There are just weeks to go before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex become parents for the first time, with Meghan now officially on maternity leave from her royal duties, and rumours are rife about when and where the newest addition to the royal family will be born.
According to several reports in the British media, Meghan looks set to take inspiration from Her Majesty the Queen when it comes to her birth plan, preferencing a home birth over a hospital delivery.
Friends of the heavily-pregnant duchess told The Daily Mail that Meghan would ideally opt to bring her first child into the world in the comfort of her own home, having moved into Frogmore Cottage with husband Prince Harry at the start of this month.
“It is her favoured choice,” a friend told the Mail. “But it obviously depends on how things are nearer the time.”
If the rumours are true, it would see Meghan follow directly in the footsteps of the Queen who gave birth to all four of her children at home in either Buckingham Palace or Clarence House. While Queen Elizabeth herself was also delivered in her parents’ Mayfair home, as part of a long-standing royal tradition.
This would see Meghan shun the prestigious Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London, in another break from tradition, as it is where her sister-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to all three of her children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
Princess Diana also delivered Prince William and Prince Harry in the private wing of the NHS hospital, reported to cost around £7,500 (AU$13,759) per night.
These fresh reports follow claims that Meghan was leaning towards delivering their baby at a maternity wing closer to their new Windsor home. While the Daily Mirror’s royal expert Russell Myer also previously touted a home birth as the duchess’ preferred choice.
Meghan’s birthing location is not the only cause of speculation though as there has also been much debate surrounding their potential choice of name, including whether the couple will stick to the more traditional names favoured by the royals or opt for a more modern moniker for their new son or daughter.
According to bookmakers Ladbrokes, Diana remains a firm favourite in honour of Prince Harry’s beloved late mother. His brother Prince William and wife Catherine gave the name to their daughter Charlotte as a second middle name, but it’s unclear if Harry will do the same – or even choose it as a first name.
Meanwhile, Ladbrokes has Victoria and Alice as other favourites for girls’ names, while Albert and Philip are favourites if it’s a boy. Also making the top list are Elizabeth – a tribute to the Queen – and James.
While Meghan’s exact due date has never been confirmed by the palace, the duchess previously told supporters at a walkabout in the British town of Birkenhead that she was due at the end of April or beginning of May.