Meghan Markle shot to TV stardom as Rachel Zane in hit prime-time legal drama Suits and was one of the most popular members of the cast. However, she really cemented her status and a household name and caught the attention of the world, when she married one of the most eligible bachelors on the planet, Prince Harry.
Before long the American actress married her own Prince charming in a lavish ceremony in Windsor Castle. The wedding united the royal family with many of Hollywood’s leading stars, from George Clooney to Oprah Winfrey. For Meghan, becoming the Duchess of Sussex was a dream come true. Now she is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her royal baby.
However, Meghan wasn’t born into royalty. So before she met Prince Harry, she was still making a name for herself as an actress, so her path to success wasn’t always so royal and picture-perfect. Being a princess also comes at a cost and there are plenty of tried and tested royal rules and fashion expectations. So let’s also look at her life before and after Harry, and see some of the things Meghan had to kiss goodbye to and some of the ways she shook royal protocol once she became a royal.
For much of the world, Meghan Markle made her royal debut after her engagement to Prince was announced to the press. However, she had also carved a career for herself as a successful actress and had done many things in her life before she met Harry.
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Meghan had made a name for herself as a prime-time actress, which is the first major thing she was expected to give up before becoming a royal. Meghan also wasn’t born a princess, so during her journey to the top, she didn’t always have the pressure to always maintain a picture perfect online presence. We’re sure there were certain moments, experiences and photos that Meghan would prefer to stay away from the Queen’s watchful eye.
Meghan and Her Family
Meghan grew up in quite a complicated and family with mixed roots. Her father is Caucasian and her African-America mother, Doria Ragland. While her parents, separated, Meghan was mainly brought up by her mother as a single parent when she was growing up.
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Meghan is still close to her mother, and she attended her much-anticipated wedding, but her relationship with her father is a different story. She is reported to not be as close to her father, as he’s been said to be “elusive” and was “not present” when she was growing up. Although her father wasn’t able to attend the wedding, he did comment in the press that Meghan “looks beautiful”.
Meghan and Her Sister
While Meghan may have had a strained relationship with her father, she also has a half-sister named Samantha Grant. When Harry and Meghan announced their engagement, many details emerged in the press about the strained relationship between Meghan and her half-sister.
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It’s true that most sisters argue, but this feud is a little deeper than that. The sisters fell out in 2008, and Samantha has continued to voice her opinion in the media. Samantha feels that while their family went through some emotional and financial struggles, Meghan was more concerned with her career. She’s also set to release a tell-and-all book. Despite this, Meghan has continued to focus on her relationship with her mom and is very close.
On the Path to Success
Before Meghan was pictured in a beautiful gown on her wedding day and became a Duchess, she was still making a name for herself in the acting industry. So she took some roles, which seemed great at the time but we’re sure she would rather the Queen didn’t know about.
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One of these moments was in 2006, when Meghan landed a part in a gameshow Deal or No Deal, showcasing briefcase number 24. While at the time it was a great presenting opportunity for Meghan, she did have to dress in some skimpy outfits. We’re also sure that these photos would be left out of the Royal Family album.
Always a Fashionista
While Meghan may have worn some less royal fashion choices in the past, she was still an aspiring actress and used to living a glamorous life. Meghan was also a bit of a fashionista and regularly attended high profile events in LA.
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In 2010, Meghan was invited to the Some Kind-a Gorgeous Style and Beauty Lounge at the Chateau Marmont. She clearly had an eye for fashion and looks a vision of elegance in her outfit, as she gracefully browsed through branded Benefit cosmetic goodies.
A Motherly Instinct
When Meghan was still living in California and living the life of glamor, it seems she was always had a motherly instinct. Here you can see her posing with the most adorable baby sleepsuit, at Hatley during Kari Feinstein Pre-Emmy Style Lounge, in LA.
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It’s amazing that while she was surrounded by glamor and showbiz, she still found her way to the baby clothes section. Perhaps Meghan Markle was already thinking about becoming a mama. Little did she know that she would one day become a royal mama.
A Promotional Actress
You could usually spot Meghan at numerous high-profile events while she was an aspiring actress. She was also more than happy to pose in promotional caps and branded gear for the press. However, this is one outfit that she wouldn’t be able to wear on her royal outings with Prince Harry.
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When Meghan attended the Kari Feinstein Pre-Emmy Style Lounge in LA, she smiled for the photographers in a branded cap, t-shirt and holding a promotional book at the event. However, now she is a duchess, this outfit would not pass the royal test. She now as to stay neutral in her fashion choices, with no visible brands, so she wouldn’t be able to rock up to Windsor Palace in that cap.
