Whether they're a teacher, a doctor, or a royal, every new mom deserves to take maternity leave after welcoming a baby. The ability to bond with your newborn is an irreplaceable experience and getting the time to rest your body after the work of childbirth is necessary. While everyone should be able to take time off from work, not everyone's work requirements are the same, of course. So what about moms in the royal family, whose job aren't quite as clear-cut as a 9-to-5 office gig? With the announcement that one of the most popular royals is now expecting her first child, it's fair to wonder if Meghan Markle will take maternity leave come spring of next year.
If her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, is any indication, Markle will take some time to step away from her royal responsibilities following the birth of her first baby. Middleton has taken anywhere from six weeks to nearly six months maternity leave with each of her three children, according to The Express, the longest being the most recent after the birth of Prince Louis. But Markle could opt for a lot longer, actually.
A royal etiquette expert told InStyle that maternity leave in England can last up to one year. And Markle does have the option to start her maternity leave before the birth; according to Gov.uk, leave can start 11 weeks prior to the expected birth and employees are required to take at least two weeks off after the birth. Since the leave is paid — at 90 percent of the employee’s salary for the first 39 weeks, the site stated — it alleviates much of the financial worry that a required unpaid leave would create. Not that money is an issue for Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, of course.
British maternity standards aren’t the only thing Markle has to get used to; there are also a lot of royal customs surrounding a pregnancy, according to Reader’s Digest. Royal women don’t get baby showers, for example, since it would be considered tacky for the royals to ask other people to bring them gifts, as noted by Reader’s Digest. The sex of the baby is also held secret until the birth, even if the parents opt to find out, according to Reader’s Digest, and the queen is the first person who must be told of the baby’s birth.
The world has gotten used to seeing new royal moms and dads appear on the steps of the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in London for the first photo of their little one, but The Sun reported that is a fairly new tradition. Prince William was the first royal to be born in a hospital; previously royals had given birth at home, according to The Sun. Even in the hospital, Middleton was attended by three midwives in addition to the doctors and nurses, and The Sun reported that Markle should receive similar care.
Any public appearances Markle decides to do during her maternity leave are pretty much up to her, according to The Express, though being a royal does come with a lot of family responsibilities. For example, Middleton would have needed a really good reason to miss out on the wedding of Prince Harry and Markle, as well as the Trooping the Colour celebration of the queen’s birthday, as The Express reported.
Despite wanting the best for her and her newborn, fans are likely already hoping that Markle will at least make an appearance or two during her maternity leave. A year without a glimpse of England’s most adorable couple is just far too long.