Meghan’s busy pregnancy in the months leading up to the birth

The Duchess of Sussex had a busy pregnancy in what was her first year as a member of the royal family.

American actress Meghan, 37, fell pregnant around two months after marrying the Duke of Sussex in a historic royal wedding in Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel.

Meghan and Harry in the summer
The newlywed duke and duchess at a friend’s summer wedding in August on Meghan’s birthday (Yui Mok/PA)

Kensington Palace confirmed the news in October, saying a delighted Harry and Meghan would be welcoming their first child in the spring.

The duchess appears to have had a healthy, straightforward pregnancy.

Whereas the Duchess of Cambridge suffered from severe morning sickness with all three of her children, Meghan was out and about in the early days.

Royal tour of Australia
Meghan, with a hint of a baby bump, and Harry in Sydney with Australia’s Governor General Peter Cosgrove and his wife Lynne on the first day of their Australian tour (Phil Noble/PA)

News that the former Suits star was expecting a baby came as the duke and duchess began their first long-haul overseas tour.

The busy 16-day trip to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga featured some 76 engagements.

Royal tour of New Zealand – Day Four
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex put on traditional Maori cloaks called Korowai during a visit to Te Papaiouru, Ohinemutu, in Rotorua, New Zealand (Paul Edwards/The Sun/PA)

In the drought-affected city of Dubbo, the duchess told farmer Emily Carroll that she was “feeling pretty good so far” and “running on adrenaline”.

But she did pull out of an arranged meeting with Invictus Games competitors after a late night at the opening ceremony in Sydney on October 21 when the event overran by two hours.

Harry urged his wife to pace herself during the marathon trip and the mother-to-be opted to rest.

A royal source said at the time that she was “not sick, just tired” and was keen to take part in everything.

They added: “We have to try to pace her. We have to make sure she is well paced and not overdoing it.

Invictus Games
The duke and duchess at the Invictus Games 2018 opening ceremony, which overran (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“She had a very late night last night.

“She wants to do everything, but Prince Harry is encouraging her to pace herself.”

Precautions were taken in Tonga because of the Zika virus, which can be contracted through mosquito bites.

Royal tour of Tonga
Meghan and Harry in Tonga (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The original plan was for the duke and duchess to walk through the Tuloa forest together, but in the end only Harry did.

On a visit to the Royal Variety care home in Twickenham on December 18 to meet retired actors, directors and entertainers, Meghan revealed she was “feeling very pregnant”.

Meghan at the Royal Variety Charity care home
The duchess taking part in Christmas decoration making during a visit to the Royal Variety Charity’s residential nursing and care home (Geoff Pugh/PA)

Speculation grew that the baby was due soon when Meghan told well-wishers on Christmas Day: “We are excited. We’re nearly there.”

And in the Queen’s Christmas message, the monarch said of the baby that it was “expected soon”.

Harry, who dubbed the baby “our little bump”, and Meghan are set to raise their child in Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate, a decision which prompted rumours of a rift between Meghan and Kate.

Meghan and the royal family at Christmas Day church
The Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of Sussex arriving for the Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham (Joe Giddens/PA)

But on Christmas Day, the two duchesses were all smiles together as they walked to church.

Kate told members of the public at Leicester University that she was looking forward to Harry and Meghan’s baby, saying: “It’s such a special time to have more kiddies”, and added that it would be lovely for her children to have a new cousin.

Meghan has been physically fit during her pregnancy, but there has been emotional heartache.

Her estranged father Thomas Markle, who missed his daughter’s wedding after ill health and being caught staging paparazzi photographs, gave interviews saying he was being “shunned” by Meghan, and that she had not spoken to him for months and was not replying to his daily text messages.

Unnamed close friends of Meghan eventually challenged the reports, telling the US magazine People: “He’s never called; he’s never texted. It’s super-painful.”

Five of her confidantes also spoke out in an effort to counter the “global bullying” directed at her.

Mr Markle denied the claims and went on to release a deeply personal letter his daughter wrote to him following her wedding.

With it growing increasingly unlikely the royal infant will meet his or her maternal grandfather, the baby boy or girl has already been embraced by one west London community as part of their family.

Cooks at a Hubb Community Kitchen, which Meghan visited as part of her support of the Grenfell cookbook, lovingly told the duchess her baby would be considered their “grandchild”.

Greeting members of the Hubb Community Kitchen
The duchess during her visit to the Hubb Community Kitchen in London in November (Chris Jackson/PA)

The duchess has kept busy in the months leading up to the birth, and pressed on with her plan to hit the ground running in her new life as a royal by announcing her first four patronages.

In January, Meghan became patron of the National Theatre, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, animal welfare organisation Mayhew and Smart Works which provides high-quality interview clothes and training for unemployed women in need.

On a visit to Smart Works in north Kensington, London, she championed the power of women supporting each other, adding: “It’s not just about donating your clothes and seeing where they land – but really being part of each other’s success stories as women.”

Meghan at Smart Works
Meghan talks with Patsy Wardally during her visit to Smart Works (Clodagh Kilcoyne/PA)

A few days later, six-months-pregnant Meghan told well-wishers on a day trip to Birkenhead in January that her due date was the end of April or the beginning of May.

Royal visit to Birkenhead
Meghan, with Harry, cradles her bump on a day trip to Birkenhead (Aaron Chown/PA)

There had been speculation the duchess might give birth in March because of her sizeable bump.