Meghan Experimented on the Red Carpet
When Meghan was a successful TV star, she was often invited to glamorous fashion shows and glitzy premieres. So while she was in the public eye in 2012, she was given free rein to experiment with style, like sequins.
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In June 2012, Meghan strutted onto the red carpet at the USA Networks a ‘Suits‘ Story Fashion Show and wowed the crowd in this black sequin number. Although this outfit is glamorous for an actress, now that she is a royal, she had to tone down the sequins and maintain a quieter and sophisticated style for royal events.
Meghan’s Signature Style
During her time on Suits, Meghan might have felt like she still had to main composure and dress with style, as she was still in the public eye. However, composure and style for an actress are very different than what’s expected for a Duchess.
(L-R) Actors Meghan Markle, Rick Hoffman and Gina Torres attend USA Networks a ‘Suits’ Story Fashion Show on June 12, 2012 in New York, United States. (Photo by Michael Stewart/WireImage)
Here you can see Meghan breaking some royal rules at the USA Networks a ‘Suits‘ Story Fashion Show in 2012. While she is happily laughing next to her co-stars, Rick Hoffman, and Gina Torres, Meghan is still wearing an off-the-shoulder dress. It’s probably one of her staple looks and she loved flashing her collar-bone. However, as a Duchess, she has to keep her shoulder’s demurely out of sight.
Meghan Dared to Be Different
From a young age, Meghan has also devoted her time to charity work and been an activist for various causes. Meghan has been really interested in championing women’s causes and famously wrote a letter to Hilary Clinton about the way the women were portrayed in a misogynistic detergent commercial.
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During her time on Suits, Meghan also continued to be involved in charity work. Here you Annual Charity Day Hosted By Cantor Fitzgerald And BGC. Now that Meghan is a duchess, she can continue with her charity work, but has to tone down her activism, as royalty are not supposed to have any political affiliation.
Meghan’s First Wedding
The world watched in awe as Meghan walked down the aisle to meet Prince Harry in a demure white dress in Windsor Castle in 2018. However, this wasn’t the first time Meghan had walked down the aisle. In 2011, Meghan married her first beau, a producer named Trevor Engelson.
(L-R) Meghan Markle, Amy Gross, Nachum Gross, Trevor Engelson, Michael Gross and Sandy Gross attend COACH Legacy Photo Exhibit by REED KRAKOFF at Coach on August 26, 2006 in East Hampton, NY. (Photo by Billy Farrell/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
The happy couple had been together for seven years before tying the knot in 2011 in a four-day wedding celebration in Jamaica. Meghan and Trevor said their vows in front of 100 close family and friends in an intimate affair. However, by 2013, the relationship went sour and the pair ended up divorcing. When Meghan met the Queen, we’re sure that the fact that she was a divorcee, was a little unconventional. However, everything worked out in the end.
Meghan and Dating
After Meghan divorced her first husband Trevor Engleson, the beautiful star was back on the single scene. For a short period, Meghan was reported to have dated the famous Irish golfer, named Rory McIlroy.
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Although Meghan never really confirmed the relationship officially, there were many pictures on social media and in the media of the pair cozying up together. There was also a video of Meghan pouring ice over Rory for the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. For Meghan, this was another experience on her journey to meet her prince.
Meghan’s Bank Account
Meghan may have come from humble beginnings, but after landing a leading role on Suits, Meghan’s bank account went from strength to strength. She was one of the most popular actresses on the show, which means she also amassed a hefty net worth, in the region of $5 million.
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Of course, this was her bank account before she met Prince Harry and got married. It’s reported that Harry inherited around $16 million after Princess Diana, his mother passed away. He also has a combined income from his royal posts so is worth $40 million. We’re sure even though Meghan was successful in her own right, they won’t have money issues in the future.
Meghan’s Life as an Actress
Before Meghan could inflate her bank account, she had to work hard to pay her dues in Hollywood. Meghan graduated from Northwestern University, before embarking on an acting career. She really has to work her way up to the top, featuring in guest spots and game shows.
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It wasn’t until Meghan landed her big break in the hit cable show Suits that she really made it. She ended up being a series regular on the show for seven seasons. Now that she was at the top of her game, she had it all. It wasn’t until she met Prince Harry that her priorities changed. After all, in royal circles, most people don’t have careers as actresses. Eventually, she would give up her career to take up her new role as a royal Duchess.
