WINDSOR, England, (Reuters) – Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex and wife of Britain’s Prince Harry, gave birth to a boy yesterday, the seventh-in-line to the throne and described by his proud father as “absolutely to die for”.
The baby, who has not yet been named, was born in the early hours of the morning weighing 7 lbs 3oz (3.26 kg). Meghan, a U.S.-born former actress, and the baby, the couple’s first child, were both healthy and well, the palace said.
“How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension but we’re both absolutely thrilled and so grateful to all the love and support from everybody out there,” a smiling Harry told reporters in Windsor, west of London where the couple live.
“It was amazing, absolutely incredible. As I say, I am so incredibly proud of my wife and, as every father and parent would ever say your baby is absolutely amazing, this little thing is absolutely to die for.”
Harry, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, was present for the birth and Doria Ragland, Meghan’s mother, was with the couple at their home, Frogmore Cottage, on the estate of Windsor Castle where they married in a lavish ceremony in May last year.
The baby is the eighth great grandchild of the 93-year-old queen, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, and could be entitled to hold joint British and American citizenship according to nationality rules.
However, the child will not automatically be a prince or a princess and any such title would have to be bestowed by the queen by issuing what is known as a letter patent.
The queen and other members of the royal family, including the sister and brother of Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, were delighted by the news of the birth, the palace said.
Britain’s royal family attracts huge media interest but the younger members, especially Harry, 34, and Meghan, 37, are treated like Hollywood superstars.
Their baby is the first mixed race baby born into a senior position in British royalty, according to royal experts.
For some this is a significant moment for the monarchy. Others note however that Meghan, whose mother is African-American and father is white, has been the target of racist commentary on social media.
“It’s symbolic of a more modern monarchy. It appeals to people across the world,” royal biographer Claudia Joseph told Reuters. “They will be able to identify with the royal family as never before.”
Harry and Meghan used their official Instagram account to announce the birth, in modern fashion. But in accordance with a tradition dating back at least to 1837 when Buckingham Palace became the sovereign’s official residence, some hours later a notice announcing the birth was posted on a ceremonial easel on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.
The palace did not confirm whether Meghan gave birth at home. While the late Princess Diana gave birth to Harry and his older brother William in hospital, the queen’s four children were all born at Buckingham Palace.
James, Alexander, Albert, Philip, and Arthur are among the favourite names for the child, according to bookmakers.
“We’re still thinking about names,” Harry said. “The baby’s a little bit overdue so we’ve had a little bit of time to think about it … that’s the next bit.”
Meghan’s father Thomas Markle, a former lighting director for U.S. TV soaps and sitcoms, said he was delighted at the news.
“I am proud that my new grandson is born into the British royal family and I am sure that he will grow up to serve the crown and the people of Britain with grace, dignity, and honour,” he said in a statement to the Sun newspaper.