Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are about to add another member to the royal family this year, but there are a lot of rules they have to follow during Markle's pregnancy.
Markle is expected to give birth sometime in the spring. Kensington Palace announced her pregnancy in mid-October, meaning that there is a good chance her baby will be born before the summer starts. In the meantime, she has been saddled with a lot of responsibility to look and act in a way that conforms with royal standards.
Markle is a rare case for the royal family. Not only is it unusual for members of the monarchy to marry Americans, but Markle is a celebrated actress with a huge career in TV. Beyond that, she is the first person of color to marry into the royal family in at least a few hundred years.
All of these factors just put more scrutiny onto Markle. Because she has an established fan base, many Americans — especially Suits fans — are keeping an eye on royal life in a way that they never have before. In some ways, this means that Markle must follow royal decorum even more closely than others, since all eyes are on her.
This is especially true during pregnancy. People all around the United Kingdom revel in the opportunity to share in the royal family's happy occasion, and Markle is expected to live up to their notions of royalty. For better or for worse, Markle's pregnancy comes with a lot of rules, restrictions and traditions.
Here are some of the guidelines Markle will have to follow during her pregnancy and child birth.
In spite of modern science's accurate guesses, the royal family is not big on gender reveals. According to a report by Express, Markle does not even know the gender of her baby and is expected not to find out until birth. The royal family will learn the baby's gender along with the rest of the world sometime this spring.
Markle also reportedly has a small selection of names to choose from — the names of other royals. The royal family typically pick names of their family or ancestors for their newborns, giving Markle a narrow and traditional field of options.
Queen Must Know First
Markle and Prince Harry had also better keep Queen Elizabeth II on speed dial, as they are expected to call her before anyone else when their child is born. Royal tradition reportedly dictates that the monarch be the first person to know about the birth outside of the delivery room. After that, Markle and Prince Harry's staff will call others, including the Prime Minister, the rest of the family and other influential figures.
One rule that may surprise royal followers prevents Markle and Prince Harry from having a baby shower. This is actually a sign of humility. As the couple is extremely wealthy. As fun as a celebration might be, the royal family does not want to solicit gifts in any way when they could go out and buy supplies for themselves.
There are also tight strictures on maternity clothing in the royal family, according to a report by Reader's Digest. Markle is expected to keep her outfits even more conservative than usual during her pregnancy, with a specific mandate against low-cut tops.
A custom that may seem strange to Americans is the use of the term "fall pregnant." Markle is expected not to use terms like "get pregnant," instead referring to the happy occasion as "falling pregnant."
The turn of phrase might alarm some protective parents out there, but Markle will have to get used to it.
First Photo Op
One thing that the royal family is very protective of is the new baby's first photo op. Markle is expected to be ready for a picture on the hospital steps on the same day that her baby is born, just as Kate Middleton was last year. This is reportedly a big part of the reason why the royal family no longer allows home births, as the sight of a new royal is an inspiration too great to pass up.
Knitted Swaddling Blanket0comments
Finally, there is a very specific, very precious type of swaddling blanket that Markle and Prince Harry's baby is expected to be wrapped in after their birth. The blanket comes from G.H. Hurt & Son, the company that has made the royal family's receiving blankets for the last century.
However, of all the rules, there might be some breathing room on this one, as Prince George was introduced to the world in a different brand upon his birth just a few years ago.