she used the big-coat trick, Meghan employed a bit of flounce around the waist to distract from whatever pregnancy-related changes she felt might have been observable. Another term for this might be the “preoccupy with peplum” trick. Once a royal baby is born, these are the royal rules that his parents must follow.

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Meghan Duchess of SussexBeretta/Sims/REX/Shutterstock

(Don’t) say it with flowers

That same week, Meghan wore black (everyone knows black is slimming), and held a rather large bouquet of flowers in front of her belly at the “Oceania” exhibition opening at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

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Catherine Duchess of Cambridge and Prince WilliamHordle/REX/Shutterstock

Bag-over-the-belly trick

The belly-obscuring-bouquet is actually a variation on the bag-over-belly style of pregnancy concealment famously employed by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in all three of her pregnancies. Here, she and Prince William visit the “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” exhibition by Paul Cummins at the Tower of London in early August of 2014, when she was early in her pregnancy with Princess Charlotte. Because this was her second pregnancy, and each consecutive pregnancy tends to “show” earlier than the last, it was likely the Duchess was already conscious of changes.

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Catherine Duchess of CambridgeDavid Hartley/REX/Shutterstock

“Tartan” it up

Here, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits St. Andrew’s School in Pangbourne, Berkshire, Britain just four days before she announced her pregnancy with Prince George (born on July 22, 2013). She’s using a trick that her late mother-in-law Diana, Princess of Wales used in her pregnancies: Wear a busy pattern to distract the eyes away from details.

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Princess DianaShutterstock

The original Tartan trick, a la Princess Diana

Princess Diana was barely pregnant with Prince William in this photo of her and Prince Charles at the Braemar Games in Scotland, taken in September 1981, but she does a wonderful job of concealing any changes to her silhouette by distracting everyone with a colorful plaid pattern along with intricate details like buttons and ruffles.

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Prince Charles And Princess DianaLomas/Daily Mail/REX/Shutterstock

The billowing skirt plus blazer trick

The royal family announced that Diana was pregnant (with Prince William) on November 5, 1981. Just one week earlier, Diana was hiding her changing body under a billowing skirt and a blazer (plus a hat, although Diana loved hats and wore them often, pregnant or not). Don’t miss these Princess Diana fashion tips you can still use today.

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Princess DianaJames Gray/Daily Mail/REX/Shutterstock

Thick fabric, dropped waist

Diana’s pregnancy with Prince Harry was announced on February 13, 1984. Just five days earlier, she’s photographed in this dropped-waist dress constructed of a thick, sturdy fabric. Never underestimate the power of a dropped waist to divert the eyes from a growing waist!

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Prince William receiving flowersShutterstock

Another trick: Not showing up at all

On September 8, 2014, the royal family announced Duchess Catherine’s pregnancy (with Princess Charlotte). That same day, she was nowhere to be found when Prince William was out and about, but that’s because Kate Middleton suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum during her pregnancies, which is extremely debilitating morning sickness. Next, find out the pregnancy rules royal ladies must follow.

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.