Column: Meghan and Harry - that didn't take long!
Just a few months after walking down the aisle to join 'The Firm', Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and her young army husband are to become parents.
Knitting needles across the country are now clicking away furiously and, whether it’s a boy or a girl which is delivered – at the end of April if the forecasts are accurate – I’m sure he or she will have the warmest of welcomes.
It will be fascinating to see how Harry and Meghan’s family develops in the next few years, as well as how it is treated and perceived by us, the public. Rather as was the case with Princes Charles and Andrew, with William and Harry, the younger of the two sets of siblings has been very much the wingman of the older.
Andrew has frequently been referred to as “Andy” in the press and lined up in turn to take the media heat off Charles when possible. The same has happened with Prince Henry, known universally as “Harry”. The stories surrounding him – salacious or otherwise – are legion and with his ability to charm the public in any given situation, it is clear he’s been protecting his older brother as William prepares to bear the weight of office as monarch after their father has taken his eventual turn on the throne.
William and Harry grew up in the full glare of media access at every turn. After the untimely death of their mother, they emerged as very savvy young men and in turn they are now rightly protective of their respective families. Generally we see little of Princes George and Louis or Princess Charlotte. Will the same be the case for Harry and Meghan’s family as it develops? Both Duke and Duchess know what it is to perform, however willingly for the cameras, one having made a living from it, the other having had to endure it on a global scale from birth. They are clearly a great team together and I thought it extremely deft how both went quietly, but speedily, into St George’s Chapel on Friday last for the wedding of Mr and Mrs Brooksbank. We’re led to believe it was on the same day members of the Royal Family were first told about Meghan’s pregnancy.
There will be pressure – some of it internal – for more to be seen of the Sussex children than those of the Cambridges – but I wouldn’t bet on it happening. Both of the young parents-to-be clearly know themselves and each other; I expect Harry will take William’s lead in his mistrust of the media, and, I think, rightly. In the past, deals have been done to try to ensure the privacy of the royals and with varying levels of success. Here, I think Harry and Meghan will take matters into their own hands. It might have just been opportune timing, but the fact that the announcement of Meghan’s pregnancy was made as the couple arrived at the start of a 16-day trip Down Under made for a brilliant profile for the Commonwealth as well as ensuring that the Duke and Duchess were as far from a media frenzy at home as they could be.
The prospect of a royal baby is wonderful news for the Royal Family and for the country too. It’s also a welcome distraction from the glacial progress of Brexit negotiations... here’s to a trouble-free pregnancy!