We already mentioned that Meghan was very passionate about certain causes from a young age. So even when she was successful in her career, she channeled her ideas into a lifestyle blog, called The Tig. This gave Meghan the chance to pen inspirational posts, champion causes and share beauty tips, recipes and philanthropist writings.
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Meghan worked on the blog for three years and was passionate about it. Like most celebrities, Meghan also had a huge online presence on most platforms, like Instagram and Twitter. Of course, after she met Harry, her social media presence was one thing she would have to give up.
Meghan and the UN
Thankfully for Meghan, her time working on the blog actually lead her to some unexpected places. Since she was already a celebrity and had a large online presence, she used her blog as a source of inspiration for many people for her philanthropic causes.
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Meghan even caught the attention of the UN and after some correspondence, she was invited to the UN as an ambassador and woman’s advocate for participation and leadership. This helped lead her to charity work in Africa and was sure to impress Prince Harry when he met her.
Meghan Dreamt of Being a Princess
Although Meghan and Prince Harry seemed to have met by chance, it seems that years earlier, Meghan had dreamed of being a Princess, and we have the archived blog post to prove it.
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In 2014, long before she met Prince Harry, Meghan penned a blog post, which read “Little girls dream of being princesses. I, for one, was all about She-Ra, Princess of Power.” When she interviewed Princess Alia Al-Senussi, she said she had to “pinch-myself-I’m-emailing-with-a-princess’ moment.” Little did she know what fate had in store for her.
When Meghan Met Harry
Unlike most royal couples, who normally mix in royal circles and are destined to marry someone in a similar family standing, the way Meghan and Harry met was quite a different story. While Meghan and Harry were both famous in their own rights, they had never mixed in the same circles. After all, Meghan was an American actress and Harry is a British Prince.
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Harry and Meghan first met on a blind date in July 2016. Harry later revealed that the couple was introduced by a mutual friend. Amazingly, even though Harry is a Prince, Meghan later said in an interview, “I had no preconceived notions about who he was before they met. Because I’m from the States, you don’t grow up with the same understanding of the royal family.”
Keeping it Low Key
When Harry and Meghan first hit it off, understandably, they chose to keep their relationship low key. It wasn’t until a year later that they were outed as a couple, and eventually announced their relationship and engagement to the press.
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It seems it was the perfect scenario for the couple, as they later said in an interview that it took them time to get to know each other properly. Meghan was still working on Suits at the time, but Harry invited her to Africa while he worked on a charity project. The couple later said that it was their love of charity work and causes, that helped bring them closer together. They spent the subsequent year spending time together in private before they made the decision to get married.
A Royal Engagement
Since Meghan and Harry had kept their relationship under wraps for so long, the world was surprised in November 2017, when the royal engagement was announced. Almost immediately, the couple took center stage in the world’s press and everyone was interested to know about his new blushing bride.
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The couple happily posed for their royal engagement pictures, against the backdrop of Sunken gardens. This was also the favorite location of Harry’s beloved mother, Diana, which made it even more special. As speculation over the royal wedding began to mount, things began to change over life for the lives of Meghan and Harry.
A Royal Wedding
After months of planning, media speculation and much anticipation, finally, the big day arrived. The whole world watched in awe on May 19, 2018, and millions tuned in to watch a live broadcast of the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan at Windsor castle.
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The wedding was memorable for many reasons, from Meghan’s Givenchy dress to a moving speech by Bishop Curry, the first African-American to be invited to speak at a royal wedding about diversity. There were also plenty of moments that broke age-old royal traditions and set this wedding apart from other traditional royal weddings.
Meghan’s Solo Walk down the Aisle
In fact, Meghan and Harry’s wedding broke royal protocol in a few ways. One of the first is the tradition for the father of the bride to walk the bride down the aisle. However, Meghan’s father Thomas Markle announced that he was unable to attend the wedding. So there was much speculation over who would replace him.
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In the end, the Duchess broke royal protocol and stunned everyone by walking down the aisle solo. Many media outlets saw this as part of Meghan’s statement on feminism. While she did make a statement, she did meet Prince Charles halfway down the aisle to escort her to her Prince.
The Wedding Guest List
Another way that Harry and Meghan shook up the system was through the wedding guest list. This was special for a few reasons. The first is that they especially invited 2,640 members of the public to the wedding. These people were recognized for their charity and community work, so they were given the honor of sharing the special day with them.
