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Meghan Markle's Maternity Leave and Prince Harry's Paternity Leave

Updated on February 19, 2019
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Margaret Minnicks is an online writer who writes about the royal family.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | Source

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex are planning for a newborn in late April or early May. When Meghan's pregnancy was announced last October, Kensington Palace said the royal baby is expected to arrive in the Spring of 2019.

Both parents might take leave from their royal duties before and after the baby is born. Details have not been announced about how they will handle the leave they are entitled to get. No one will know for sure until it happens.

Maternity Leave and Paternity Leave Defined

Maternity leave is the time a mother takes off from work before or after her baby is born or adopted. It could be before or after or a combination of both.

Paternity leave is the time a father takes time off from his job when he and his wife have a baby. The father's leave might not be as long as his wife's.

Usually, in the United States, the mother takes at least six weeks off and the father takes no time off from work. Some mothers work as long as they can before the baby is born so there will be more leave to take after the birth.

The Royals have their own rules for maternity and paternity leave as well as for shared parental leave.

Shared parental leave is just what it says. Both parents can share up to 50 weeks of leave. They can either take the leave together, or they can stagger their time off with the mother and father alternating their work schedules so at least one of them will be with their new baby.

Meghan's Maternity Leave and Prince Harry's Paternity Leave?

How will the Duke and Duchess of Sussex handle their leave? It really depends on what they want. Meghan could be out of the spotlight for a full six months or an entire year, or she could make an appearance sooner. Prince Harry could take leave for two weeks, or he could use shared leave.

Knowing how much Meghan and Harry love children and are excited about having a baby, they might settle for shared leave, according to royal reporter Victoria Arbiter.

Meghan Markle in her last trimester of pregnancy
Meghan Markle in her last trimester of pregnancy | Source

Meghan is expected to take maternity leave early so she can prepare for the baby. Then she might take more time after the baby is born. The official dates of her maternity leave depend on what the couple decides.

However, if Meghan is to follow in Kate Middleton's footsteps, her last royal engagement will be around a month before she is due to give birth. The royal calendar indicates Meghan’s last confirmed royal event is a three-day trip to Morocco with Prince Harry from February 23 to February 25. She has no more dates on the calendar after then.

According to royal expert Russell Myers, the Duchess of Sussex could take up to a year off. Because of her work ethics, she probably would work up to her delivery date if she wasn't moving into a new house at Frogmore Cottage. Therefore, she might begin her maternity leave before the baby is born to prepare for the arrival.

Kate Middleton and Prince William's Leave

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's maternity and paternity leave were different every time they had their three children.

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge have three children. That means they have taken maternity and paternity leave three times and none of the times were the same. They handled the leaves differently with each one of their children.

When the couple's first child was born, Kate went back to work six weeks after Prince George's birth. When Princess Charlotte was born, she took five months off. When Prince Louis was born, she took six months off.

On the other hand, Prince William took only two weeks off for Prince George and Princess Charlotte. However, he didn't take any paternity leave for their third child.

Maternity Leave in the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, employed pregnant women are entitled to an entire year of maternity leave no matter how long they have been on the job. Initially, they get 26 weeks of standard maternity leave. Then they may request an extension of 26 additional weeks if they need more time. These rules also apply to the royals.

Even though royal women are on maternity leave, they may attend engagements. Kate Middleton attended Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in May after she had given birth in April. She also attended other events as a guest while she was on maternity leave after given birth to Prince Louis.

Meghan's leave might be a long one because it will give her time to get used to living in a new place as well as time to get used to the new addition to her family.

Whether she takes a short leave or a long time, she will more than likely be in line with other royal women.

Queen Elizabeth took 18 months off when Prince Andrew was born. She also took 18 months off when Prince Edward was born. She took off more time than any other royal.

Royal
Maternity Leave
Child
Queen Elizabeth
18 months
Prince Andrew, third child
Queen Elizabeth
18 months
Prince Edward, fourth and youngest child
Princess Anne
6 months
Peter, first child
Princess Anne
10 months
Zara Tindall, second child
Princess Diana
8 months
Prince William, first child
Princess Diana
6 months
Prince Harry, second child
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge
6 weeks
Prince George, first child
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge
5 months
Princess Charlotte, second child
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge
6 months
Prince Louis, third child
Countess Sophie of Wessex
8 months
Lady Louise Windsor
Zara Tindall
3 months
Mia Tindall, first child
Zara Tindall
4 months
Lena Tindall, second child

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