An overjoyed Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting a baby, and shared the news with the Queen and royal family at Princess Eugenie’s wedding.
Meghan, who wed Harry just five months ago, has had her 12 week scan and is believed to be due in late April.
Kensington Palace made the announcement after the duke and duchess arrived in Sydney on Monday on the eve of their 16-day major tour which will take in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga.
Congratulations poured in for the thrilled couple, with Prime Minister Theresa May offering her “warmest congratulations” and the Archbishop of Canterbury, who married Harry and Meghan, saying: “Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their happy news! Prayers for them in the months ahead.”
The Kingdom Choir gospel singers who performed Stand By Me at Harry and Meghan’s wedding sent their best wishes to “the beautiful couple”.
The baby will be seventh in line to the throne, and the Queen’s eighth great-grandchild.
Kensington Palace said there would be no change to the itinerary of Harry and Meghan’s tour including to Fiji and Tonga, despite travel advice that pregnant women should consider not travelling to the countries because of the moderate Zika virus risk.
The palace said the couple had sought medical advice and decided to continue with their plans.
Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the Spring of 2019. pic.twitter.com/Ut9C0RagLk— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) October 15, 2018
In a statement, Kensington Palace said: “Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the Spring of 2019.
“Their Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public.”
The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are said to be “delighted” for the couple.
Harry and Meghan were able to tell the Queen and other members of their family at Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s wedding on Friday in Windsor.
Speculation grew that Meghan was expecting when she wore a loose fitting Givenchy coat to the service in St George’s Chapel.
Doria Ragland, the duchess’s mother, is “very happy about this lovely news” and “looks forward to welcoming her first grandchild”.
The baby will be a first cousin of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
But the baby will not be a prince or a princess unless the Queen steps in to issue a Letters Patent ahead of the birth.
Both Harry and Meghan have spoken openly about wanting to start a family.
The topic cropped up in their engagement interview, with Harry, saying: “Hopefully we’ll start a family in the near future.”
The pair are also known for their warm, caring approach when meeting youngsters on official visits.
Even the duchess’s father Thomas Markle, whom she is believed not to have spoken to since her wedding, said he expected children soon.
He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain in an interview a month after the duke and duchess married: “She’s wanted children for a long time and when she met Harry and she spoke about how much she loves him, there’s got to be a child in the making, somewhere soon.”
The duchess found fame playing Rachel Zane in the US legal drama Suits.
Harry, 34, and 37-year-old Meghan became engaged following a whirlwind 16-month romance after going on a blind date in London.
The prince has told how “all the stars were aligned” when they met.
“This beautiful woman just sort of literally tripped and fell into my life, I fell into her life,” he said when their engagement was announced last November.
They married in a glittering ceremony in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in May.