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Since Meghan was an American celebrity, it seemed natural for her to invites some of her closest showbiz pals. While Will and Kate had also invited some celebs, this was a first for a royal wedding to invite so many celebrities. From George and Amal Clooney to Victoria and David Beckham and even Elton John, it made the wedding even more spectacular, and it could have been a Hollywood movie premiere.
Once the couple married, Meghan became the Duchess of Sussex. This is a prestigious title and comes with great responsibility. So, while Meghan had enjoyed a care-free showbiz lifestyle in LA, now there was a long list of royal rules, which Meghan was expected to follow.
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The Queen’s rules followed every aspect of Meghan’s life, from her wardrobe freedom to curtsy’s, a career change and a social media blackout. While Meghan has managed to stick by most of the Queen’s rules, she has added her own twist to some of them. So let’s take a look at the protocol she’s expected to follow, the ones she’s kept and the ones she’s broken.
Meghan’s Wardrobe Freedom
While Meghan was very passionate in her career, blog, and causes, there were some aspects of her lifestyle which had to change when she met Harry. It seems that some of her former fashion choices wouldn’t fly with the Queen.
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Meghan had been used to gracing the red carpet wearing plunging necklines, black, pants, high heels, patterns, sequins, and shorter dresses. However, when she met the Queen, she would have to revamp her entire wardrobe. Luckily for Meghan, she could make anything look fashionable. While she has broken some rules, she has managed to wow the world with her own signature royal style.
No Sports Wear
When Meghan was still an actress, she had to be conscious of how she dressed an behaved. Still, celebrities are allowed a day off where they can throw on a pair old leggings to lounge around in. Celebrities can also attend promotional events wearing whatever they want.
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In 2014, Meghan attended the Superbowl, dressed in promotional sports gear. She got into the spirit and happily posed with her pals, Nina Agdal, Shay Mitchell and Chrissy Teigen. However, now she is a Duchess, she can’t be seen running errands in her sportswear, and being photographed at events in branded sportswear is a big no-no. So while Meghan does now attend sports events, she mainly sticks to dresses.
No More Selfies
Meghan had been in the industry for a few years and had a celebrity status. So she was used to attending events, engaging with fans and taking selfies with them. Now she is married to Harry, Meghan continues to attend royal engagements and takes the time to personally greet her royal fans.
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Still, while Meghan is still warm to her fans and takes the time to greet them, now she has to follow certain protocols. Now she has to say no to anyone who asks for a selfie, and so far we think she’s sticking to this. The reason behind it is sweeter than it sounds, as she is supposed to encourage eye contact with commoners, so turning your back to take a selfie is discouraged.
Sticking to Royal Rules
Now that Meghan is married, there is a long list of royal rules, which she mostly sticks to. These include curtseying to each royal, only eating when the Queen eats and not being able to choose her seat.
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One quirky royal tradition that Meghan has followed is to always bring a black dress with her, just in case. It’s a royal tradition that members of the royal family have to travel with mourning clothes with them at all times.
Meghan’s Humanitarian work
Before Meghan met Harry and married into royalty, she was proud of her humanitarian work. Meghan devoted much of her spare time to charity organizations, being an ambassador for the UN and didn’t shy away from voicing her opinion on a few topics, like human rights and gender equality.
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Meghan famously recited a quote from Melissa Marchionna: “Teach your daughters to worry less about fitting into glass slippers – and more about breaking glass ceilings.” Now that Meghan was a royal, the questioned remained. Would she be able to continue doing the work she was passionate about?
A Royal Platform for her Charity Work
Thankfully for Meghan, her humanitarian work was one thing that she didn’t have to give up now she was a member of the royal family. Once Meghan formally became a Duchess, it gave her a bigger platform to promote the issues which were close to her heart.
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Now Meghan has the opportunity to work on projects to make more of an impact around the world, like helping children in distress, world hunger, and fighting for equal rights for everyone. Following her marriage, Kensington Palace also launched the Duchess of Sussex’s official page on its website. The page details her past acting career, humanitarian work, and work with UN Women.
Meghan and Kate
Meghan and Kate Middleton both have a great deal in common, as they are both from non-aristocratic families, and they both married Princes. However, there are many differences between the pair, and there has been much media speculation over whether the pair get on.
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Kate and Meghan both have different upbringings in America and England, different career choices and come from opposing worlds. Kate knew about royal protocol before she was married, and is careful to keep everything perfect. However, Meghan isn’t afraid to voice her opinion over her wedding, life with Harry and the new royal baby. So while they are all smiles in public, the media continues to speculate over their relationship.
