Why we're worried about the royal baby

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's royal wedding took place in May 2018, and the couple soon announced that they were expecting their first baby together. So much has happened since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's fairytale nuptials, from the pair embarking upon their very first royal tour together — which saw them travel to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and the Kingdom of Tonga — to their move from Kensington Palace to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor. And as Meghan and Harry prepare for their new life as part of a family of three, it's only natural for us onlookers to wonder what life will be like for the royal baby.

As a historic institution, the British royal family is ingrained with rules. While Meghan and Harry's baby won't necessarily be subjected to the same rules as Prince William and Kate Middleton's children, mainly because William will be king one day, there will inevitably be some inescapable royal regulations. Here we take a look at some of the reasons why we're worried about Harry and Meghan's royal baby.

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Long before Meghan and Harry got engaged, the prince was forced to issue a statement regarding his girlfriend's treatment in the British press. In November 2016, Prince Harry's communications secretary released a statement via the royal family's official website, explaining, "Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her." The statement also noted that Meghan had "been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment," adding, "Some of this has been very public — the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments."

But despite Harry jumping to Meghan's defense, it's impossible to deny that she has continued to face abuse, especially since joining the royal family. CNN reported in March 2019 that Kensington Palace staff were on high alert and were regularly "deleting comments targeting Meghan" in response to negative news articles about the duchess. 

The shocking harassment that Meghan has faced since becoming involved with the royal family is even more concerning now that she is about to welcome her first baby. However, a source told Vanity Fair that the couple's new home, Frogmore Cottage, features increased security measures: "No one can get close. Harry and Meghan have made Frogmore their very own fortress." However, like his or her parents, the baby presumably won't be immune to press intrusion.

The long process of dual citizenship

With an American mother and a British father, the royal baby's nationality was alway going to be a big topic of conversation. While many might assume that the child would automatically qualify for dual citizenship, that's apparently not the case. The U.K. government guidelines confirm that a baby is automatically British if one of its parents is a British citizen at the time of birth. However, per the U.S. government, "A child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents may acquire U.S. citizenship at birth if certain statutory requirements are met."

Meghan resided in the United States for at least five years after the age of 14, having been born and raised in California, so her child would be eligible for American citizenship. But Harry and Meghan will apparently need to get in contact with the U.S. embassy or consulate upon their baby's birth and apply for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America, or a CRBA, if they want their baby to be a U.S. citizen. As such, dual citizenship is a process rather than a guarantee. Harry and Meghan may decide that they want their child to solely be a British citizen, especially as Prince Harry's communication's secretary confirmed in December 2017, via BBC, that Meghan "intends to become a U.K. citizen and will go through the process of that, which some of you may know takes a number of years."

Prince, princess, or just an ordinary kid?

If you thought that the royal baby's citizenship was complicated, then it's time to think again. As the royal family is a historic institution, not all of its rules and regulations have been updated to reflect issues, such as gender equality, for which the modern world strives. Although the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 means that female heirs don't lose their place in line to the throne when a male heir is born, unsurprisingly several royal family rules still favor male heirs over female ones. For instance, at the time of this writing, only male members of the royal family are entitled to dukedoms when they get married (via People). Conversely, the only way that a woman can become a duchess is through marriage.

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told The Independent in October 2018, "This raises an interesting question, what Harry and Meghan, who may prove to be unconventional royal parents when they start a family, want for their children." And royal correspondent Omid Scobie recently explained on the On Heir podcast, "We've heard from several sources on both sides that the couple really hope to forgo the formality of royal titles." For now, at least, it's unclear whether Harry and Meghan's baby will have a royal title or not.

Grandpa is worried about the future

Before you ask why we're worried about the royal baby in relation to global warming and climate change, hear us out. In November 2018, Prince Charles discussed his own concerns about bringing another grandchild into the world, as reported by The Telegraph, and his reasoning might surprise you. Charles explained, "I am about to have another grandchild actually." He continued, "It does seem to me insanity if we are going to bequeath this completely polluted, damaged and destroyed world to them," noting, "All grandchildren deserve a better future." As of this writing, Charles already has three grandchildren, of course, thanks to Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Markle is reportedly concerned as well, with a friend allegedly telling People in 2019 that the duchess' "California roots are coming through." The source continued, "She's being mindful of what she puts in her body and on her skin and even her at-home cleaning supplies," adding, "She's hyperaware of what she's using. She's looking for natural things." While it's unlikely that any huge strides will be made anytime soon when it comes to global warming, it's clear that both Meghan Markle and Prince Charles are committed to healthy living, and will strive to protect the royal baby from pollution wherever possible.

