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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Royal baby announcement breaks with tradition


Tradition-defying royal couple Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, broke with custom yet again on Monday with the announcement of the birth of their first child. News of the birth was released on Instagram — a first in royal history — in a post on their @sussexroyal account with the couple’s crest and the simple phrase: “It’s a BOY!”

The post received more than 750,000 likes in under an hour. The account was only launched in April, breaking a world record by reaching a million followers in under six hours.


Harry has battled to protect his privacy for years. The 34-year-old’s relationship with the media has been fraught ever since the death of his mother Diana in a car crash in Paris 1997 while being chased by paparazzi.

The couple had made it clear last month that they wanted the birth kept private — in contrast to Harry’s brother Prince William and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.

Read more: Kate and Meghan controversy: Royal feud or traditional rivalry?

Their three children were all delivered in the private wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London and shown off to the world’s media and royal fans a short time later. Instead, the new baby will only be seen later this week to a media pool that will share the images worldwide.

Wish to ‘Celebrate Privately’

“Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement in April. “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,” it said.

The circumstances of Monday’s announcement demonstrated the couple’s wish to retain their privacy as much as possible.

Royal officials announced on Monday afternoon that Meghan had gone into labour in the early hours of that morning. Only half an hour later, a royal statement announced that Meghan had in fact given birth at 5:26am (0426 GMT).

Read more: Britain’s Prince William and Kate return home with newborn son

George and Sir John

The announcement was followed up by a video statement by a beaming Harry, standing in front of a stable in Windsor — a town outside London where the couple now live on the grounds of its famous castle.

The names of two black horses behind him were clearly visible — George and Sir John, prompting some media to speculate the child’s name might be John, who would be cousin to William and Kate’s first son George.

“This little thing is absolutely to die for. So I am just over the moon,” Harry said, calling the birth “the most amazing experience I can ever possibly imagine”. Harry said the announcement of the name was the “next bit”.

Read more: Britain’s Prince Louis christened without Queen

“I think we will be seeing you guys in probably two days’ time as planned as a family to be able to share it with you guys and so everyone can see the baby,” he said. Neither Harry nor royal officials specified where the birth took place — at their residence at Frogmore Cottage or in a nearby hospital.

Some British media earlier reported that the couple wanted a home birth, which would re-connect with older tradition. Queen Elizabeth had all four of her children, including Harry’s father Prince Charles, in a royal palace.

© Agence France-Presse