The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are to keep details about the arrangements for the birth of their baby private, Kensington Palace has said.
The decision comes after growing speculation Harry and Meghan are planning a home birth for their first child at their new home Frogmore Cottage, close to the Queen’s Windsor Castle home.
It has also been reported the couple have picked their own medical team to directly oversee the arrival of the Queen’s latest great grandchild – dispensing with senior medical staff associated with the royal family.
Kensington Palace said in statement: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very grateful for the goodwill they have received from people throughout the United Kingdom and around the world as they prepare to welcome their baby.
“Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private.
“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.”
But a photocall, with a small group of media, is being planned for a few days after the birth so a picture of Harry and Meghan, with their son or daughter, will be available.
The decision to keep arrangements for the birth private is in contrast to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who publicised details about the delivery of their three children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – who were all born at the Lindo Wing, the private maternity unit of St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington.
William and Kate staged public photocalls to present their newborns to the waiting press, and the comings and goings, by royals and the Middleton family, from St Mary’s in London were screened live around the globe.
But with William second-in-line to the throne, there was an expectation the future king would allow the press to cover the birth of his children.
Harry is not in the same position and has followed the lead of his cousin Zara Tindall, mother of two girls, who did not announce the arrangements for her children’s birth.
William Hill said the couple’s decision to keep the birth private had sparked gambles on a home birth, and the bookmaker had slashed the price from 5-1 to 1-2.
“Punters have leapt to the conclusion that Harry and Meghan have opted for a home birth,” said William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams.
The name Diana remains the bookmaker’s favourite, with odds of 4-1, followed by Victoria 8-1, Alice 10-1 and Grace 12-1.
Ladbrokes also has Diana as its joint favourite with Elizabeth, both priced at 6-1, followed by Victoria 8-1 and Albert, Alice, Grace and Philip all 12-1.
Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: “It seems like just about everyone is confident Harry and Meghan will have a girl, and plenty of royal baby punters think the Duke of Sussex will name his first born after his mother.”