In London, the news was met with shouts of joy and front-page headlines in the tabloids: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are expecting their first child in the spring of 2019.
The ginger-haired Prince Harry, 34, is the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II. Markle, 37, is a former actress. The American Markle has taken to her royal duties like a seasoned pro. She’s poised, she’s proper — and the queen reportedly loves her. Kensington Palace announced the news.
Their child, seventh in the line of succession, will be a great-grandchild of the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. With Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and Prince Harry ahead in the line of succession, it is unlikely — given modern medicine and House of Windsor lifespan longevity — that the baby will ever be monarch.
But forget the throne; the arrival of Meghan and Harry’s kid will be huge news come March or April.
A spokeswoman for Kensington Palace said the duchess was “in good health.”
She added that Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, “is very happy about this lovely news and she looks forward to welcoming her first grandchild.”
Reaction on social media was instantaneous — and giddy. Within minutes of the announcement, #RoyalBaby was trending worldwide.
Taking time out from crunch Brexit talks, British Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted: “My warmest congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the happy news they are expecting a baby in the Spring. Wishing them all the best.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan also chimed in. “On behalf of Londoners, I want to send our heartfelt congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the happy news they are expecting their first child. Congratulations! #RoyalBaby,” he tweeted.
Many tweets were congratulatory, but some were inquisitive, too. Some wondered whether the baby would be American or British or both, while others wondered if Britons might get an extra day off work — Britons still fondly recall that they got an extra holiday for the nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge.
In Britain, you can bet on almost anything, and the bookies were quick off the mark to suggest possible names for the newest royal.
“Opening odds on name of Harry & Meghan’s baby,” announced the bookmaker Ladbrokes, which listed Victoria, Albert, Arthur and Diana as favorite names.
The couple touched down Monday morning in Sydney for a 16-day tour that begins in Australia — their first official royal tour. The trip follows in the tradition of Harry’s parents, Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, whose first royal tour was to Australia and New Zealand.
Speculation about a possible pregnancy mounted when the royal couple emerged from their Qantas flight from London. Markle held several large purple folders in front of her — the type of materials that might otherwise be handled by an aide.
The trip is their first overseas as a married couple and includes the other part of their job — performing “engagements” and supporting good works.