Updated May 6, 2019. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have welcomed their first baby.
The New York Times reports that the Duchess of Sussex gave birth to a baby boy weighing 7 pounds, 3 ounces. The new child is seventh in line to the throne and Queen Elizabeth’s eighth great-grandchild. A name has not yet been chosen.
“This little thing is absolutely to die for, so I’m just over the moon,” Prince Harry told reporters outside the couple’s residence near Windsor Castle. “Mother and baby are doing incredibly well. It’s been the most amazing experience I can ever possibly imagine. How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension, and we’re both absolutely thrilled.”
The Vegan Royal Baby
According to an unnamed “palace insider,” who spoke to Woman’s Day last month, “Meghan wants her baby to be raised a vegan.”
The alleged move aligns with the couple’s recent shift toward plant-based foods.
The 37-year-old former actor adheres to a vegan diet during the week whilst Harry has been eating “less meat and more fruit and veg,” according to an inside source, as reported by News.com.au.
It was rumored that Markle planned birth at the Mulberry Birth Centre at Frimley Park Hospital, a royal insider revealed. The facility has birthing pools, private recovery rooms, and a full vegan menu.
Where Markle gave birth is unclear at this moment, however, she eschewed tradition by making it a private affair, allowing no photographs following the birth, according to CBS.
A Vegan Nursery
The move away from animal products expands further than diet; the pair opted for vegan paint in the decoration of their nursery, which was painted in gender-neutral colors like grey and white.
The vegan paint, made by the Organic and Natural Paint Co, is eco-friendly and free from toxic ingredients. It’s infused with rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils, which help to clear and purify the air.
A source told the Sun newspaper, “rather than opt for fashionable Farrow and Ball paint in favored shades such as Wevet, Peignoir, and Pavilion Grey and Salmon, the Sussexes are much in favor of The Organic & Natural Paint Co’s Auro range for the nursery.”
Animal product-free paint was also used to decorate Frogmore Cottage’s “floating yoga studio,” a mother-and-baby yoga room with a “floating” floor, according to News.com.au.
Will the New Baby Take Part in Royal Traditions?
Again shifting away from tradition and toward better animal welfare, Prince Harry decided to not partake in the royal family’s traditional Boxing Day hunt in 2017, and in 2018, the prince opted out of his family’s annual bird shooting expedition.
According to various “royal insiders,” this was down to Markle’s influence. One told the Sun last September, “Meghan is a keen animal rights campaigner and doesn’t like hunting in any form. If it means breaking with long-standing royal traditions to avoid upsetting her, so be it.”
The Duchess’ anti-hunting stance could mean that the new baby won’t take part in annual royal hunts either. As the Sun reports, she is an animal lover. According to her former agent Gina Nelthorpe-Crown, Markle once canceled her booking at a hotel after seeing that it kept a live parrot in a cage.
The Duchess has also refused to promote the use of fur in fashion, on grounds of animal cruelty. According to Nelthorpe-Crown, “she flat out refuses to promote fur or animal products, instead opting to wear faux fur.”
Did Burberry Drop Fur Because of Meghan Markle?
In May 2018, major fashion label Burberry revealed it was dropping fur from its designs. The move was praised by the Humane Society International, who suggested that Markle’s involvement with the British royal family may have prompted the brand to finally make the ethical decision.
“HSI first met with Burberry almost a decade ago to urge the brand to drop fur, so we are delighted that this iconic British fashion giant is finally reviewing its fur policy,” said Claire Bass, HSI’s executive director in a statement.
She continued, “Burberry is famous for being a royal fashion favorite so Meghan Markle [sic], who is well-known for disliking fur, joining the family is sure to have made the quintessentially British brand look twice at its fur policy.”
Will the New Baby be Raised Wearing Ethical Fashion?
Markle doesn’t only avoid fur when it comes to her wardrobe, she also actively seeks out ethical designers.
Stella McCartney is a favorite of the Duchess, the vegan designer is known for her commitment to sustainability in fashion, and is actively helping to shape an ethical future of the industry. Earlier this year, McCartney’s brand sent models down the runway sporting temporary tattoos that read statements like “vegan,” “fur-free fur,” and “earth day every day.”
