Royal Baby: When is Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's baby due, what will it be called and what will the baby's title be?
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle today announced they are expecting a child.
When is the Royal baby due?
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex say they are expecting a baby in spring 2019, Kensington Palace has announced.
In a statement, Kensington Palace said: “Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the Spring of 2019.
“Their Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public.”
Harry and Meghan were wed at Windsor Castle in May and the news was announced on the eve of their first tour outside the UK and Ireland.
The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are said to be “delighted” for the couple.
Doria Ragland, the mother of the duchess, is “very happy about this lovely news” and “looks forward to welcoming her first grandchild”.
There will be much suspense amid the royal baby fever as to what the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will call their baby.
On the one hand, the youngster will be born into the British royal family, where tradition is an intrinsic part of the Windsors’ lives.
If Harry and Meghan go classic, something like Alice, Mary, Elizabeth or Victoria for a girl, and Philip, Frederick, Charles, Arthur, Edward or James for a boy are possibilities.
Meghan has immersed herself in the royal way of life, ending her career as an actress, and becoming a full-time royal.
But the pair are also forward-thinking royals, and the duchess has her own American upbringing to draw on.
They may decide to surprise everyone when naming their first child.
Canadian-born Autumn Phillips, and husband Peter Phillips, opted for a non-traditional name for their daughter Savannah - the Queen’s first great-grandchild - in 2010.
In the US, the most popular name for a baby girl is Emma and Liam for a baby boy.
In the UK, the most popular name for a girl born in 2017 was Olivia, and for a boy Oliver.
Diana for a girl?
One option - considered a favourite for a girl - is Diana in honour of Harry’s late beloved mother.
William and Kate paid tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales in 2015 by choosing it as one of Charlotte’s middle names.
Harry, who adored Diana, was just 12 when the princess was killed suddenly in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
Charles would honour Harry’s father, while Elizabeth, another of Charlotte’s middle names, would be out of respect for Harry’s grandmother the Queen.
Meghan’s mother, to whom she is close, is called Doria, and the ex-Suits star may want to pay tribute to her as well.
Thomas is a popular family name for the duchess. Her father is Thomas Markle, as is her half brother.
But relations with her relatives have proved troublesome after her father’s absence from her wedding, his comments to the press, and the lack of invites extended to the rest of the family.
Meghan, who is the first mixed-race person in modern history to marry a senior British royal, has written about the significance of choosing names within her own family.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s baby will not be a prince nor a princess unless the Queen steps in.
King George V - Harry’s great great grandfather - limited titles within the royal family in 1917.
This means Harry and Meghan’s first born, as a great-grandchild of the sovereign, is too far down the line of succession to be an HRH (his/her Royal Highness).
George V declared that: “the grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes of these Our Realms.”
The eldest son and heir apparent of a duke can use one of his father’s lesser grade peerage titles by courtesy, according to Debrett’s.
Earl of Dumbarton
So a first son of Harry’s would become Earl of Dumbarton - one of the subsidiary titles Harry received from the Queen on the morning of his wedding.
A daughter would be Lady (first name) Mountbatten-Windsor, and any subsequent sons Lord (first name) Mounbatten-Windsor.
But the Queen could make changes to allow Harry and Meghan’s children to be HRHs and princes and princesses.
Ahead of Prince George’s birth, the monarch issued a Letters Patent to ensure the Cambridge children had fitting titles.
Without this Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis would have been a Lady and a Lord instead, but Prince George, as the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, would still have been a prince.
The Queen could decide to do the same for Harry and Meghan’s baby.
But this royal infant is unlikely ever to accede to the throne.
If Harry had a son who had a son - Harry’s grandchild - he would be Lord Kilkeel, taken from Harry’s third title Baron Kilkeel.