Keeping anything a secret for three months is tough. Concealing something as life-changing as an actual new life, well, you can imagine why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were bursting at the seams to share their big secret.
Since the newlyweds revealed last week that they were set to become parents next spring, it seems as if it's all they can talk about. Though, to be fair, it's pretty much the only thing that they've been asked since touching down in Australia for their 16-day tour. Welcoming an heir into the royal fold is exciting news and don't even get us started on the thought of watching Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 3, and 6-month-old Prince Louis playing with a baby cousin.
So we're here for any details the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wish to dole out regarding their impending arrival. And, as it turns out, they're keen to share more than a few.
It started with the accepting of toys, the couple having all manner of stuffed animals, books and even a tiny pair of Ugg boots thrust their way while Down Under. "It's our first baby gift!" Meghan exclaimed when offered a plush kangaroo with its own joey as a welcome gift at Sydney's Admiralty House, managing to maintain that excitement with each oversized teddy bear, outfit and homemade changing mat. The growing pile of loot is undoubtedly too much to fit in even the most outsized of nurseries, but ever the gracious giftee, the 37-year-old has made mention of using them all.
And she's not just accepting presents while on her first official tour. She's also shown a willingness to give fans what they want. At roughly three months and change, the duchess hardly looks like she's with sandwich, much less a growing child, but she's indulged those that have turned out to meet her and Harry (and the royal watchers eagerly refreshing their social media feeds) by embracing her barely-there bump at nearly each opportunity.
She and her groom have held tight to a few actual children as well, showcasing that, yes, they will in fact be the wonderful, hands-on parents everyone imagines. In Dubbo, Harry indulged a small boy eager to tug on his beard "since his favorite person is Father Christmas," while Meghan gamely broke royal protocol in Sydney to snap a selfie with a young feminist proudly wearing a t-shirt proclaiming "Girls Can Do Anything."
The pair have a few solid role models in the parenting department. Harry has gushed that his famously involved mother Princess Diana "was the best mum in the world. She smothered us with love, that's for sure." And she still allowed her little princes to enjoy the more common parts of life, taking them to amusement parks and for hamburgers at McDonald's. Noted Harry in the 2017 documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, "She was one of the naughtiest parents."
Meghan absorbed just as much watching her mom Doria Ragland, a yoga instructor and social worker, devote herself to charity work and caring for her mom and mother-in-law. "She was introducing me to history, and fostering a love of being outdoors," she wrote on her now-defunct website The Tig of their trips to Oaxaca, Mexico and bike rides around L.A. "She was planting the seed for me to become a foodie. She was showing me how to be a daughter, not just in that moment, but for when I became that grown woman."
So, yeah, they've been ready for children for some time. Even before Harry coyly stated the obvious in their BBC engagement interview, sharing, that "hopefully we'll start a family in the near future."
And now that they can finally talk about it, now that the near future could more accurately be described as imminent, yeah, they're going to talk about it. "Thank you for the incredibly warm welcome and the chance to meet so many Aussies from all walks of life," he told the crowd gathered at Sydney's Admiralty House for a welcome reception last week. "And we also genuinely couldn't think of a better place to announce the upcoming baby, whether it's a boy or a girl."
It was a sentiment he repeated days later at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Invictus Games, sharing, "We have been so happy to be able to celebrate the personal joy of our newest addition with you all."
And though the pair are keeping the gender a closely guarded secret (that is if they've chosen to learn it at all), Harry did let it slip that he has a slight preference. When a fan called out to him at Sunday's cycling event, "I hope it's a girl," the 34-year-old former apache helicopter pilot replied, "So do I," sending royal watchers into a frenzy imagining the prince's future Daddy's Girl.
Truthfully, though, like most parents-to-be, the couple are simply rooting for a healthy baby and an overall pleasant experience for the California native. After the one-two combo of pregnancy hormones and jet lag left the devoted yogi wide awake at 4:30 a.m. last Friday and doing yoga in her room, her doting husband (so supportive he was seen toasting with water alongside Markle during Tuesday's state dinner in Fiji) convinced her to slow down.
When Saturday's opening ceremony ran some two hours long, thanks to a thunderstorm-related delay, Harry convinced her to skip out on the next morning's cycling event, instructing the palace to release a statement about her plans "to cut back" on her schedule for the remaining week-and-a-half of the tour.
"She had a very late night last night," an insider explained to Us Weekly of their 10:45 p.m. return to their Sydney residence. "We have to make sure she is well paced and not overdoing it. We want to make sure she gets enough rest at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day."
Even if it has to be forced upon her. Ever the team player, "She wants to do everything," the insider said, "but Harry is encouraging her to pace herself."
Because once they're back home in London there will be plenty of nesting to do, both at their Kensington Palace pad (insiders have long suspected they'll be getting an upgrade from their two-bedroom cottage to the more family-ready 21-room Apartment 1) and their $5.4 million spread in the Cotswolds.
A source tells Us Weekly the secluded spot, some two hours outside London, will serve as their primary home base once Baby Sussex arrives next spring. "No one bothers them there," a palace insider told the mag. "They're excited to raise children in the country."
Before then, though, the couple have a slew of decisions to make that extend far beyond consulting the lengthy list of names given to them by eager fans. According to Us Weekly, the pair are "exploring options for the birth," contemplating if they want to follow in Prince William and Kate Middleton's path and welcome their heir at the upscale Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital.
And they're approaching every choice with a level of unbridled joy that can only be experienced by two people ecstatic to have finally realized a long held goal. No surprise the prince who's said he's wanted to be a father "since I was very, very young," is "elated," a source told Us Weekly. And Meghan is equally as thrilled to start a family, an act she once noted was on her bucket list. Says the source, "She is excited, happy and over the moon."
You know, in case they haven't made that quite clear.