Regardless of where she gives birth, Duchess Meghan's labour will be as carefully planned as her maternity wardrobe.
With Baby Sussex due in late April or early May, the duchess and her husband Prince Harry have two locales to choose from (possibly with a doula in tow) – the public Mulberry Birth Centre at Frimley Park NHS Hospital or the private Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital, both of which have royal approval.
The Duchess of Cambridge famously debuted day-old Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis on the steps of the Lindo Wing, like Princess Diana before her, while Harry’s uncle and aunt, Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex, brought their little ones into the world at Frimley Park.
While the iconic Lindo Wing (which rings in at more than $10,000 for a suite) is glamourous, the more holistic Mulberry has made an impression on former patients. Here's everything you need to know about both potential birthing locations.
The Mulberry Birth Centre at Frimley Park Hospital
The delivery rooms in the Mulberry Birth Centre are in line with Meghan’s sensibilities thanks to calming mood lighting, birthing pools and spa-like floral wallpaper. The large rooms have king-size beds, Dyson fans and a gourmet vegan menu option with a burger, stir fry, curry, fruit smoothies and more.
Noah and Bear co-founder Jo Thomson, who delivered in the public hospital’s birthing pool, told The Sun that it felt like the halfway point between a home birth and a maternity ward. “It’s like a hotel in the Mulberry, it doesn’t feel like you’re in a hospital,” she said. “It’s really feminine, the walls are covered in pictures of flowers and you can have different colour settings and moods with all the lights.”
Friends of the royal duo recently told Vanity Fair that they’re planning a natural birth and the mom-to-be will use hypnobirthing to manage the pain, a breathing and visualization technique that, along with aromatherapy, is supported at the Mulberry. This will follow months of relaxing and blood flow-boosting treatments by accupuncturist-to-the-stars Ross Barr, which she plans to continue “right up to her due date.”
The room’s also have “big comfy chairs” and high-end cots where Baby Sussex will spend his or her first hours. “They’re more like bedside cribs, with proper bars,” Jo added. “One side comes down so you can co-sleep with it next to the bed. It’s much more homely.”
The Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital
Meghan may also opt to welcome Baby Sussex in the tried and true Lindo Wing, where her sister-in-law Kate delivered all three of her children.
There are more than a few perks at this posh ward, from the afternoon tea and sandwiches served to celebrate baby’s arrival to bottomless glasses of bubbly, a gourmet chef and a post-delivery massage. Much like the Mulberry, it’s definitely got glam hotel vibes.
“While the Lindo Wing was a functional hospital, it was a little bit like a hotel in terms of the service,” Londoner Katherine Filkins, who also delivered there, told HELLO!. “You had really fancy toiletries, the quality of the food that you got was fantastic. There was a wine list, you could have had champagne if you wanted. Right after the birth, they bring you a delicious afternoon tea for you and your family.”
Katherine’s other half was spoiled, too. “My husband was treated very well and they were more than happy to create a bed for him. He’d have a selection of meals to choose from the menu every day.”
Plus, the duchess’s sister-in-law Kate is said to have paved the way for royal hypnobirthing and natural labour at the Lindo, so Meghan could stick to her birth plan.
Or Meghan could have a home birth
It’s been said that the Duchess of Sussex may shirk hospitals altogether in a break with recent practice. But home births actually have roots in royal tradition – queens and princesses sweat through their deliveries in the comfort of their palaces well into the 20th century.
When the Queen delivered Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in the ’40s, dad-to-be Prince Philip was reportedly on the squash court! (Though he later became the first royal dad ever to be present for a birth in 1964.). Princess Anne was the first member of the family to opt for a hospital delivery – at the Lindo Wing – and since then it’s been the mode of choice.
With their tendency to carve out their own unique royal path, we won’t be surprised if the palace tweets that Meghan and Harry are having baby in their stunning country home.