Meghan Markle baby announcement blunder that saw Palace issue apology
It was a week that changed the Royal Family forever when Archie was born.
And it played out just how Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wanted – with them calling the shots.
Their desire to do things their way even led to a few blunders from the Palace.
They first announced Meghan was in labour on Monday, May 6 when she had actually already given birth and was back in the comfort of her own home.
This was then followed with an announcement on the official Royal Family website wrongly stating it was Kate Middleton and Prince William who had welcomed the tot – not Meghan and Harry.
The website error was quickly rectified and the timing blunder was blamed on "technical difficulties" with an apology issued.
But now with baby number 2 on the way, Meghan and Harry will have total control over how they handle the birth as they are no longer senior royals, or in the country.
Meghan's due date is rumoured to be either May or June.
A spokesman for the couple said on Valentine's Day: "We can confirm that Archie is going to be a big brother. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are overjoyed to be expecting their second child."
With Archie, the couple were always determined to be in control and not follow in Kate and William's footsteps – even if it meant breaking tradition.
It began late on Sunday under the cover of darkness, when Meghan – thought to be a week past her due date – was whisked into the back of a blacked-out vehicle with Harry by her side.
Escorted by a Scotland Yard Security team, they started the 40 minute journey from their new home, Frogmore Cottage, in Windsor and made a beeline for The Portland Hospital in London.
When they arrived at the luxury private maternity hospital – which serves champagne, lobster and foie grass and is where Princess Eugenie gave birth – they slipped in through a discreet entrance unnoticed.
It would be hours later, at 5.26am, that Meghan and Harry welcomed their first child, a boy named Archie weighing 7lbs 3oz.
Meanwhile, royal reporters, photographers and avid fans had not got so much of a sniff about the arrival of the seventh in line to the throne.
Even senior members of the Royal Family were reportedly kept in the dark to keep the impending frenzy at bay and minimise the news being leaked.
The covert plan had been so well executed none of the media or TV camera crews stationed near the couple's home had realised the pair had made a hasty exit.
A photograph of which would have commanded a fee of thousands.
So when the official announcement by Buckingham Palace came at 2pm that Meghan had gone into labour – eight hours after she had actually given birth – the new family of three were sat hidden away in the comfort of their home.
Meanwhile, reporters and fans were racing to get to Windsor in anticipation of the second statement that the baby had been born.
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But the world didn't have long to wait as just 40 minutes later – and in a royal first – Harry and Meghan used their Instagram account to break the news they had welcomed a son.
The image featured the white intertwining H and M logo, bearing the words 'It's a BOY!'.
While underneath it said: 'Their ROYAL HIGHNESSES the DUKE and DUCHESS of SUSSEX are OVERJOYED to announce the BIRTH of their CHILD'.
The image was the epitome of sophistication.
It was carefully designed using different fonts, while the words were set on a dark blue background – a shade to rival Farrow & Ball's pitch blue paint, a colour used in the homes of the style conscious.
Buckingham Palace later issued an apology for the "technical difficulties" over the timing of the announcements. Harry and Meghan's Head of Communications, Sarah Latham, further described the incident as a "colossal tech failure."
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But there was more awkwardness when, shortly afterwards, Buckingham Palace followed suit with the same announcement details, sans image – and with an awkward blunder.
Instead of naming Meghan and Harry as the tot's parents it said Archie was the first child of Kate and William.
The statement was quickly changed – but not before hundreds spotted.
It said: "Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was born at 05:26 on Monday 6 May.
"He is the first child of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and is seventh in line to the throne.
"Archie weighed 7lb 3oz and The Duke of Sussex was present for the birth."
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The decision to break the news themselves encapsulated the couple's determination to dance to their tune – and stay in control.
They had already decided to break tradition and shun the huge photocall on the steps outside the Lindo Wing in Paddington – as Meghan reportedly believed it was archaic.
However, it is something Kate and Prince William had done with all three of their children, and Princess Diana and Prince Charles before them.
Harry and Meghan had also previously refused to reveal where the Duchess would give birth, sparking speculation she had opted to have the baby at their recently renovated home – but was it all a smoke screen?
Weeks before the Duchess's due date, a note was issued to the media stating: "Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private.
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"The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family."