Royal visit to Birkenhead
Harry and Meghan officially open Number 7, a ‘Feeding Birkenhead’ citizens supermarket and community cafe, at Princess Pavements, Pyramids Shopping Centre (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Meghan also told nine-year-old Kitty Dudley that she did not know whether she was having a girl or a boy when quizzed about baby names.

The duchess became known for cradling her bump frequently during public appearances.

There were outings to Meghan’s other new patronages, with the duchess cuddling Minnie the dog at Mayhew, and visiting the National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Meghan at Mayhew
The duchess meets a Jack Russell called Minnie during a visit to Mayhew, an animal welfare charity she is now supporting (Eddie Mulholland/Daily Telegraph/PA)
Meghan at the National Theatre
Meghan’s growing bump during a visit to the National Theatre in London on January 30 (Jon Bond/The Sun/PA)
Duchess of Sussex at the Association of Commonwealth Universities
The Duchess of Sussex speaks to Marshall Scholar Logan Brown during a visit to the Association of Commonwealth Universities in London (Yui Mok/PA)

An away day to Bristol amid wintry snow storms saw Meghan and Harry tour the Bristol Old Vic theatre.

The Sussexes at the Bristol Old Vic
Meghan and Harry greeting well-wishes in the snow outside the Bristol Old Vic theatre (Marc Giddings/The Sun/PA)

And at the charity One25, the duchess came up with the idea to write personal messages of love and empowerment for street sex workers in Bristol to find on bananas in food parcels when they access night outreach support.

Meghan's banana messages
Messages written on fruit by the duchess when she was helping to prepare food parcels at One25 (Toby Melville/PA)

Meghan has also been out and about at glamorous evening galas, including the premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s Totem at the Royal Albert Hall, and a special screening of The Wider Earth at the Natural History Museum.

The Totem premiere
The duchess in sequins at the premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s Totem, in support of Sentebale (Paul Grover/Daily Telegraph/PA)
Harry and Meghan at the Natural History Museum
Harry and Meghan at the Natural History Museum in London for a gala performance of The Wider Earth (Yui Mok/PA)

Harry joked “There’s a heavy baby in there” at a reception for the Endeavour Fund Awards when Meghan was seven months pregnant.

Celebrations ahead of the birth included a solo trip to New York City where the American former actress caught up with friends including stylist Jessica Mulroney, and attended an exclusive baby shower, with the private jet journey and penthouse suite, reportedly funded by friends, said to have cost some £300,000.

The heavily pregnant royal also carried out an official overseas tour in her third trimester, when she and Harry travelled to Morocco at the request of the British Government.

Meghan in Morocco
The Duchess of Sussex – with a henna design on her hand – talks to two girls during a visit to the Education For All boarding house in Asni Town, Atlas Mountains, Morocco (Tim Rooke/PA)
Harry and Meghan in Rabat
Harry and Meghan leave the residence of the King of Morocco in Rabat (Yui Mok/PA)

In early March, the duchess joined the Queen and other royals at a special reception in Buckingham Palace to mark 50 years since the Prince of Wales was invested with his title.

Fiftieth anniversary of the Investiture of the Prince of Wales
The Queen joined by Charles, and Kate, Camilla, William, Harry and Meghan at the palace reception (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

She also made a surprise appearance on stage with Harry at the WE Day UK event in London, and carried out a solo engagement on International Women’s Day (IWD).

Meghan at WE Day UK
Meghan was brought on stage by Harry at the WE Day UK event in Wembley (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The duchess revealed she does not read newspapers or engage with Twitter to avoid getting “muddled” by the “noise”, whether positive or negative, as she joined a star-studded panel of feminists and national figures on IWD.

Meghan on IWD
The Duchess of Sussex after a panel discussion convened by The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (Yui Mok/PA)

The Duchess of Sussex joins today's unique #InternationalWomensDay panel, convened by @QueensComTrust, to discuss the obstacles that women face and the global opportunities that could be unlocked if girls and women are treated fairly and equally alongside men.

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) March 8, 2019

On Commonwealth Day on March 11, Meghan and Harry met young Canadians at Canada House, and were given a baby bodysuit and pair of tiny moccasins.

Harry and Meghan at Canada House
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are given baby gifts by Canadian High Commissioner to the UK (Chris Jackson/PA)

They went on to gather with the royals at the annual Commonwealth Day service in Westminster Abbey.

Meghan and the royals on Commonwealth Day
Meghan chats to the Prince of Wales in Westminster Abbey (Richard Pohle/The Times/PA)

This was due to be Meghan’s last official public appearance before the baby was due, although she continued to hold private meetings behind the scenes.

But the duchess carried out an additional engagement in the wake of the Christchurch mosque terror attacks in New Zealand, when she signed a book of condolence in London with Harry on March 19.

The duchess on her final official engagement
The duchess signing a book of condolence at New Zealand House in London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

She was spotted making a private trip with the duke to the holistic spa Ilapothecary near Kensington Palace on March 29.

The couple set up their own Instagram account @SussexRoyal, part of splitting their household from William and Kate’s, on April 2, posting a message saying it would be used to share “important announcements”.

Then on April 4 came the news that Harry and Meghan had finally moved in to their new home in Windsor, Frogmore Cottage, after building work was completed ahead of the arrival of their baby.

Read Full Story