The Duke and Duchess of Sussex plan to hire a traditional nanny after the birth of their first child, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Informed sources dismissed speculation that Meghan will recruit a doula, a non-medical assistant who provides support during pregnancy and the early days of motherhood, or opt for a New Age-style birth.
And they say reports that Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland will move permanently to Britain from America to help bring up the child are also wide of the mark.
Instead, the couple plan to be hands-on parents, and will bring in a nanny later this year ahead of a rumoured royal tour. The approach mirrors that adopted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their children, George, five, Charlotte, three, and Louis, ten months.
They later appointed Maria Borrallo, a graduate of the prestigious Norland College, when George was a few months old, although it is understood that Meghan may bring in a nanny when her child is younger than that.
Last night Norland College declined to say if they had been approached by the couple.
It is understood that Harry and Meghan have been ‘listening to advice from friends’ including George Clooney’s wife Amal, who had twins in June 2017, and fashion stylist Jessica Mulroney, who has three children.
While Meghan will take formal maternity leave and is unlikely to attend public engagements, she is determined to remain active behind the scenes working for her various causes. But a source said: ‘This is her first baby and there will be a certain degree of playing it by ear.’
In January, Meghan became patron of the National Theatre, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the animal welfare charity Mayhew and Smart Works, which helps women get jobs.
She will this week join a panel including singer Annie Lennox and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to mark International Women’s Day, where they will discus issues such as ‘access to education and limitations in employment’.
The move may mean that Meghan chooses not to give birth at the Lindo Wing, the exclusive maternity ward at St Mary’s Hospital in Central London where the Duchess of Cambridge had her three children, but instead use a hospital ‘closer to home’.
One option would be Frimley Park Hospital in Berkshire, which is about 15 miles from Windsor and where the Countess of Wessex had her children.
It comes amid reports Meghan and Harry are considering raising their child ‘gender neutral’ – understood to mean they will not enforce any male or female stereotypes.
According to a source, who has known the Duchess for many years and was at her wedding: ‘Meghan has been talking to some of her friends about the birth and how she and Harry plan to raise their baby.
‘She said they plan to raise their child with a fluid approach to gender and they won’t be imposing any stereotypes.’
The most likely scenario is that the couple could choose to forgo traditional blues and pinks to match the baby’s gender. They could also avoid conventional gender-biased toys such as dolls for girls and train sets for boys.
Last night a senior Kensington Palace aide refused to rule out the possibility of the baby being raised gender neutral.
The couple are understood to have chosen neutral grey and white hues for the nursery, rather than the blue or pink.
Meghan has transformed her husband in many ways: Harry has given up alcohol in solidarity with his pregnant wife, quit smoking and recently revealed he starts the day by meditating. But the Duke is still very much a traditionalist at heart. He has continued his passion for hunting and shooting despite Meghan’s love for animals.
And as a young boy, he was always running around Highgrove in military fatigues, climbing trees and playing toy soldiers with Prince William.
Meghan has also revealed she played with dolls as a child.
A spokesman for Kensington Palace last night said: ‘The Duke and Duchess are extremely excited to welcome their first child in the spring.’