Meghan Markle’s baby shower
Tabloids have been buzzing since Meghan Markle touched back down in the United States for the first time since marrying Prince Harry in May 2018. This time around, she’s gone solo without her husband. Pregnant with her first child, Meghan is apparently having a girls’ getaway in New York City with a special twist: a baby shower.
To Americans, a baby shower is the ultimate tradition for mothers-to-be, but the opposite holds true in the British royal family. Before Kate Middleton gave birth to her first child in 2013, there were rumours circulating that her sister, Pippa Middleton, would be throwing her a pre-baby bash at their family home. But the party never came to be—apparently because she’d been given a hard “no.”
Throwing a baby shower—which, as a quick reminder, is basically an excuse for getting tons of baby gifts—would have been seen as tacky, ABC News royal expert Victoria Arbiter told the news station in 2013. “They are clearly very wealthy, and a lavish baby shower would be seen as highly inappropriate,” she said. “There’s nothing they can’t go out and buy themselves.” In the end, Kate Middleton apparently chose not to have a shower for any of her three kids. (Check out these other etiquette rules the royal family has to follow.)
So then what makes Meghan Markle so special? This is the royal family—it comes down to tradition, of course.
Baby showers made their debut in America in the early 1900s, but they weren’t particularly common and were really only for middle- and upper-class families. There was no guarantee that the mother and child would survive back then, so more emphasis was put on post-birth celebrations. It wasn’t until after World War II when home births started going out of fashion that baby showers really took off—in America, that is. The tradition never really took hold in Britain, so even though they’ve been starting to gain traction in recent years, they still aren’t the norm.
So while Meghan having a baby shower would be celebrating a U.S. tradition, it would have been seen as more self-indulgent for Kate. (This is why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s baby won’t get a royal title.)
Even though showers are an American tradition, Meghan Markle might put a royal-approved twist on hers. For Meghan and Harry’s wedding, the couple asked for charity donations in lieu of wedding presents, and gifts from official royal visits are often given to charity or staff members. Seeing as this baby shower will be a fairly intimate affair with about 15 guests, there’s a good chance it will either be a celebration, sans presents, or she and Harry could always donate the gifts to charity.