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Let's Stop Speculating About If And When Meghan Markle Might Have A Baby

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It’s fair to say that, as a thirty-something woman preparing to tie the knot, Meghan Markle’s present experience couldn’t be further than that of her peer group. The exact design of her wedding dress is practically a state secret, for one – and wildly speculating as to just what that wedding dress will look like (guilty!) has become a micro-industry, one that's currently keeping vast swathes of royal experts in profitable employment. Everything she wears in the run up to May 19th – when her wedding ceremony will be broadcast for millions of people to watch around the world, waving flags and maybe even – is pored over for meaning like a GCSE set text as we scrabble around for clues about said dress. She's released - via Kensington Palace - a lengthy dossier detailing almost everything that will happen on her wedding day, down to the timings and entrances, she'll be driven through the streets of Windsor in a carriage pulled by a father-son duo of horses named Storm and Tyrone, and she’s had to invite Fergie, Elton John and Ellie Goulding to her wedding (though she will have Prince George on page boy duties, which certainly balances things out). So far, so wildly unrelatable. But in one respect, the future Duchess is just like her thirty-something counterparts: she’s already the subject of speculation as to if and when she’s going to start having babies.

In Sky One’s new documentary Harry and Meghan: A Love Story (not to be confused with Harry and Meghan: A Royal Romance, the guilty pleasure Lifetime Movie that’ll screen on Channel Five on May 13th), Meghan’s agent Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne reveals that during a work-related trip to the Cayman Islands, the former actress shared her thoughts on motherhood: ‘I would absolutely love to have children, and I can’t wait to be a mother,’ Nelthorpe-Cowne recalls her saying.

It’s hardly a surprise that these attributed remarks immediately prompted a slew of headlines, all focusing on just how keen Meghan allegedly is to bring a new royal baby into the world. Paired with Prince Harry’s having briefly alluding to the prospect of having children in the couple’s first official interview – ‘One step at a time and hopefully we’ll start a family in the near future,’ he told the BBC’s Mishal Husain back in November – plus that fact that, you know, Kate Middleton has just had a new baby, so surely Meghan must want one too, these quotes are being used as an excuse to get a pre-emptive start on a new round of that favourite national sport, Royal Baby Watch.

Look back on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's relationship timeline in the gallery below...

Interest in high profile pregnancies is hardly a new phenomenon, and in the case of the royal family, this interest often feels particularly anachronistic because of the quasi-medieval language of it all: heirs, succession, bloodline. While expecting Prince William (a child who would be a direct heir, thus subjecting his mother to an even more intense scrutiny) Princess Diana reportedly complained to her friends that ‘the whole world is watching my stomach.’ These days, it still seems as if royal pregnancies are used as an excuse to interrogate the woman in question’s body, reducing her to biological processes. Of course, it's always taken as implicit that said woman wants nothing more than motherhood, and that she'll be able to conceive as soon as she decides to, when we know that, in reality, things aren't always quite that simple.

Of course, it's certainly possibly that Meghan and Harry are thinking of starting a family in the near future, in which case we couldn't be happier for them. But starting a pre-emptive, hypothetical countdown until the day that Meghan might appear on the steps of the Lindo Wing, an impeccably coiffed vision with a baby in her arms - and implying that, despite her future charity work and the causes she chooses to spotlight, she somehow won't have succeeded in her new royal role unless she and her future husband have issued a pregnancy announcement in the 365 days following her wedding - sets a damaging precedent. If we choose to celebrate Meghan and Harry for their more modern, forward-thinking take on royalty, surely we should echo that attitude in the way we approach speculation on and discussions about pregnancy and motherhood.