How Long Will Meghan Markle Be on Maternity Leave?

The Duchess of Sussex went into labor in the early hours of Monday.

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Well, the big day has arrived: Meghan Markle went into labor (opens in new tab) early Monday morning, and gave birth to her first child, a boy, later on Monday . Many of the details of Meghan Markle's birth plan are unknown for the time being (including the sex of the baby (opens in new tab) as of yet), but a look back at Kate Middleton and Princess Diana's maternity leaves might help us put together some idea of how long the mother-to-be plans to be off the grid. Update, 5/6, 10:15 a.m.: Meghan gave birth to her first child, a baby boy weighing seven pounds and three ounces, at 5:26 a.m. on May 6. Here's everything we know so far.  (opens in new tab)

Kate's last official public engagement pre-Louis took place on March 22, 2018, a month before Prince Louis was born. If the Duchess of Cambridge's history is any indication of what Meghan might do, it's very possible that she has already stepped back to prepare for the birth of her child. Meghan's appearance at the Commonwealth Day service (opens in new tab) several weeks ago marked the end of her royal duties before beginning her maternity leave.

With the birth of each of her three children, Kate took different approach (opens in new tab)—the Duchess of Cambridge was back in action within a month of giving birth to Prince George but took off more than five months with both Princess Charlotte and her youngest, Prince Louis. If Meghan follows her sister-in-law's lead with George and Charlotte, we could very well be seeing the new mom out and about with the little one sooner than later as she resumes her her royal obligations.

According to one Palace insider, however, it's more likely that Meghan will be on maternity leave for up to six months (opens in new tab) before tackling her first post-baby public engagement—if we start the six months from the day she gives birth (which could be today), six months would be the beginning of November. (The U.K. has a much more generous  (opens in new tab)approach to maternity leave than the U.S.—more on that late.r)

The word is that Meghan and Harry have already made plans to attend the One Young World's annual global summit in late October. Combined with her responsibilities as the new vice president of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust and the four royal patronages (opens in new tab) that she received earlier this year, Her Royal Highness will definitely have her hands full when she does get back to work.

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Meghan's duties as part of the royal family require her to travel across the globe—her recent royal tour took her as far as Australia, Fiji, and the Kingdom of Tonga—could she be considering taking her child to work with her (possibly on her and Harry's North American tour (opens in new tab) this fall) when her maternity leave ends? After all, Princess Diana did embark on a six-week tour of Australia and New Zealand with Prince William in tow only ten months after he was born. Definitely not standard royal protocol, but if it worked for Diana, we think it could work for Meghan as well.

Speaking of norms, the rules surrounding maternity leave are jarringly different across the pond—in the UK, new mothers are required by law (opens in new tab) to take at least two weeks off to be with their newborns. Depending on their employers, partners can share up to 50 weeks of leave. Prince William paused his schedule for two weeks after the births of George and Charlotte, so we're guessing that first-time dad Harry will likely do the same in order to get in as many precious snuggles as possible with Baby Sussex.

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