Another royal great-grandchild is on the way: Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan are pregnant with their second child.
A spokesperson for the couple confirmed Sunday in a statement to USA TODAY that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting.
The Valentine’s Day statement did not say when or where the baby would be born. The couple have been living in Southern California since March, just before the pandemic shut down travel around the world.
The news means a baby brother or sister for their first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, who turns 2 in May.
Meghan and Harry’s friend, photographer Misan Harriman, posted a new black-and-white photo of the couple on Instagram to celebrate the news. In it, a barefoot Harry sits on the grass, with Meghan in his lap, her hand draped over a prominent baby bump visible under her casual maxi-dress. Harriman’s hashtags note the photo was shot remotely on an iPad.
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This child will be a member of the British royal family but is likely to be American-born, now that Harry, 36, and the former Meghan Markle, 39, are living in Santa Barbara County, California, close to where Markle was born and raised.
The new baby will be the 10th or 11th great-grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II, 94, and her husband, Prince Philip, 99. Archie was the eighth and their granddaughter Princess Eugenie gave birth to her first child, a boy, on Feb. 9. Granddaughter Zara Phillips Tindall is also expecting her third child.
Harry and Meghan’s second child, the fifth grandchild for Prince Charles, will be eighth in line to the throne, just behind Archie and Harry and following his Cambridge cousins, Prince George, 7, Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2.
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Like Archie, the second Sussex baby is unlikely to get a title from the queen: Harry and Meghan turned one down for Archie.
In July, Meghan suffered a miscarriage, a loss she revealed In a remarkably candid column she wrote for The New York Times titled “The Losses We Share.” She gave an intimate account of her experience, describing how tragedy struck on a “morning that began as ordinarily as any other day.”
But it’s unclear how open Harry and Meghan will be about the details of the new baby’s birth – where it will take place, who will be the godparents, when the birth certificate will be filed, and so on.
The couple were parsimonious with such facts about Archie’s birth on May 6, 2019, not disclosing where and not announcing it until after it had happened and she had returned home.
Only later, after his birth was officially recorded, did the world learn that Archie was born in an American-owned hospital, The Portland, in London. Unlike the births of Harry’s royal nephews and niece, the couple declined to allow pictures of the baby before his christening ceremony.
This break with recent royal custom infuriated the British tabloid media, further exacerbating an already tense relationship. It culminated in Harry and Meghan’s stunning announcement in January 2020 that they were stepping away from their senior royal roles and moving to North America to pursue more freedom, privacy and financial independence.
That set off two months of acrimony and recriminations, tense negotiations with Harry’s family and palace courtiers, and furious accusations by the tabloids that the couple were abandoning duty to get rich in America.
Now they’re budding Hollywood moguls who signed high-priced deals with Netflix and Spotify to produce entertainment content and podcasts. They’ve been locked down like everyone else but they’re spending the pandemic in their newly purchased home, a sprawling luxury estate in pricey Montecito outside Santa Barbara. And they’ve lately seen a string of legal wins against tabloids over complaints of libel and invasion of privacy.
The queen hasn’t seen Archie in person since the fall of 2019, in part thanks to the pandemic, which has kept the nonagenarian royals protected in a royal bubble at Windsor Castle for most of the last nine months. Like everyone else, the queen and her husband have learned how to Zoom call with her family.
A new Sussex baby also raises questions of about citizenship. Archie, born in London, is a British-born citizen but can also claim American citizenship one day through his American mother, Meghan, if he chooses.
But if the new Sussex baby is born in the U.S., he or she will be an American citizen immediately, thanks to the 14th Amendment, and thus could vote, apply for an American passport, or even run for president of the United States one day.
And as the child of a British citizen (Harry) born abroad, he could also claim British citizenship when he reaches adulthood. Since his position in the royal succession is so far down, he is unlikely to ever sit on the throne so his citizenship status is less urgent – unless he or she wants to be prime minister some day.
Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff, Kim Willis