Breaking the Royal Dress Code
While Kate and Meghan both married into royalty, there were given a strict set of royal rules about their modest dress code. This include, no off-the-shoulder dresses, a skirt and heel length, no ripped jeans, no all black, no dark nail polish and more. Kate has been careful to keep most of these rules at all times. However, Meghan has still managed to put her own twist on some of her outfits.
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On the Queen’s birthday in June 2018, Meghan made her balcony debut wearing an off-the-shoulder designer pale pink dress. Meghan also wore a sleeveless dress to her own Trooping ceremony and has also been spotted wearing dark nail polish. While her outfits are always sophisticated, her break from protocol has caused a stir and seen as a royal fashion statement.
Meghan Shows Her Feelings
The tradition for British royals is to main composure at all times. This includes public displays of affection (PDA). You would never usually see the Queen and Prince Phillip strolling together down the street holding hands. It also covers the way royals are supposed to interact with the public and maintain a little distance.
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While Meghan is still respectful to this British idea, she has been spotted on more than one occasion holding hands in public with Prince Harry, and being adorable together, which is considered a little PDA. The way Meghan interacts with fans on her royal engagements is also very warm. She sometimes hugs fans and she’s not afraid to show her emotions.
Breaking Royal Tour Protocol
After Meghan and Harry tied the knot and jetted off to Australia on their first royal tour together. The tour lasted 16 days and it caused a media frenzy. Thankfully the media were also there to capture every show-stopping outfit that Meghan wore and every royal move along the tour.
Still, the couple managed to cause a stir for another reason. They broke royal protocol at almost every occasion with their PDAs. After all, they were newlyweds in love, and so who could blame them for holding hands and sharing intimate and adorable moments. However, after the couple returned to England, there was another announcement, that no one was expecting yet.
A Royal Baby Shock
In October 2018, the royal couple stunned the world once again with the news that they were expecting a baby. Suddenly all eyes were on the couple once again, and the media had another field day.
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One of the main sources of contention was how the story was reported to the public. At first, the media announced that the baby news was announced at Princess Eugenie’s wedding. Many felt that this would have overshadowed her big day. However, it later emerged that the family already knew, and the wedding gave them a chance to congratulate them.
Breaking Royal Baby Traditions
As you might expect, when you have a royal pregnancy, this is different from a normal pregnancy. There are a whole other set of rules and traditions that Meghan was expected to keep, such as long-distance traveling, no baby showers and choosing the traditional royal hospital for the birth.
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One of the first ways Meghan broke with the protocol is that during the pregnancy, she traveled to New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, and Morocco. In royal circles, they expect that you travel as little as possible during pregnancy.
Meghan’s Controversial Baby Shower
While Meghan may have side-stepped some of the expected royal traditions, she was careful to maintain another tradition. In February, the former actress traveled to New York and her celebrity pals, including Serena Williams and Amal Clooney, threw her a star-studded baby shower.
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Although baby showers have become more popular around the world for ‘commoners’, this was still breaking with tradition for the Duchess. A royal expert, Victoria Arbiter commented on how baby showers are “inappropriate” for members of The Firm. Victoria added how as the Royals are “very wealthy… a lavish baby shower would be seen as highly inappropriate. There’s nothing they can’t go out and buy themselves.”
A Royal Hospital Birth?
While in the past, some members of the royal family gave birth at home, it has become a tradition for royals to now give birth at the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington. In fact, both Princess Diana and Kate Middleton gave birth to all their children in this royal hospital.
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As might have guessed by now, Meghan doesn’t always feel that she has to always follow royal protocol. There has been some speculation over how and where Meghan will give birth to her baby.
A Home Birth?
The royal birth has become a hot topic in the media. Some have reported that she might shun the Lindo Wing for a US-owned hospital The Portland or Frimley Park Hospital, which are both closer to the new residence she shares with Harry. Others have even speculated that Meghan will opt for a home birth at Frogmore Cottage, where she currently lives with Harry.
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Another royal tradition is that as soon as the royal baby arrives, the Queen will be the first person to be told, before anyone else. This might be another rule that Meghan breaks as her mom could be by her side with her during the birth, so she will be the first person to know about the arrival.
A Private Birth
The baby is due in April 2019, and the couple have decided to keep the details about the birth private. An official statement was released saying, “Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private.”
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With so much media attention, we can totally understand why Meghan and Harry decided to break with this tradition and keep some details private. The couple have also decided not to pose for a picture on the steps of the hospital straight after the birth. Meghan is already making an impact in the royal family and is not scared to break with some royal protocol. Only time will tell what’s next for the royal couple.