"A personal decision."
That's how Buckingham Palace described Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's newly announced plan to keep the, well, plans around the arrival of their first child private.
"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very grateful for the goodwill they have received from people throughout the United Kingdom and around the world as they prepare to welcome their baby," the palace stated. "Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private. 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."
While private is not often a word associated with royal life, it is one the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have seemingly subtly enforced in their road to parenthood.
It began back in October 2018 when Kensington Palace publicly confirmed the couple's baby news with a vague due date. "Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the Spring of 2019," the palace said in a statement issued at the time. "Their Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public."
While fans hoped a more specific date would be formally announced eventually, Markle casually discussed it herself, sharing on a walkabout that the little one would arrive at the end of April/early May.
The process marked a shift from the one we'd seen for sister-in-law and future queen Kate Middleton, whose pregnancies and due dates were formally announced for each of her three children. When it came time for the Duchess of Cambridge to begin her maternity leave, a palace spokesperson confirmed her final engagements, unlike Markle, whose maternity leave was never publicly announced.
Then, when Middleton went into labor, Kensington Palace issued a detailed announcement. "Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was admitted to St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London earlier this morning in the early stages of labor. The Duchess travelled by car from Kensington Palace to the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital with The Duke of Cambridge," a statement read last year at the time of Prince Louis' birth. Just hours later, the palace confirmed the baby's arrival and sex. As had become tradition, the day was not complete without Middleton and Prince William debuting their newborn son on the steps of the Lindo Wing as cameras documented the milestone moment and disseminated the images around the world.
Judging by Harry and Meghan's focus on privacy, it sounds like they plan on doing royal birth a different way. Reports have even suggested Markle may not follow recent custom and give birth somewhere other than the Lindo Wing. If so, she would not be the first royal to do so as Queen Elizabeth II did not give birth to any of her four children there nor did Sarah Ferguson.
However things ultimately play out, there's no harm in the two women taking different approaches to welcoming their children into the world and the degree of public involvement. After all, they're different people with different backgrounds, royal titles and responsibilities. Such has been made prominently clear with Harry and Meghan moving out of Kensington Palace and into their own home at Frogmore Cottage, topped with the formation of their own new household separate from William and Kate and a corresponding Instagram account. Hey, they could even debut the first portrait of their son or daughter on their social feed.
Whatever the case, as Buckingham Palace put it, it's a personal decision.