Like any parents-to-be, Prince Harry and Meghan are busy preparing for their life-changing new arrival.
And while the royal couple won’t exactly have the money worries some face with their first baby, they’ll still have many of the same hopes and fears as any new mum and dad.
So, with Baby Sussex expected to arrive in a matter of days, royal sources say they are now “busy concentrating on practicing birthing techniques and preparing themselves for some sleepless nights ahead”.
Those sleepless nights will be taking place in Frogmore Cottage, newly renovated for a reported £3million, in the grounds of Windsor Castle where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were married last year.
Since they announced their happy news to the world last October during their royal tour of Australia – with Harry saying: “We couldn’t think of a better place” – the world has been buzzing with excitement for the new baby.
So as Harry and Meghan ready themselves, we take look behind the scenes of what’s likely to be in store for the newest member of the royal family and what the parents can expect from country life.
The mum-to-be has broken a four-decade royal tradition by deciding against the hospital where Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth.
She and Harry decided to shun the posh Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.
Instead it’s understood super-fit Meghan is aiming to have a home birth.
However, as it will be her first baby and she is 37 she also has a Plan B of another private maternity unit nearby. This is rumoured to be the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London or Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey.
The former actress has been very keen to have holistic birth and has been spotted at an upmarket wellness centre called Ilapothecary in Kensington.
The couple spent two-and-a-half hours at the London centre which offers a range of workshops and homeopathic treatment and teaches breathing and massage techniques.
The store also sells products which “counteract the stresses of modern living, environmental and digital pollution, mental stress and body fatigue”, though the pair left the store empty-handed.
A royal source said: “It’s very in keeping with Meghan’s holistic outlook on life and everything is geared towards the wellbeing of mother and baby.”
With a host of famous names at the Royal Wedding could power couple George and Amal Clooney in the running to gather round the baptismal font? Or Serena Williams?
One strong possibility is close friend Benita Litt — Meghan is godmother to both of her daughters —who were also bridesmaids at the wedding.
Or could it be the couple’s close friends Jessica and Ben Mulroney, who hosted secret dinners for the Sussexes when they were still dating.
As for other royals, while it’s not commonplace, Harry’s cousin Princess Eugenie is the most likely, as living close to one another at Kensington Palace saw her and Meghan bond over the past year.
Royal expert and editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine, Ingrid Seward says: “Traditionally royal babies have between five and eight godparents but there’s no hard and fast rule on this.
“I expect Harry and Meghan will want a mixture of family and close friends, people who have been extra close to them in the years of their relationship and marriage.
“It’s a very exciting time for everyone involved.”
For the past two years the pair shared the Prince’s two-bedroom Nottingham cottage at Kensington Palace.
But with a new baby on the way and a split from his brother Prince William as he is prepped to take over responsibilities as the Prince of Wales, the Sussexes are forging their own path.
Enamoured with the surroundings of Windsor Castle following their wedding last May, the couple were gifted a new home by the Queen to start life as a family.
Now they’ve moved in to Frogmore Cottage, pictured above, tucked away in the privacy of Frogmore House which will offer the couple some welcome seclusion as they embark upon parenthood.
The cottage was originally built in the 18th century and in 1875 Queen Victoria had breakfast at the cottage saying it was a place with an immense number of frogs which she found “quite disgusting”.
Fortunately for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex their new home was redesigned by Vicky Charles the interior designer behind Soho House, and is rumoured to be filled with shabby chic, yet sumptuous designs.
Local resident Karen Corden says: “A lot of people commute to the capital, just as Harry and Meghan will probably do, so sometimes it really feels like a mini London.”
“We can’t wait to welcome them as our new neighbours.”
Harry and Meghan have just given up the lease on a four-bedroom, £2.5m mansion in Oxfordshire where they entertained friends George and Amal Clooney.
As mum and dad are both advocates of keeping fit and healthy, they’ll be sure to instil good habits in their offspring.
Meghan’s mum Doria is teaches yoga and the Duchess has even converted former wildman Harry to the healing powers of the practice. It could be a way to meet like-minded parents, too.
Lou Fox-Potter, who runs a local parent and baby yoga class, says: “As Meghan and Harry will know, yoga is a great workout for the body and mind.
“We offer a sensory baby yoga class and it’s a great way for parents to bond with their babies and get a great workout.
“It’s also fun and the perfect chance to meet other mums, so if Meghan would like to join us, we’d be thrilled.”
But if she fancies getting out for some exercise, she might fancy the local Buggy Fit group, which trains on the Long Walk, behind her new home.
Instructor Zoe Bruggraber said: “It’s a great way to have fun, be in the outdoors with your baby and meet other mums. If Meghan were to pop her head over the fence and to ask to join in, we’d welcome her with open arms.”
With Eton a stone’s throw away across the river from their Windsor home, if baby Sussex is a boy he could follow his dad into the exclusive school.
Harry and brother William both attended a Montessori nursery for their younger years, a pre-school with a less traditional approach to education and an emphasis on learning through play and exploration.
Luckily for the Sussexes, Windsor is home to not one but three Montessori nurseries, all a short drive away from Frogmore Cottage.
Kristin Wright and Laura Woodcock, owners of Puddleduck Nursery in Windsor, employ some of the same methods for dozens of happy children who attend their nursery every day.
Kristen says: “We focus a lot on kindness and building empathy and helping to make the world a better place by teaching great values to all of our children.
Laura adds: “We love getting the children outside as much as possible and allowing them to learn through play and nurturing experiences.”
No doubt Diana’s parenting will have had an influence on Harry, who wanted him to have as much as a normal upbringing as possible.
She took Harry and brother William to theme parks and was always a source of great fun as well as trying to keep them out of the spotlight as much as possible.
Meghan has credited her mother Doria’s laid back approach as being a great source of inspiration and also spoke of their deep friendship.
Meghan and Harry are also recruiting a nanny to help with the baby, with the Duchess said to have told recruiters she “favours an American over a Brit”.
The couple have also said they don’t mind a female or a male nanny – which could lead to two royal firsts.
Prince Charles is well versed in having three grandchildren thanks to William and Kate and Camilla has often said how “wonderful” he is with them.
Then there’s the great-grandparents, the Queen and Prince Philip, who will no doubt be overjoyed at the new arrival.
It’s likely Meghan will want to be a hands-on mum and Harry is known for being especially great with children, so they may decide against having a nanny or even a manny.
Perhaps the arrival of the new baby will pave the way for Meghan to finally forgive her father, who she hasn’t spoken to for a year since her wedding after he was exposed for colluding with paparazzi to sell photos.
Only time will tell.
Parents’ night out
What if the new parents get a rare night off baby duties?
Windsor has got plenty on offer with a host of great restaurants, theatres and even the local WI if Meghan fancies getting stuck into community life.
There are lots of pubs for Harry to pop into after staying away from alcohol in solidarity with his pregnant wife for the last eight months.
Harry’s local pub is the aptly named Windsor Castle, in the shadow of the imposing castle itself.
Manager Tony Dawson says: “We had a special Harry and Meghan cask beer for the royal wedding so I’ll be ordering that back in again and hopefully they’ll pop over and we can have a few pints to wet the baby’s head.
“It’s been nothing but excitement from the locals when we heard they were moving here, we can’t wait to welcome them into the community.”
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