Thursday, 4 Mar 2021

Princess Eugenie may have faced same pressures as Meghan over birth ‘if not for pandemic’

Meghan Markle and Harry: Expert on 'huge' mention of Archie

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Eugenie gave birth to the Queen’s ninth great-grandchild earlier this month. She and her husband Jack revealed a few days later that their son was called August Philip Hawkes Brooksbank, and released a handful of informal photographs showing their new family. Everything about August’s birth was a far cry from the furore which surrounded Meghan Markle when she went into labour in May 2019, with her son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

Like August, Archie is a great-grandchild of the Queen and the two were born at the same hospital.

But, where Meghan was expected to share all the details of her labour, and do a photocall just hours after the birth, Eugenie managed to avoid all the publicity surrounding her son’s arrival.

During ITV’s podcast, ‘The Royal Rota’, commentator Lizzie Robinson compared the two royal babies.

She said: “He [August] was born at the Portland [hospital], where Eugenie and her sister Beatrice were both born — and of course where Archie was born.”

ITV’s royal editor Chris Ship responded: “Yes, although they [Eugenie and Jack] weren’t forthcoming with that information in the same way.

“Somebody put on my social media this week, ‘Where is all the braying for her to do a photocall and the rest of it’?”

Meghan received widespread backlash when it was announced she wanted to avoid a photocall shortly after giving birth — subsequently breaking royal tradition set by Harry’s mother Princess Diana.

She was thought to be pursuing a home birth, too, in her Windsor home Frogmore Cottage.

However, she actually gave birth in the nearby Portland hospital — just like Eugenie.

Mr Ship continued: “I think it all comes down to profile.

“Meghan and Harry were very, very high profile, Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank aren’t.”

However, Ms Robinson pointed out: “There are photographs of Eugenie and Beatrice on the steps of the Portland [hospital] when they were born.

“I don’t know, if we weren’t living in Covid times, would there have been more of a push for that to have happened, or not?

“At the moment, there’s no way they would want huge numbers of media gathering outside of hospitals.”

Press packs usually gather together to get a photograph of the new parents after a royal birth, meaning it would have been a hot-spot for the transmission of the virus.

She added: “It was also a snowy day in London on Tuesday, so I was quite thankful that we weren’t spending many hours outside Portland.”

The pandemic allowed Eugenie to conduct her pregnancy in relative secrecy.

She did not announce she was expecting until September, and even then it was through her own social media post on her private Instagram page.

In comparison, Meghan and Harry’s first child was announced through Buckingham Palace.

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The Duchess of Sussex’s growing baby bump then became a source of interest throughout her pregnancy as she continued to carry out public engagements.

However, now that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have officially left the royal frontline they have been able to keep the news of their second child to themselves, too.

Earlier this month, they announced they were expecting — but made no mention of the baby’s gender or its due date.

They also released one photograph to mark the occasion — an informal black and white image, showing the two bare-foot in a garden with Meghan’s head on her husband’s lap.

Eugenie and Harry are said to be remarkably good friends, and the Duke of Sussex reportedly even introduced his future wife to Eugenie first out of all of the royals.

The Sussexes also offered up Frogmore Cottage to her and her husband a few months ago, but the expecting parents only stayed for six weeks before moving in with Eugenie’s parents in the Royal Lodge.

The similarities between the two couples should not be surprising.

It’s thought that when Harry and Meghan announced they wanted to leave the royal frontline and step back from their position as senior royals, they were hoping to adopt the “quasi-royal” role Eugenie has.

In a statement on sussexroyal.com from last January, the couple said: “While there is precedent for other titled members of the Royal Family to seek employment outside of the institution, for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, a 12-month review period has been put in place.”

Eugenie has been working as a director at the London art gallery Hauser & Wirth for years, but has maintained use of her HRH, as well as a handful of patronages.

Many commentators also claimed that Eugenie may have replicated Meghan and Harry’s first published photographs of their newborn, when she released an image of the baby’s tiny feet, while obscuring his face.

Eugenie also married her husband just five months after the Sussexes tied the knot, and in the same place, St George’s Chapel.

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