Let’s All Stop The Speculation About Meghan Markle’s Womb, Shall We?

The Duchess is once again the subject of pregnancy rumours, and we're eye-rolling SO hard

meghan markle pregnant

by Katie Rosseinsky |
Updated on

It's the day of Princess Eugenie's royal wedding, and headlines are screaming one question: Is Meghan Markle pregnant? The reasoning behind this line of enquiry (other than the fact that it's apparently fair game to speculate on the status of a royal woman's womb - see also Kate Middleton) is that Meghan's wedding outfit features a silhouette that differs from her usual style. The occasion-appropriate Givenchy coat dress in navy blue, which the Duchess paired with complementary accessories from Noel Stewart, was buttoned at the top but was left open at the waist - prompting a slew of comments about how the outfit would be 'perfect for hiding a baby bump.' Sigh.

So many women in their thirties will have had to grin and bear it while they face down awkward questions from well-meaning family members, over-solicitous acquaintances and even complete strangers: have you thought about having children? And might there be a baby on the way soon? It’s a line of interrogation that often intensifies just after a wedding – and, following her high-profile nuptials back in May, the Duchess of Sussex is experiencing this scrutiny on a major scale.

Prior to the royal wedding, past interviews and the couple’s post-engagement conversation with the BBC’s Mishal Husain were analysed and then analysed again for hints that they’d be keen to soon start a family (and thus provide the world with some heart-warming royal baby #content from the steps of the Lindo Wing ASAP); a former colleague of Meghan’s made headlines when she recalled the new Duchess saying that she ‘would absolutely love to have children, [and] can’t wait to be a mother.’ Since then, the slightest bunching of fabric around the stomach area - or conversely, if the Duchess chooses an outfit that's less than body-conscious, like her autumn wedding ensemble - has been enough to prompt a slew of articles questioning whether there's a ‘baby on the way?’ for the Sussexes. It’s all a little wearying – a constant reminder that, for many, Meghan won’t appear to be doing her job ‘properly’ if she doesn’t produce a royal heir, and that, by extension, all women are good for is carrying children.

Thanks to the impending royal tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga, there’s been even further, more invasive speculation. Last month, Daily Express reporter Richard Palmer noted on Twitter that British bookmakers Coral had slashed the odds on Harry and Meghan’s first child being born next year to 1-4. The fact that a woman’s uterus is the subject of betting nationwide would be grim enough, but the discussion didn’t end there, with Palmer noting ‘I believe women visiting areas affected by Zika are advised to wait up to six months before trying to get pregnant.’ As Fiji and Tonga are currently risk areas for the mosquito-borne virus, which can cause problems such as microcephaly in children when contracted by pregnant women, the implication is that the Sussexes would have to wait a while after their trip before attempting to conceive safely, thus throwing Coral’s bets off course and making a 2019 baby rather unlikely.

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Pixie Geldof and Jack Brooksbank1 of 25
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Pixie Geldof and Jack Brooksbank

Jimmy Carr and Karoline Copping2 of 25
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Jimmy Carr and Karoline Copping

Richard Bacon3 of 25
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Richard Bacon

Tracey Emin4 of 25
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Tracey Emin

Chelsea Davy5 of 25
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Chelsea Davy

Heather Kerzner6 of 25
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Heather Kerzner

David Emmanuel7 of 25
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David Emmanuel

Naomi Campbell8 of 25
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Naomi Campbell

Liv Tyler and Dave Gardner9 of 25
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Liv Tyler and Dave Gardner

Ollie Proudlock and Emma Louise Connolly10 of 25
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Ollie Proudlock and Emma Louise Connolly

Owain Walbyoff and Natalie Pinkham11 of 25
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Owain Walbyoff and Natalie Pinkham

Ellie Goulding12 of 25
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Ellie Goulding

Cressida Bonas13 of 25
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Cressida Bonas

James Blunt and Sofia Wellesley14 of 25
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James Blunt and Sofia Wellesley

Robbie Williams and Ayda Williams15 of 25
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Robbie Williams and Ayda Williams

Sophie Countess of Wessex, James Viscount Severn and Prince Edward16 of 25
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Sophie Countess of Wessex, James Viscount Severn and Prince Edward

Pippa Middleton and James Middleton17 of 25
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Pippa Middleton and James Middleton

Cara Delevingne and James Cook18 of 25
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Cara Delevingne and James Cook

Sarah Ferguson Duchess of York19 of 25
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Sarah Ferguson Duchess of York

Demi Moore and Zac Posen20 of 25
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Demi Moore and Zac Posen

Princess Charlotte21 of 25
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Princess Charlotte

Catherine Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William22 of 25
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Catherine Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip23 of 25
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Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip

Elliott Spencer and Stephen Fry24 of 25
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Elliott Spencer and Stephen Fry

Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence25 of 25

Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence

Of course, Palmer’s point is a factually accurate one (though some health guidelines have recently taken the incubation period down to three months) - it may well be the case that this is something that the couple have had to consider. But this overly detailed speculation about Meghan and Harry’s personal choices, counting down to a potential date when the Duchess might be able to fulfil the role of royal mother, certainly leaves an unpleasant taste.

At this stage, Meghan is one of the most famous women in the world, as well as one who is regularly cited as a role model for young women thanks to her high-profile advocacy and charity work. Seeing the conversation around her reduced to the question of ‘baby or no baby?’ is particularly depressing as it merely re-emphasises how motherhood is still seen as a woman’s crowning achievement, whatever their other accomplishments. It’d be a shame to see Eugenie's wedding and the Sussexes’ first international tour overshadowed by constant discussion of the Duchess’s uterus: while we praise Meghan and Harry for their more modern approach to royalty, surely we should stop taking such a medieval attitude to one woman’s fertility.

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