Last year, Markle was spotted wearing vegan leather Stella McCartney Stan Smith sneakers and she opted to wear a cruelty-free dress by the designer for her wedding reception.
Although not technically vegan, the silk crepe dress was made using “peace silk.” Obtaining silk this way allows the moths to emerge naturally from their cocoons and then fly away, the silk is then gathered up afterward and used for material. Other designers often obtain silk with the less ethical method of boiling silkworms alive.
Lucky for Markle, Stella McCartney also design ethical clothes for children. In June, the brand released a sustainable nature-inspired collection for kids featuring insects like bees and ladybirds.
The Stella McCartney website noted at the time, “as the conservation of insects far and wide is becoming more important for making our planet healthy and biodiverse, we are encouraging lots of support for our little friends.”
In December, the brand launched a “Veg Gang” collection in order to encourage children to have more fun with healthy foods and inspire them to eat more fruit and veg. The collection — which included slogan t-shirts with statements like “Peas Out!” and “Beet It” next to cool-looking vegetables — was made with organic cotton and recycled materials.
Supporters of Environmental Conservation
It is likely the new royal baby will be raised not only with an awareness of healthy foods and compassion for living things but also with respect for the planet.
Both Prince Harry and Markle are keen supporters of environmental conservation; even their wedding day helped to support sustainable organizations.
The bride and groom asked that anyone who wished to celebrate their big day with them make a donation to one or more of seven chosen charities. Two of the charities — Surfers Against Sewage and The Wilderness Foundation UK — were focused on pro-environmental and sustainable causes.
The Wilderness UK educates inspires a passion for conservation in urban teenagers and adults by teaching them about rural employment, and Surfers Against Sewage works to rid the oceans and waterways of plastic pollution.
Hugo Tagholm, the Surfers Against Sewage chief executive, said in April of last year, “Surfers Against Sewage is thrilled to be one of the charities chosen to benefit from donations marking the wedding of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle.”
He continued, “Our work as a national marine conservation charity empowers tens of thousands of volunteers annually to protect beaches for everyone.”
The Royal Family And Veganism
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex aren’t the only members of the royal family interested in the plant-based, cruelty-free movement for their health and the environment.
Last month, it was reported that the baby’s grandad, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, is staying healthy by eating more organic food and less meat.
According to one onlooker who saw the Prince on holiday in Barbados recently, his new lifestyle has him looking healthier than ever. “Charles looked absolutely incredible,” they told the mirror. “He has a physique of a very fit man less than half his age. He is a testament to living a healthy and active lifestyle.”
In a discussion with vegetarian historian Sir David Attenborough, Prince William — the Duke of Cambridge and soon-to-be uncle — spoke about the future of the planet.
The pair discussed the importance of changing our own behaviors to address climate change. Recently, Attenborough has commented that humankind must eat less meat for the good of the planet
Who Else is Raising a Vegan Child?
Prince Harry and Markle aren’t alone in wanting to raise their baby as a vegan. More parents than ever are choosing to raise their children on a plant-based diet.
While some have concerns over how much nutrition a baby can get from a plant-based diet, research from last year found that one in 12 families in the UK are raising their kids as vegan, mainly for health reasons.
LIVEKINDLY’s editor-in-chief Jill Ettinger is raising her daughter Imogene on a vegan diet, she says, “our pediatrician has been so supportive of our diet choice and the benefits have always been clear to her.” She adds, “Imogene hardly ever gets sick, is a star student, extremely athletic and keeps growing like a weed.”
While some family members were initially sceptical, now “all they see is a healthy, strong, and bright child, and they no longer question it,” says Ettinger.
Actor Alicia Silverstone is also bringing up her son Bear as a vegan. Like Ettinger, she claims that her child rarely gets sick.
“He’s never had to take medicine in his life. He can get sniffles and a runny nose but he’s not down, he still goes to school,” she told Page Six. “Two times in his life has he been like ‘Mommy I don’t feel good,’ and it was only for a few hours and he was back running around.”