After choosing to quit the royal family early last year, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set for a very different experience as they become parents for the second time in sunny California rather than Windsor, with a backdrop of big-money deals with Netflix and Spotify, rather than staid royal duties.
But while their new path might seem unprecendeted in the royal family, the couple may well look for inspiration at Harry’s cousin Lord Frederick Windsor, 41, and, more importantly, his wife Sophie.
The former Peep Show star, 40, became the first member of the royal family to give birth in the US when she had her older daughter Maud in LA in 2013, and could provide a blueprint for Meghan in the coming months.
Like Maud, who was granted US citizenship after being born at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the new Baby Sussex number two will both be a US and a British citizen.
Sophie, who rose to fame as Big Suze in the hit comedy Peep Show, was playing Ashton Kutcher’s girlfriend on Two and a Half Men at the time, but has since relocated to London and is set to resume her acting career, which went on hold after a serious car accident, and then the pandemic.
Despite this, she’s insisted there’s no conflict between her career and being a member of the royal family, albeit on the fringes, telling The Times she’s not had ‘a single negative experience’, saying: I’ve been incredibly welcomed with open arms by all of them
‘The Queen’s been wonderful, Prince Charles has been wonderful, Prince William’s been heaven. They’d never tell me off at all if I wanted to play some [racy] role.’
Lord Frederik Windsor, 41, left and former actress Sophie Winkleman, 40, had their first daughter Maud, pictured, who is 51st in line for the throne in 2013. She was the first royal baby born on US soil (pictured: the family on the occasion of Maud’s christening in December 2013)
Sophie, now Lady Windsor, married Lord Frederik Windsor, the son of Princess Michael of Kent, the Queen’s first cousin once removed, in 2009 at Hampton Court, Surrey.
Four years into their marriage they lived in Los Angeles due to the demands of Sophia’s career, who had a recurring role on the US series Two and a Half Men.
Their daughter Maud was born at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles in August 2013, becoming the first royal baby to be born on US soil.
Maud and her younger sister Isabella, who was born in 2016 in the UK, do not have royal titles.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are already the parents of Archie, who turns two in May, have announced on Valentine’s Day that they are expecting their second child, who is likely to be born in the US. They accompanied their statement with a black and white picture revealing Meghan Markles’ baby bump
Sophie as Big Suze in the Channel 4 hit Peep show. Sophie’s career has remained active after she’s married into the royal family in 2009
Maud is 51st in line to the throne, but is much further down than her royal third cousin Archie, who is seventh on line, and she will be bumped down a few notches after the birth of Archie’s sibling and Zara Tindall’s third child.
In spite of their parents’ US stint, Maud, who was Christened at St James Chapel in Windsor in December 2013, and Isabella are close to their cousins.
After Sophie, her husband and their two daughters have relocated to London, Maud used to attend Thomas’s Battersea, the same school as Prince George six, and Princess Charlotte, five before the coronavirus pandemic.
Maud is close with her cousins and is in the same class as George: the pair are reportedly great friends.
She was also one of Princess Eugenie’s bridesmaids on her 12 October 2018 wedding to Jack Brooksbank, along with Princess Charlotte, Isla and Savannah Phillips and Mia Tindall.
Because Maud was born in the US, she was granted US citizenship at birth, but her sister Isabella, four, only has the British citizenship because she was born in London and both her parents are British.
In the Sussex case, both Archie and his siblings will have dual citizenship due to the fact Meghan is a US citizen and Prince Harry is British.
However, the younger Sussex will be able to run for the US presidency if he chooses, because of being born on US soil; Archie, who was born in England in 2019, cannot pretend to become the US Commander in Chief.
Sophie’s younger daughter Isabella, pictured at Lady Gabriella Windsor’s wedding in May 2019, was born in the UK and only has UK citizenship. Maud, who was born in the US, is an US citizen as well as a British citizen
Alongside marrying into royalty and the birth of her two daughter, Sophie has also kept working as an actress, appearing in ITV’s shortlived Sanditon series in 2019 and recently had a recurring role in C.B Strike, a crime drama based on the novel by Robert Galbraith.
Sophie’s life as a working actress and working royal could be a blueprint for Meghan if she wished to go back o acting after the birth of her second baby.
The Suits actress has been focusing on her philanthropy following the couple’s decision to step back as senior royals, but she has also done some voiceover work for Disney, and narrated their Elephant animated movie on Disney+.
It was announced in September 2020 that the Sussexes had struck a multiyear deal with Netflix, meaning Meghan’s time behind the screen are not over.
Harry and Meghan announced on Valentine’s Day that they were expecting – the same day Princess Diana revealed she was expecting Harry in 1984.
They are yet to reveal when they are expecting the baby, who will be a younger brother or sister to Archie who turns two in May.
Royal biographer Angela Levin said news of Meghan’s pregnancy was tinged with sadness for the Royal family because they are unsure when they will get to meet the new baby, not having seen Archie for months.
She told ITV: ‘The worrying thing, of course, is will this new baby ever see their father’s family?
‘I think there’s a doubt over that. They’ll be a little American, they can also be English too. But will the royals ever see them?’
Ms Levin added: ‘I think the Queen made a very nice comment that everybody’s delighted, and of course they are.
‘But there is a sadness underneath that she hasn’t seen Archie as a person for a very long time.
‘So there’s a sorrow even though they will be her eleventh great-grandchild, which will be quite amazing.
‘But I do think it’s quite sad as well as being happy.’