The baby may start working early

Since getting married, Meghan and Harry have already traveled extensively — from their first royal tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and the Kingdom of Tonga in October 2018, to their trip to Morocco in February 2019. And it's already being rumored that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are planning another royal tour when their baby is about 6 months old. As The Sunday Times reported in April 2019, a royal source has allegedly revealed that Meghan and Harry are planning a short tour in Africa in the fall of 2019. The source explained, "They hope to take the baby with them but will make a decision nearer the time. Potentially, Meghan and the baby could do some, if not all, of the trip."

Royal expert Roya Nikkhah, writing for The Sunday Times, revealed that the royal baby "would become one of the youngest royals to go on an official tour." And as Meghan and Harry both have important roles within the British royal family, it's undeniable that the royal baby is likely to have a busy schedule, just like his or her parents. Prior reports by The Times rumored that "courtiers have drawn up plans to hand the Duke and Duchess of Sussex a major international job that could see them moving abroad after the birth of their child." And, according to CNN, "Buckingham Palace did not deny … that the trip is being planned," adding further fuel to the fire.

We see you trollin'... you hatin'

Much like the intense press intrusion that Meghan has faced since joining the royal family, the royal baby will likely have to face a lot of online hatred, especially from social media trolls. For instance, according to the Daily Mail, before the royal baby has even arrived, some trolls are claiming that Meghan isn't really pregnant and is simply wearing a prosthetic baby bump. The publication noted that trolls have been spreading their "wild theories across the internet using hashtags such as #moonbump," in reference to the conspiracy that the iconic moon landing never happened, insinuating that she's only pretending to be an expectant mother.

The offices of the royal family have already responded to the vicious and damaging rumors by issuing new social media community guidelines. Reuters reported in March 2019 that "royal officials would determine whether the guidelines had been breached and anyone who did so would be blocked or have their comments hidden or deleted." While it's unclear whether the new guidelines have made a significant difference to the abuse faced by the Duchess of Sussex, it's definitely a scary time for the royal baby to be joining the royal family.

So many royal rules

As a historic British institution, the royal family is expected to adhere to some pretty strict rules. And whether or not the royal baby will be bestowed with an official title or not is far from the only concern that Meghan and Harry will have to deal with. For instance, according to Hello! magazine, the Queen is always the first to be informed when a new royal baby is born. Per the publication, "When Prince George was born, William called his grandmother on a specially encrypted phone to tell her the happy news. The new father proceeded to tell Kate's family, then his, enjoying their new bundle of joy for a few hours before announcing the birth to the public."

When it comes to the baby's christening, Meghan and Harry's child will wear "a replica of the Honiton lace and satin christening gown made for Queen Victoria's eldest daughter in 1941," according to Hello! magazine. And when it comes to who will perform the christening, Good Housekeeping explained, "While they've taken place in various churches and chapels, it's the Archbishop of Canterbury — the most senior bishop in the Church of England — who always has the honors of performing the rite." And as the baby grows up, it'll become clear that there are a plethora of important rules to abide by — from knowing which member of the royal family enters a room first to potentially requiring a ruling monarch's permission to get engaged.

Having to dress like a lord or lady

Members of the royal family are rarely caught on camera looking casual, and there's a reason for that. While needing to dress in formal wear for important events and official engagements is a must, the royal baby's everyday clothing is likely to be smart as well. For instance, as Harper's Bazaar UK reported in June 2018, Prince George is regularly seen wearing shorts instead of pants, and there's reasoning behind the seemingly simple clothing decision. Etiquette expert William Hanson told the publication, "It's a very English thing to dress a young boy in shorts." He continued, "Trousers are for older boys and men, whereas shorts on young boys is one of those silent class markers."

However, while speaking on an International Women's Day panel, Meghan joked (via Harper's Bazaar), "It's funny, I'd actually been joking these past few weeks; I'd seen this documentary on Netflix about feminism and one of the things they said during pregnancy was, 'I feel the embryonic kicking of feminism.'" She continued, "I loved that. So boy or girl, whatever it is, we hope that that's the case." Along with Vanity Fair's claim that Meghan "is understood to have told at least one friend that they want to raise their baby without gender-stereotyping," it's possible that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex may try to eschew traditional clothing rules altogether when it comes to the royal baby.

Being a royal is a full-time job

Just as there are multiple rules Meghan and Harry's baby will have to follow as a member of the royal family, the vocations open to him or her could also be limited. As the royal baby will, as of this writing, be seventh in line to the British throne, the little one might be expected to undertake a life dedicated to the royal family, much like father Prince Harry.

Harry himself struggled with his role within the royal family before finally settling down with Meghan. He stated in 2017 (via the Daily Mail), "I spent many years kicking my heels and I didn't want to grow up." The Duke of Sussex even went so far as to admit, "I felt I wanted out but then decided to stay in and work out a role for myself." Harry apparently stayed due to his commitment to his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and said, "We don't want to be just a bunch of celebrities but instead use our role for good," which explains his passion for multiple humanitarian efforts and charities

The royal baby will also one day have to find his or her place within the royal family, which will be far from an easy task.