Emphasis throughout the pregnancy was always put on the word "privately" something royal commentator Ingrid Seward has said Harry is "paranoid about".
Even on Monday afternoon, when Harry gave his first interview as a father he chose to do it in neutral territory – outside and in front of the stables in Windsor Castle rather than a more intimate or poignant location.
He shared exactly the amount of detail he wanted and gushed: "This little thing is absolutely to-die-for so I'm absolutely over the moon."
But when pressed over a baby name, the Duke remained tight-lipped.
He also confirmed the world would get its first glimpse of the Queen's eighth great-grandchild in two days time.
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And when the proud new parents unveiled snoozing baby Archie on Wednesday – again at a location and timing of their choosing – they continued to call the shots.
A group of hand-picked members of the media were awaiting them in Windsor Castle and had been meticulously briefed over what was expected of them and how long they would have with the trio.
A blanket ban was put on the interview and pictures being shared until 12.40pm.
The time was thought to coincide with the American breakfast news show, in a nod to Meghan's former home country.
Later that day, the couple shared three photographs with their son taken by their wedding reception photographer Chris Allerton.
And not long afterwards they posted what is now being hailed a symbolic image of the Queen meeting Archie – because of the prominence of Meghan's mother in the photo.
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No other non-royal has ever been included in such a prominent way in the birth announcement, including Kate's family.
Alongside the Monarch was Prince Philip and Harry, as well as Doria Ragland who looked every inch the doting gran as she peered over daughter's shoulder and gazed lovingly at her new grandson.
The 64-year-old appeared in awe of the royal tot who lay peacefully in Meghan's arms wrapped in a white wool shawl as they stood in one of the grand rooms of Windsor Castle.
The history-making photo has been celebrated and hailed as symbolic of multicultural Britain.
Patrick Vernon OBE, a prominent campaigner during the UK’s Windrush scandal, described the photo as reflecting the royal family’s embrace of “modernity”.
At the time he told HuffPost UK: “The presence of the mother is significantly important as it reminds the public and the royal family there is black in the Union Jack."
Meanwhile, the carefully orchestrated timings of the photos being released gave newspapers ample time to design their front pages around them.
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And in another clear sign of wanting to do things their way, Meghan and Harry decided not to give their son a title.
This is said to have been inspired by Harry's own struggles growing up as a royal, according to royal expert Penny Junor.
She said Harry would have "dearly liked to have been a normal boy" and wanted to give his baby the opportunities of an ordinary life that he never had.
Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor is not an earl or a lord, but will be known simply as Archie, with Master as a prefix when required.
He is not entitled to be a prince or an HRH, but could have used the courtesy title Earl of Dumbarton, or been Lord Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
Junor said of the decision: "It's exactly what I would have expected from Harry.
"He would have dearly liked to have been a normal boy growing up and found his title very difficult.
"I think that his choice for his son is to let him have the kind of life that he didn't have."
Archie also has the surname his great-grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh was not permitted to give to his own children.
After Elizabeth II's accession in 1952, the Queen declared that the royal family's surname would still be Windsor and not Mountbatten, much to the Duke of Edinburgh's annoyance.
"I'm just a bloody amoeba," he is said to have shouted, when learning his children would not bear his surname, complaining he was the only man in the country not allowed to do so.
Junor added: "I would think the Duke of Edinburgh would be absolutely thrilled with that.
"Archie is a lovely name, but the fact that they've chosen to call him Mountbatten-Windsor.
"Prince Philip was never allowed to call his children by his own surname.
"I think that's a really nice tribute to Harry's grandfather."
Meanwhile, Meghan and Harry's pregnancy announcement this week also appeared to be carefully orchestrated with it being on Valentine's Day – and exactly 37 years after Princess Diana announced she was pregnant with Harry.
The happy news was announced with the couple sharing a black and white picture of themselves looking loved-up under a tree.
Harry rests his hand on Meghan's head as she lays in his lap cradling her bump.
The image is said to have been filled with symbolic references.
Photographer Misan Harriman, who took the photo over an iPad, told Vogue: "With the tree of life behind them and the garden representing fertility, life and moving forward, they didn’t need any direction, because they are, and always have been, waltzing through life together as absolute soulmates."
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