Parenthood is one of the most unpredictable yet fulfilling journeys one can embark on. For Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, that journey has been just as rewarding as it has been devastating.
After their highly anticipated glamorous wedding in 2018, which was attended by the high and the mighty and majorly those with blue blood in their veins, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle embarked on a journey to become parents.
And in the summer of 2019, an excited Harry announced that on the morning of May 6, they had received their hearts' desires when they welcomed a bouncing baby boy they named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at Canada House on March 11, 2019 in London, England. | Source: Getty Images
"It's been the most amazing experience I could ever possibly imagine." Harry excitedly quipped in his announcement, adding that mother and son were doing great.
Days later, the happy couple gave an interview with their newborn wrapped lovingly in his father's arms, detailing their excitement at finally claiming the titles of "mom" and "dad."
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with their newborn son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle on May 8, 2019 in Windsor, England. | Source: Getty Images
With Harry holding his baby boy protectively in his arms and constantly staring at his tiny face, the couple shared their joy at becoming first-time parents. Markle, who now and then held a hand over her baby, had this to say:
"It's magic, it's pretty amazing, and I have the best two guys in the world."
The new parents could not help but shower their baby with praises, with the former "Suits" actress claiming that Archie was calm and had the sweetest temperament.
While most first-time fathers are often nervous about the consequent responsibilities, Harry was nothing but excited. Despite admitting to having early mornings because of the baby, he reveled in his new-dad glow.
His friends confessed that he looked happier and enjoyed that stage of his life. He reportedly could not take his eyes — or hands — off his baby. Chairman of Sentebale, Johnny Hornby, would later say of the new parents:
"The two of them are just in a state of sheer delight over this birth."
However, Harry did not mince his words about wanting two children despite fully embracing the role. During a visit to Dublin, a fan told Harry that she had five children and challenged him on when he and Markle would enlarge their brood. The fan says of Harry's reaction:
"He laughed and said, 'five children? — too many.'"
And when the prince interviewed Dr. Jane Goodall about the future of sustainability, Harry disclosed that his reason for wanting only two children maximum was because we live in a "borrowed" place.
Prince Harry, and his wife Meghan Markle with their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor on September 25, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa | Source: Getty Images
He feels it's only intelligent to think about the future generations and leave behind a home that would be sustainable for them as well, and that, he says, can only be achieved by having a few kids.
A DEVASTATING LOSS
Following the success of their first pregnancy and birth process, the Sussexes soon became pregnant with their second child and were looking forward to experiencing the fantastic journey once more — until tragedy struck.
One morning in July 2020, Markle was getting ready for her regular morning routine — making breakfast, feeding the dog, and taking vitamins — before she could pick her son up from the crib.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex on stage during The Fashion Awards 2018 at Royal Albert Hall on December 10, 2018 in London, England. | Source: Getty Images
But after changing Archie's diaper, she felt a sharp pain in her lower abdomen and simultaneously dropped to the floor with her just-over-a-year-old son clutched in her arms. Even though she hoped it was nothing, she was almost sure something was not right. She shared:
"I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second."
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex departs after visiting The National Theatre on January 30, 2019 in London, England. | Source: Getty Images
Hours after the incident, as Markle lay in her hospital bed under the scrutiny of her doctors, she held on tightly to her husband's hands as she tried to figure out how they would deal with the pain of the unbearable loss. She said:
"I felt the clamminess of his palm and kissed his knuckles, wet from both our tears."
Prince Harry, and his wife Meghan Markle with their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor at Billingbear Polo Club on July 10, 2019 in Wokingham, England. | Source: Getty Images
She watched "[her] husband's heartbreak as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of [hers]." But even then, she understood how deep her husband's pain ran because they shared the grief even in such a moment. And while she was not okay, she knew they would be. She thought:
"Are we OK? We will be."
Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle attend a street dance class on January 18, 2018 in Cardiff, Wales. | Source Getty Images
After facing such a devastating loss, Markle took it upon herself to share her pain to encourage other women to share their experiences with miscarriages.
While she is not the first royal member to suffer a miscarriage, she was the first to speak and write about it, to help women that had suffered the trauma and help break the ice on an issue that, despite being very common, remains a taboo subject. She shared, as The Guardian reports:
"It is important that we remove any stigma or shame surrounding this issue and adequately support families during this time."
WELCOMING THEIR RAINBOW BABY
The grief of miscarriage was not an easy hurdle to overcome, but Markle and Harry did, and in February 2021, the happy couple announced that they would be second-time parents. A spokesman for the Sussexes told People:
"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."
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit a local secondary school meeting students and teachers on February 24, 2019 in Asni, Morocco | Source: Getty Images
But despite the fantastic news, a source told People that the couple was understandably "nervous, and it took them a while before they could relax and fully enjoy [the] pregnancy."
Fortunately, her pregnancy was smooth, and on June 4, 2021, they welcomed their daughter, Lilibet "Lili" Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, at the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California.
Prince Harry, and his wife Meghan Markle at the Natural History Museum on February 12, 2019 in London, England. | Source: Getty Images
Weighing an impressive 7 lbs 11 oz., baby Lilibet arrived healthy, as was the mother. Considering what they had been through in the previous year, they felt their daughter was a "blessing from God." They wrote:
"We were blessed with the arrival of our daughter, Lili."
Prince Harry, and his wife Meghan Markle in London on October 15, 2019. | Source: Getty Images
And now, little Lilibet is already reaching numerous milestones. In April 2022, the happy couple announced that she had taken her first steps at 11 months, and Harry could not be prouder. He told People:
"Her current priorities are trying to keep up with her brother; she took her first step just a few days ago! Proud papa, here."
The family of four is now looking forward to celebrating Lilibet's first birthday, which will coincide with her great grandmother Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee celebrations to commemorate the Queen's 70 years on the throne.