The Duchess of Sussex is not a typical Royal mother. The 37-year-old former actress is a divorced American who had a fairly ordinary childhood. When it comes to raising her child, it’s clear Meghan is going to do things her way.
In contrast to his wife, Harry grew up in the most famous family in England and was exposed to all the pomp and ceremony that comes with it – but he has also seen the dark side of growing up Royal. It’s clear that Harry wants a different, more private life for his son, whose upbringing will be as ordinary as a Mountbatten-Windsor’s can be.
So how are Royal babies traditionally raised and how are the Sussexes breaking the mould? Read on to find out…
The Birth Of Baby Archie
Since Harry’s mother Princess Diana gave birth, it has been a tradition that Royal babies are born in the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s hospital in London. It is also customary for the Royal couple to be photographed hours after the birth as they introduce their child to the world.
Meghan and Harry, however, chose to do things differently. Not only was baby Archie not born in the Lindo Wing but the public didn’t even know where he was going to be born. The Sussexes kept their birth plans a secret and only allowed their child to be photographed several days after he had been born.
This decision is part of a wider move by the Sussexes to give their child a normal life – or as normal a life as is possible for someone who is 7th in line to the British throne. The couple moved to the secluded Frogmore Cottage in Windsor where, hidden in the lush British countryside, they are free to take their baby for walks in the grounds and have their friends and family over without having to deal with the press.
Harry, in particular, is all too familiar with how growing up with the paparazzi can be damaging to one’s mental health; at just 12 years old, he saw how being pursued by the press led to his own mother’s untimely death. Harry clearly does not want that for his wife or child, which is why the Sussexes are keeping Archie’s life relatively private with limited public appearances.
As Archie is 7th in line to the throne and very unlikely to become King in the future, his parents can give him more freedom and privacy than is afforded to William and Kate’s children.
A Californian Baby?
Archie is the first Anglo-American baby ever to be born into the house of Windsor, and it’s clear that Meghan is keen to bring him up with a keen sense of his dual heritage.
This doesn’t just mean that the Sussexes will celebrate American holidays like Thanksgiving and the 4th of July, but it is also likely that Archie will spend time in the US and could even attend an American school in the UK. Meghan is an American citizen, which means Archie could even hold dual citizenship and one day live in the US if he so chooses.
Non-Royal grandparents have traditionally been sidelined when it comes to bringing up Royal children, although this has started to change as the Mountbatten-Windsors become a more modern family. Meghan’s mother Gloria has already been heavily involved in her grandson’s upbringing – she even has a ‘granny annex’ in Frogmore Cottage – and is likely to continue playing a big part in Archie’s life.
Meghan and Harry have allegedly hired a nanny, but they are keeping very quiet about their identity – though the Sussexes most likely haven’t followed Kate and William’s example of hiring from the prestigious Norland Agency.
Royal Baby Fashion
Little Royals traditionally wear very smart, mock-Victorian outfits which children in the US (or regular children in the UK) simply don’t wear anymore. It’s unlikely that Meghan will be following this tradition either.
Nicknamed the ‘Designer Duchess’, Meghan’s chic take on Royal fashion has made her an icon throughout the world, and it seems likely that she will be dressing baby Archie in simple, modern clothes using the same neutral hues that she favours. Meghan may also opt for more gender-neutral colours and designs.
Meghan is also breaking with tradition when it comes to baby gear. Many Royal children, including Kate’s kids, are pushed around in the Silver Cross Balmoral pram.
Before baby Archie was born, Meghan and Harry were gifted the more modern Bugaboo pram, which is popular with American celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian. The fabric is even made out of recycled plastic bottles, which will appeal to environmentally conscious Harry and Meghan.
It’s likely the new Royal baby is already being pushed around the Windsor grounds in an ultra-modern Bugaboo, but the Sussexes are also likely to invest in a baby carrier to give Archie that all-important body-to-body contact.
It’s All In The Name
When it comes to naming Royal children, there are a few traditions followed by most parents. The child is typically named after a former King, Queen or other Royal and they are typically given two or three middle names; Prince Harry’s full name is Henry Charles Albert David, while Prince William is William Arthur Philip Louis.
Baby Archie, however, has just one middle name. Not only is Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor’s name shorter than those of his contemporaries, but he is also not named after a previous Royal – perhaps another sign that this baby will have more freedom to decide his own future rather than following in his ancestors’ footsteps.
Meghan and Harry have also decided not to give Archie a title at this stage, so he is not a Prince, a Duke or a Lord. This is yet another way the Sussexes seem to be edging away from their Royal roots to give their child a sense of freedom and independence that Harry was unable to have himself.