Vegan paint, gender-neutral tones and decor inspired by private members’ club Soho House: welcome to the nursery in Frogmore Cottage, the Windsor home the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are due to move into as they welcome their first baby in April.
Last week, we learned that Meghan had opted for ‘non-toxic’ paint for the baby’s room, after enlisting the help of Vicky Charles, the interior designer who counts the Clooneys as clients and is responsible for Meghan’s favourite Cotswolds hotspot, Soho Farmhouse. (The duchess was photographed at the Soho House branch with Millie Mackintosh in 2017 and spent her three-day hen party there last May.)
While it was once thought that Meghan would prefer a home birth, sources have now said she has opted for Frimley Park Hospital, Surrey. But what else can we expect from new parents Harry and Meghan?
According to one royal insider, we shouldn’t hold our breath for the sort of photo that the Cambridges have become known for, posing on the steps of the Lindo Wing in London only hours a er the birth of their three children, George, five, Charlotte, three, and Louis, nine months. ‘If Harry gets his way, they won’t go for that scenario,’ said the source. ‘It’s not his style: it’s more likely that there will be an artful, more private official photo.’
The couple have also apparently chosen not to hire a professional nanny or maternity nurse. It was originally reported that they would take on Connie Simpson – a Hollywood nanny who has worked for Jessica Biel, Emily Blunt and Jessica Alba – but Kensington Palace has refuted this. Instead, Meghan’s mother Doria is ‘planning to come over for the first weeks to help out’, according to royal biographer Katie Nicholl. ‘Meghan has her own ideas when it comes to raising their baby. Given her form for doing things quite differently to royal traditions, I’m sure her approach will be quite novel. I don’t see her pushing her baby around in a big old-fashioned pram, for example. She’ll probably have the baby in a sling or hi-tech buggy.’
While it’s likely the couple will differ from Kate and William in some of their parenting styles (as well as not opting for a formal Norland nanny, Meghan is expected to take a shorter maternity leave than Kate, because ‘she’s itching to make a difference’), they will have to be similar in their approach to discipline, given the public events the child will be expected to attend growing up. ‘The Cambridge kids have a reputation for being well-behaved at school and nursery and that, I’m sure, is down to William and Kate not tolerating any nonsense at home,’ says Nicholl. ‘I once saw Kate with Charlotte enjoying a walk in Kensington Gardens and, when Charlotte skipped off because she didn’t want to go home, Kate sharply called her back and Charlotte was quick to run back to her mum.’
Meghan’s British citizenship is still pending, meaning her child will be the first Anglo-American baby to be born into the royal family. The duchess has not been given any special treatment regarding citizenship, meaning her application could take ‘years’ (she has ‘leave to remain’ status). As a result, the baby will automatically acquire American citizenship at birth. Indeed, sources say Meghan is planning to celebrate US traditions, namely Thanksgiving and Independence Day, as a family.
Talk of vegan paint and nannies has shifted the headlines away from those driven by Meghan’s father Thomas, as well as by the unexpected departures of some of her staff. And that, according to a royal source, is the way the Palace intends to keep it. Last week, Meghan was spotted at a meeting with her new deputy communications secretary, Christian Jones, who was previously a speechwriter for MP David Davis. It prompted speculation that Meghan was shaking up her team, ahead of the Sussexes and Cambridges ‘splitting’ their households later this year.
‘Kensington Palace is just trying to weather the storm now,’ a source told Grazia. ‘Everyone is just waiting it out until April, when they know they will be assured of more positive headlines with the birth of the royal baby. The closer they get to that, the easier they know things will become.’