When Will Meghan Markle Start Maternity Leave from Her Royal Duties?
Meghan Markle has kept a busy schedule throughout her pregnancy. After all, the exciting news was announced on the eve of her 16-day royal tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand with Prince Harry — where they packed in an impressive 76 engagements.
And as her due date grows near (she told fans in January that she is due to give birth in late April), the Duchess of Sussex hasn't lost momentum, from working with her first four royal patronages to making surprise appearances with Harry. She's even continued to travel extensively, jetting from New York City for her baby shower back to London before departing for a three-day tour of Morocco just days later in February.
However, royal fans can expect Meghan to step out of the public eye as she gets closer to her due date. She'll likely begin her maternity leave around late March.Harry will also probably take a few weeks off following his son or daughter's arrival.
In the U.K., eligible employees can take up to 52 weeks maternity leavethis link opens in a new tab – in fact, they're required to take at least two weeks off after giving birth (or four weeks if the mother is a factory worker). New fathers are also eligible for one or two weeks of paternity leavethis link opens in a new tab.
Kate Middleton has handled maternity leave differently for all three of her children. She returned to work quickly after Prince George's birth in 2013, making her first public appearance at the Ring O'Fire Ultra Marathon less than six weeks later. Kate took a longer break after welcoming Princess Charlotte in 2015, returning to work after about four months.
Kate's final day of outings before giving birth to her third child came on March 22, 2018 – and Prince Louis was born a month later on April 23.
The royal mom took her longest break after Louis' birth, not returning to official duties until October, when she visited the Sayers Croft Forest School and Wildlife Garden in London. However, she did make some public outings during her time off, including an appearance at Meghan and Harry's May nuptials and joining her family at Trooping the Colour in June.
Prince William was out just two days after welcoming Prince Louis into the family, attending the annual Anzac Day Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey alongside Harry and Meghan.
However, William was caught having a tough time keeping his eyes open for a few moments during the service. The royal appeared to drift off a few times, then waking back up with numerous blinks — the universal sign for a parent of a newborn!
Despite needing to catch up on some shut-eye himself, the royal dad told crowds that the little prince was sleeping “reasonably well.”
Meghan will celebrate International Women's Day on Friday by participating in a panel discussion at King's College London. Other panelists include music icon and activist Annie Lennox, model and activist Adwoa Aboah and former Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard.
The Duchess of Sussex will be out again on Monday, when she'll join other members of the royal family at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey. Meghan and Harry will also attend a Commonwealth Day event at Canada House that day – a sweet connection, as the former actress adopted Toronto as her base while shooting Suits.