Meghan Markle's Actually Following in Queen Elizabeth's Footsteps for Her Birth Plan

Her and Prince Harry are going the traditional royal route.

Don't expect to see Meghan Markle and Prince Harry pose for a photo-op with their newborn baby immediately after the birth. Buckingham Palace revealed today the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will welcome their first child — due any day now — privately.

"Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private," the statement . "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."

The news came as a surprise to anyone expecting a public presentation just outside the hospital almost immediately after the birth. Both Diana, Princess of Wales and Kate Middleton posed on the steps of the Lindo Wing following the arrival of all of their children, but that "tradition" is only shared between them. There is a much longer history of royal mothers having more private births — so in case you're wondering, no Meghan Markle isn't breaking "royal protocol" by making this personal decision.

And here’s the actual statement from Buckingham Palace

— Carolyn Durand (@CarolynDurand)

The History of Royal Births

Queen Elizabeth II gave birth to all four of her children at home: Charles, Andrew, and Edward at Buckingham Palace, and Anne at Clarence House when the palace was undergoing renovation. The Queen herself was born by Caesarean section on April 21, 1926 in private home: her maternal grandparents' London house. Her sister Princess Margaret was also born at a family home: Glamis Castle in Scotland on August 21, 1930.

The Queen's grandmother, Mary of Teck, also gave birth in royal residences. Edward VII was born in White Lodge, Richmond Park in 1894. George VI (the Queen's father) was born at York Cottage on the Sandringham Estate in in 1895. Going back even farther into the 19th century when home births were the norm, Queen Victoria had all nine of her children either in Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.

lindo wing princess charlotte
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pose with a newborn Princess Charlotte outside the Lindo Wing in 2015.
Samir Hussein/WireImageGetty Images

The first notable royal mother to give birth in a hospital was the Queen's daughter, Princess Anne, who had Peter Phillips in the Lindo Wing in 1977 and then Zara Phillips there in 1981. When Princess Diana followed suit for the births of Prince William in 1982 and Prince Harry in 1984, she and Prince Charles posed with their newborn sons outside the hospital.

Kate Middleton choose the Lindo Wing for all three of her children as well. She also suffered from a complication known as hyperemesis gravidarum during all the pregnancies that may have necessitated additional care. When she was pregnant with Prince George in 2012, the illness even led to a hospitalization during her first trimester.

Why Meghan Chose a Private Birth

Even though Meghan's pregnancy is technically "geriatric" due to her age, the 37-year-old is reportedly in great health and hopes to have a home birth at Frogmore Cottage, according to some royal reporters. Katie Nichol of first reported the rumor in November, and Rebecca English of the Daily Mail came to a similar conclusion in yesterday's paper.

"It is understood they quickly ruled out the option of using the private Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital," she . "It is thought Harry and Meghan decided against it because it felt too much like a 'goldfish bowl.' The duchess objected to the idea of standing on the steps of the maternity unit surrounded by the public and the media just hours after the birth, particularly when the child will not be in the direct of succession."

princess anne birth
Princess Elizabeth with her baby daughter Princess Anne in 1950.
Getty Images

That's right: As seventh in line, baby will likely never get close to the throne, and may not even receive a His or Her Royal Highness title due to these circumstances. (Here's the full explanation on that.) Since Prince William and Kate Middleton are expected to become the future King and Queen, their children will play a much more public-facing royal in the monarchy, a fact that's influenced George, Charlotte, and Louis's lives from the day they were born.

The Sussexes' child could have a much privater future though. Just think about how much you hear of Prince Andrew, Princess Anne, or Prince Edward and their children compared to Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry. Case in point: Princess Anne's daughter Zara Tindall skipped public photo-ops for the births of her children, Mia and Lena.

There is obviously massive global interest in the Sussex Family but this baby will be 7th in line and unlikely to be an HRH. Harry & Meghan are establishing their intent to keep their baby’s life as private as possible from day one.

— Victoria Arbiter (@victoriaarbiter)

Many commentators and fans are applauding how Meghan and Harry are choosing what's right for their family, calling out how it's unreasonable to expect someone to pose in "high heels and a blow dry when you're walking like a cowboy."

Meghan Markle has shunned royal protocol to have a private birth without the pretence of high heels and a blowdry when you're walking like a cowboy and bleeding and weeing uncontollably into weird net pants. Thank god she's honest and realistic

— Hannah Fearn (@hannahfearn)

Perhaps the biggest question is this: why should we expect any woman, royal or otherwise, to stand in front of a bank of cameras just hours - or even days - after she has given birth? You can see how Meghan looked at that prospect and thought, 'thanks but no thanks' ...

— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv)

What to Expect With Meghan's Birth

As a royal, Meghan will of course have access to excellent medical care wherever she decides to give birth. Frimley Park Hospital — where Prince Edward's wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex gave birth — is also located only 15 miles away, if a complication were to arise.

And don't worry: We'll still get photos of the littlest Sussex, even if it's not right away. The current information suggests that there will be an announcement when Meghan is in labor and again when the baby is born. Pictures could happen a few days later on the Windsor Castle grounds, with photographers standing on the nearby Long Walk, royal correspondent Emily Andrews .

It is understood there will be an announcement when The Duchess goes into labour and one at some point following the birth. It is also understood that the couple will pose for a photograph at some stage following the birth but it will not be a mass media photocall.

— Victoria Murphy (@byQueenVic)

The couple want to enjoy the first few days with before a photo op at Windsor Castle grounds. It’s still unknown where they’ll have the baby, but it’s not the Lindo Wing. Maybe at home or a local hospital. Media will be told once is in labour & baby born 👶🏼 🍼

— Emily Andrews (@byEmilyAndrews)

Whenever and wherever we see these portraits, one thing's for certain: Meghan and Harry will have one cute baby!

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