Will Meghan Markle's Maternity Leave Be the Same as Kate Middleton's?

On Monday, Kensington Palace announced that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are expecting their first child together. So far, we know that Meghan's pregnancy has not stopped her from traveling (hello, 16 day tour of Australia), and where her wardrobe is concerned, things have changed only slightly — think: swapping her go-to heels for flats.

The Duke And Duchess Of Sussex Visit Australia - Day 3
Scott Barbour/Getty Images

But we still have plenty of unanswered questions, such as: What will Meghan's birth plan look like? Will she follow in Kate's footsteps, posing for the press outside of the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital mere hours after giving birth? And will she take a 6 month maternity leave from royal duties, as Kate also observed?

We consulted Alexandra Messervy, a royal etiquette expert and founder of The English Manner to find out.

On where she'll give birth:

Though it's a royals tradition to give birth at the Lindo Wing and pose for photographers (Princess Diana, too, posed with her newborn babes immediately following their births), Messervy says there is no official expectation for Meghan. “The Lindo Wing is often used, but not always,” she said.

The act of posing following childbirth has become an especially contentious topic of discussion in recent months, with women like Keira Knightley blasting the expectation placed on Kate Middleton to be photo-ready after hours and hours of labor. Should Meghan opt out of the tradition, we wouldn't be too surprised — as we all know, she's never been afraid to rebel against royal protocol.

On the length of her maternity leave:

Though we saw plenty of Kate during her 6 month maternity leave following Prince Louis's birth in April (thanks to family obligations like attending her brother-in-law's royal wedding), there's a chance that Meghan may be out of the spotlight for a full year. As Messervy explained to InStyle, "maternity leave in this country is a maximum of one year," so the Duchess could take a longer break from official royal duties to be with her little one. That said, Messervy doesn't find that likely.

"I have no doubt that no member of the royal family would ever take [a full year] as they would think they should set an example of working as soon as all settles," she said, "especially as they often have additional help on hand."

However long or short her leave will be, it also wouldn't be too shocking if Meghan dipped from the hustle and bustle in London in favor of the countryside, where she and Harry have decided to raise their kiddos.

We're still a good 6 months away from the Duchess's due date, so for now nothing is definitive. In case you need us, we'll be counting down the days.

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