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Excitement is mounting in the royal household as Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank await the birth of their first child.
It will be Her Majesty the Queen’s ninth great-grandchild and 11th in line to the throne.
Eugenie, 30, who married Jack in October 2018, announced their big news last September.
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Posting a cute Instagram photo of a pair of baby booties, she revealed, “Jack and I are so excited for early 2021…
Ingrid Seward, author of Prince Philip Revealed: A Man Of His Century, says that the new baby will be protected from the pressures royal life can bring.
“I think Eugenie will want to shield her child and offer as normal a life as possible."
"I don’t think the child will face any responsibilities within the family, as he or she will be too far down the line,” she tells OK!
Eugenie and her older sister Princess Beatrice, 32, have a close relationship with their parents, the Duke and Duchess of York, who divorced in 1996.
“They spent most of their time with their mother and are very loyal and loving to her,” reveals Ingrid. “Sarah and Andrew didn’t seem to fight, but I think the girls were aware that their mother was having a difficult time."
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“They were pretty indulged as children and had everything they wanted, and more,” she adds. “I think they had a garden shed just for their Barbie dolls.”
Describing mother Fergie as “an extravagant person”, Ingrid explains. “Eugenie is quite the opposite. She won’t spoil her child, but I think she’ll want her child to be her friend.”
Here’s what we know about the royal baby’s upcoming birth – and what we can expect after he or she arrives…
The official announcement
The Queen is traditionally the first person to receive news of a royal birth, usually in a telephone call. An official statement is likely to be posted on the royal household’s official social media accounts.
As is tradition, a notice will also be displayed on an easel just inside the gates of Buckingham Palace.
The announcement will reveal the baby’s gender, time of birth and the wellbeing of mum and baby. Grandmother Fergie is very likely to tweet her congratulations, too.
Ingrid adds, “Eugenie announced her pregnancy on social media (below) and I think she’s likely to share the birth of her child in the same way, especially now – because we’ll probably be in lockdown still!”
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These days it’s common practice for any royal not directly in line to the throne to be free from a royal title.
As the titles are traditionally passed down the male line, Eugenie’s new arrival won’t be a prince or princess, or use the HRH style.
But the new baby won’t be alone. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex decided to forego Archie’s HRH title, despite him being seventh in line to the throne.
And Princess Anne’s offspring Zara and Peter also lack royal titles, despite being the Queen’s grandchildren.
While the Queen had all four of her children at either Buckingham Palace or Clarence House, younger generations of royals have opted to deliver their babies in hospital, and it’s likely Eugenie will follow suit.
She may choose The Portland Hospital in London, where she and Beatrice were born. Celebrities such as Victoria Beckham – a good friend of Eugenie’s – and Kate Winslet also gave birth there.
Or there’s the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, where Princess Anne, Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge had their children.
Finally, she could go for Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, where Sophie, Countess of Wessex, had her two children.
It’s thought Eugenie was named after Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, so the mum-to-be may also choose a traditionally royal name.
“Princess Eugenie Victoria Helena was named after a painting that hung in the passage at Windsor Castle,” reveals Ingrid.
“But it’s very difficult to speculate because it’s such a personal thing. They might call it Tequila! I think they’re more likely to have Elizabeth in honour of the Queen, than choose Sarah or Andrew.”
According to bookmaker BetVictor, Alice – the name of the Duke of Edinburgh’s mother – is the top prediction for a baby girl.
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If it’s a boy, the odds are on Arthur – the middle name of the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Charles and Prince Louis – or Henry, Prince Harry’s real name.
Other suggestions include Grace, Victoria, Alexandra, Diana, Thomas, Godfrey, George or Charles.
Good friends of the couple Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda had a baby boy, Beau, via surrogate last year.
He’d make a perfect play pal for Eugenie’s little one.
Eugenie’s model friend Karlie Kloss is also expecting a child this year, as are Zara and Mike Tindall, so the royal baby will have lots of suitable friends to grow up with.
It’s rumoured the couple have moved out of Frogmore Cottage in Windsor (loaned to them by Harry and Meghan) and will raise their child at Ivy Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace.
The princess is said to have renovated the three-bedroom property, which is packed full of photographs, including a shot of an elephant taken by her mother Sarah, Duchess of York.
The nursery could well have an animal theme, reflecting Eugenie’s support of wildlife charities.
It’s a popular choice among the royals, as Archie enjoyed animal-print wallpaper in his LA nursery, while Prince George had a Peter Rabbit-themed room in his younger years.
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The baby outfits
Eugenie showed off a pair of £8 John Lewis booties when she announced her baby news and has herself worn stylish maternity wear.
Claudie Pierlot’s Romilly midi dresses have been her go-to designs for her blooming bump.
She’s also been shopping in Séraphine – one of Kate’s favourite maternity stores – which offers clothing and accessories for pre and post baby.
While Kate’s children dress in traditional clothes from Amaia Kids, Pepa & Company and Marie-Chantal, with the occasional John Lewis and H&M item thrown in, cousin Zara admits to shopping online and gives her daughters a more casual wardrobe.
Eugenie and Jack boast a circle of celebrity friends, including the Beckhams, George and Amal Clooney, Sir Elton John, Ed Sheeran and Ellie Goulding.
Any one of these stars could be picked as godparents, or the honour could go to Prince Harry, who has a close relationship with the princess.
“Eugenie is a very nice, fun girl and has a lot of friends,” says Ingrid.
“Cressida Bonas is a possibility, as is Harry. The prince will be tipped because it would be nice for her to have a tie with him. Uncle Harry, why not?”
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