Is Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Frogmore Decision Their Most Traditional Move Yet?
According to an expert, their reported decision to go without a staff isn't all that groundbreaking.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have practically defined the term "breaking tradition" ever since they got together (remember Harry's unprecedented defense of Meghan?) — at least in the royal sense of the phrase.
On Tuesday, it was reported that instead of having a staff on-hand at their country home, Frogmore Cottage, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been relying on new grandmother Doria Ragland to help out as they adjust to being parents to baby Archie.
"They don't yet have a nanny or a team of staff and there's no chef," a source told royal commentator Katie Nicholl. Nicholl also noted that Ragland has been staying with Meghan and Harry for the last several weeks since her arrival in the country, and the source said that she's been a huge help to them — especially with Harry having to step away for royal duties.
But according to Alexandra Messervy, a royal etiquette expert and founder of The English Manner, it's fairly common for moms in Europe to have their mothers stay to help in the first few days or week.
"I am sure they will have a nanny at some point because of having to go out on engagements and performing their royal duties, but it would be quite normal in the first few weeks [for Ragland] to be there with the baby," she tells InStyle. "The duchess needs to have time to recover, may well be feeding little Archie herself, and [is on] maternity leave."
And as for the lack of staff at Frogmore, Messervy says, "remember, they are second son of the heir to the throne and do not have a need for a huge personal household retinue."
Frogmore, she explains, isn't a huge space like Buckingham Palace that would require a ton of staff, and Meghan and Harry might be trying to be respectful of the time and effort that a staff would need to devote to them. Households do tend to have far fewer staffers these days anyway, Messervy says, and staff members typically have mixed roles, like being both a chef and housekeeper.
"Not many homes have the space or inclination for a full retinue of staff and they are probably not finding it necessary to do so," Messervy says. "We train many households now to have much fewer staff in multiple roles, it is the modern way!"
Before Archie was born, rumors swirled that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex might hire a nanny, but nothing to that nature has been confirmed yet. Either way, it sounds like Archie will have as normal an upbringing as is possible for a member of the royal family, sans royal title and, as it seems, no official staff.