Prince Harry is an “incredibly proud” new papa.
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan of Sussex’s first royal baby was born Monday, a boy weighing 7 pounds, 3 ounces, according to Buckingham Palace, only minutes after the palace said Meghan went into labor early Monday.
That means Baby Sussex – name still unknown – has arrived just about one year after the red-haired prince and the former Meghan Markle married in a spectacular wedding at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018.
“Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex was safely delivered of a son at 05.26 hours. The baby weighs 7lbs 3oz. The Duke of Sussex was present for the birth,” the palace statement said.
The statement said Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince William and Duchess Kate and Harry’s maternal aunts and uncle have all been informed and “are delighted with the news.”
“The Duchess’s mother, Doria Ragland, who is overjoyed by the arrival of her first grandchild, is with Their Royal Highnesses at Frogmore Cottage. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.”
In an interview at Windsor after the birth, a beaming Harry told TV cameras and reporters the baby was “very healthy.”
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“I’m very excited to announce that Meghan and myself had a baby boy earlier this morning, a very healthy boy. Mother and baby are doing incredibly well. It’s been the most amazing experience I could ever have possibly imagined. How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension, but we’re both absolutely thrilled and so grateful for all the love and support from everybody out there. It’s been amazing, so I just wanted to share this with everybody.”
He said they had not decided on a name yet. “The baby’s a little bit overdue so we’ve had a little bit of time to think about it, that’s the next bit. For us we’ll be seeing you guys in probably two days time as planned,” Harry said.
He said the birth of his son was “amazing” and he was “over the moon.”
“I haven’t been at many births. This is definitely my first birth. It was amazing…. I’m so incredibly proud of my wife. As every father and parent would ever say, your baby is absolutely amazing. This little thing is absolutely to die for. So I’m just over the moon.”
Although this particular royal birth broke with some recent royal traditions, Harry and Meghan kept to one dating from the centuries before modern communications: The posting of an announcement of the birth on an easel at the gates of Buckingham Palace.
Framed in wood and set on a gold-painted easel, the announcement said” “The Queen and the Royal Family are delighted at the news that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex was safely delivered of a son at 0526am today. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.”
The official announcement of the actual birth came about an hour after the palace released a statement that said Meghan, 37, had gone into labor in the early hours of Monday with Harry by her side.
But we aren’t likely to know officially where the baby was born – possibly at home at Frogmore Cottage at Windsor – or see the family together for at least a while. Harry, 34, and Meghan announced last month they intend to keep the birth private initially.
The baby is Queen Elizabeth II’s eighth great-grandchild, seventh in line to the throne, and the first American, mixed-race baby ever born into the royal family.
It is unlikely the child will have a title of “Royal Highness” under current rules, unless the queen chooses to intervene.
It is possible the baby was born at Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Castle estate, Harry and Meghan’s newly renovated home. If so, this would be the first royal at-home birth since the queen delivered her four children at Buckingham Palace or Clarence House between 1948 and 1964. Prior to 1977, when the queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, delivered her first child at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, all senior royal births took place at home.
In April, following weeks of conflicting media reports about where the baby would be born and under what circumstances, Buckingham Palace (where Harry and Meghan’s new office is based) announced that the couple had made “a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private.
“The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family.”
So, for this royal birth there was no media mob waiting outside St. Mary’s Hospital in London, where Duchess Kate of Cambridge’s three children in the last six years were born.
Instead, the couple are expected to appear with the baby to pose for a small pool of photographers on the Windsor Castle grounds Wednesday.
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Harry and Meghan’s choices are different from brother Prince William and sister-in-law Duchess Kate, but they are not entirely unprecedented. Others of the queen’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren have been born in hospitals other than St. Mary’s, without the attendant hoopla surrounding the birth of a child born close to the throne.
The Sussex baby is not going to be a future monarch. But the “American royal baby” is still of enormous public interest in the United Kingdom, and not just as the child of Harry and the grandchild of the late Princess Diana. The baby is also the child of Meghan Markle, the divorced, biracial American actress, who swept Harry off his feet three years ago and brought some Hollywood glamour and California insouciance into the tradition-ruled royal family.
Baby Sussex will be the first royal baby from the Sussex line born in hundreds of years, the first half-American royal baby, and the first baby born into the royal family ever to be acknowledged to have part-African descent.
The baby will be seventh in line to the throne, behind Prince Harry, who is currently sixth in line.
The couple recently moved out of Kensington Palace, where they shared a cramped two-bedroom flat, into new digs at Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Castle estate (not to be confused with grander Frogmore House) about 22 miles west of London.
The manor house, near to Frogmore House where the couple held one of their wedding receptions last year, is thus more secluded and secure behind the gates of Windsor Castle than at Kensington, located in the busy, noisy heart of central London.
The child’s name typically isn’t disclosed for at least a few days. Will he be a prince or merely an earl? That decision is up to the queen, 93, who usually follows a set of general rules about such things laid down in 1917 by her grandfather, King George V.
The queen already has seven other great-grandchildren. Four – the grandchildren of her daughter, Princess Anne – have no titles.
But the three children of her grandson Prince William, son to Prince Charles and second in line to the throne, and his wife, Duchess Kate, all have royal titles: Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, who turned 4 on May 2, and Prince Louis, who turned 1 year old on April 23.
William and Kate’s babies were all born in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in London, not far from Kensington Palace and also the birthplace of William and Harry in the 1980s.
But many things about this latest little royal are different than all those who came before.
The baby will have dual British and American citizenship, at least initially: Meghan is still an American and is the process of acquiring British citizenship. Under American law a baby born abroad to a U.S. citizen automatically acquires American citizenship at birth if the parent was born and raised in the U.S., as Meghan was.
Also, this is the first Baby Sussex in hundreds of years. Harry is the first royal to hold the title Duke of Sussex (bestowed by the queen on his wedding day) since the last holder got the title in 1801. And that duke never had any legitimate children.
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