Royal baby: Meghan Markle in labour with first child

Danielle Stacey
Royal Correspondent
Meghan and Harry [Photo: PA]

The Duchess of Sussex has gone into labour with her first child, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.

Meghan, 37, went into labour in the early hours of this morning. Royal aides say that the Duke of Sussex, 34, is by her side.

The statement also added: “An announcement will be made soon.”

The Sussexes have already confirmed that they intend the birth to be intensely private. As a result, details around where Meghan is delivering her baby will be kept under wraps, although she is thought to be having a home birth at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.

Meghan at her last public outing on March 19 [Photo: PA]

The duchess has been on maternity leave since 19 March, when she made an unscheduled appearance with Prince Harry, at New Zealand House in London to pay tribute to the Christchurch terror attack victims.

READ MORE: What surname will Harry and Meghan’s royal baby have?

Following the newborn’s arrival, it’s thought the palace will make a further announcement confirming the child’s gender, weight and time of birth.

The name will likely be announced at a later date. Bookies favourites include Diana, Grace, Victoria and Alice for a girl and Arthur, James and Edward for a boy.

The Duchess of Sussex leaves after a panel discussion convened by The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust to mark International Women’s Day at King’s College in London [Photo: PA]

It’s unclear whether the birth of Meghan and Harry’s child will be announced via an easel outside Buckingham Palace, as was the case with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s three children.

An official photocall is set to follow a couple of days after the child’s arrival.

READ MORE: All of Meghan’s maternity outfits

Baby Sussex will be seventh in line to the throne behind Prince Harry, bumping Prince Andrew down to eighth place.

Meghan and Harry announced the pregnancy on the first day of their royal tour of Australia in October 2018 [Photo: Getty]

It’s understood that the child will not be a prince or princess, unless the Queen issues a new Letters Patent. Instead he or she will be a lord or lady.

The news follows an announcement made by royal aides on 11 April 2019 revealing Meghan and Harry had taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private.

The royal couple said they wanted to share the news “once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family.”

In contrast, the Duchess of Cambridge posed for post-birth photographs with all three of her new children on the steps of the Lindo Wing in London, hours after their arrival.

Baby Sussex will arrive just ahead of Harry and Meghan’s first wedding anniversary on May 19, 2019.