Prince Harry and Meghan Markle welcomed their first child on May 6, 2019. They named him Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, and a few days later they introduced him to the world. As Archie grows up, he’ll have access to the sort of wealth most people can only dream of. But apparently his birth, and the events leading up to it, cost his parents a great deal of money. It almost certainly means nothing to them now that they have their child in their arms. But how much was it really?
While Meghan was still pregnant, she held a baby shower, and it was reportedly a pretty lavish one. The February event was apparently masterminded by two of Meghan’s fellow A-listers and best friends: Amal Clooney and Serena Williams. The night before the party, Meghan went out to dinner with Williams at a bar where alcohol prices rise into the thousands, even though obviously the Duchess wasn’t drinking.
Meghan spent the night before the party at the luxurious five-star Mark hotel in New York, which doesn’t come remotely cheap. A penthouse room for just one night will set you back a whopping $75,000. The baby shower itself, though, was reportedly paid for by Williams. Now that’s friendship.
The shower also took place at the Mark, and many famous people attended. It was a who’s-who of the fashionable and fabulously wealthy. Clooney and Williams were there, obviously. Accompanying them were – among others – Gayle King, Abigail Spencer, Markus Anderson, Misha Nonoo and makeup artist Daniel Martin.
The Mark is the perfect hotel for a duchess to throw a baby shower. It’s a truly impressive venue. While partying there, Meghan and her friends would have had access to six bathrooms (so no queues!), two wet bars, two powder rooms, a massive ballroom and a rooftop terrace for grabbing some fresh air.
For those lucky enough to be invited, there were some pretty interesting activities to take part in at the baby shower. The attendees got to have a go at making flower arrangements, and the results were donated by Meghan to the Repeat Roses charity, which recycles flowers from big events and gives them to hospitals.
Guests also got to taste sweets created by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and listen to harp music from Erin Hill. But what about the presents? Well, needless to say they were pretty impressive as well. Meghan was reportedly gifted 17 suitcases from the company Away, and she gave them to her guests.
After the epic party was over, Gayle King shared some details on her CBS show This Morning. There had been presents aplenty for Meghan herself. “She didn’t open any of the gifts because she wants to do that when she goes back to London, when she and Harry are back together,” King said.
King added that she didn’t know what everyone had bought for the new mother and baby. “I don’t know what everybody got… I got something I think is very nice,” she said. “But you know, [Meghan]’s a very private person. I think she should decide what she wants to say about this.” Some details of the presents did leak out, however.
When Meghan left the Mark Hotel, naturally cameras were there. They snapped her picture and it became apparent she had gained a new necklace. It read “mummy,” the British spelling of “mommy.” It was a piece from Jennifer Meyer, but no one knows exactly who at the party gifted it to the Duchess.
Meghan obviously got the presents for free, and she didn’t pay for the baby shower itself. The event’s cost of $200,000 all came out of Williams’ wallet. And the cost of security for the event might have come out of British taxpayer money. Scotland Yard refused to “confirm or deny” the details when asked by the Daily Mail.
Meghan also didn’t pay to get to New York from London. Duchesses don’t fly coach, or even first class it seems. Meghan was given the use of a private jet, and the cost of flying her out was a reported $100,000. But that money was apparently provided by one of Meghan’s friends from Toronto, the owner of the jet.
So what did Meghan pay for over the course of her pregnancy? Her fabulous maternity wardrobe, for one. Royals aren’t allowed to accept freebies from brands, so they buy all their clothes themselves. Clothing website Love the Sales did some research and estimated Meghan spent $500,000 on her pregnancy outfits.
Love the Sales also noted what Meghan’s most popular maternity outfits were. Coming in at number one was the black silk Givenchy gown she wore to the British Fashion Awards in December 2018. That dress accentuated Meghan’s baby bump, and when she cradled it, all the cameras went off.
Such is Meghan’s impact on fashion that many of the clothes that she wore during her pregnancy immediately sold out or shot to popularity. For example, after the pregnancy announcement took place, Meghan was photographed wearing a “Blessed” dress from Karen Gee. Immediately, searches for the designer went up by a huge amount.
To give another example, Meghan provided a huge boost to the company Loyd/Ford when she wore one of their dresses in Morocco. “I was digging cactus in my yard when my partner called me telling me the Duchess of Sussex is wearing a black (pleated) dress from us,” co-founder Franck Ford wrote on Instagram. “It’s insane. Last time we had a reaction like that was with a t-shirt on the cover of the Hollywood Reporter in 2001 with Angelina Jolie.”
Liam Solomon, fashion editor of Love the Sales, spoke about Meghan’s wardrobe to Marie Claire in March 2019. “Meghan has a well established background before [marrying] Harry as a woman who enjoyed designer clothing,” he explained. Of course, Meghan started out as an actress, and she reportedly earned $50,000 per episode of Suits.
Solomon went on, “From walking red carpets to living a glamorous L.A. lifestyle, the former actress was already wearing brands like Dior and Givenchy. You could argue that her new found fame in the royal family has only enhanced her style choices, which would obviously mean bigger budgets.”
Meghan also had to budget for making the perfect nursery for her baby. Before Archie was born she and Harry moved into the royal property Frogmore Cottage. Reportedly, the couple first hired construction workers to make the building into exactly the sort of family-friendly home they desired.
Emily Andrews, royal correspondent for The Sun, shared details on Twitter. Frogmore Cottage, she said, “needs major building work to turn it back into a luxury family home, boasting ten bedrooms and a new nursery plus space for a gym and yoga studio. Currently it’s been chopped up into five units where palace staff have been living.”
According to the Daily Mail, builders would be putting in new fireplaces, a yoga studio and an “elaborate Gone With the Wind-style double staircase.” Security would be boosted significantly, and the home would be soundproofed too. Frogmore Cottage is after all situated fairly near to Heathrow Airport.
The renovations reportedly cost between $2.5 million and $3.8 million. According to the Daily Mail some of the money for Frogmore came out of the Sovereign Grant, money from the British government set aside for the Queen and the royals. However the money for the soundproofing, furniture and appliances came from the personal fortunes of Harry and Meghan.
Plenty of time, care and money went into the design and creation of the nursery. According to Business Insider, a whopping $65,560 went to that alone. Everything had to be perfect, right down to the paint. Harry and Meghan reportedly chose an expensive vegan paint made with eucalyptus and rosemary.
In January 2019 royal journalist Katie Nicholls talked to ET about the royal nursery, explaining that it was going to be a “very modern” room. “Don’t expect to see any baby pink or baby blue. Apparently, it’s going to be a monochrome palette – whites and grays, I’m told, will be the color theme for baby Sussex’s nursery,” she said.
This was because Harry and Meghan had opted not to find out the gender of their baby. And Meghan had also stated in the past that they planned to raise their child in a gender-fluid environment, not falling back on traditional “pink or blue” roles whether the baby transpired to be a boy or girl.
Meghan might also have spent some money on wellness treatments during her pregnancy. It was reported that she went to acupuncturist Ross Barr for acupuncture. An anonymous source said to Vanity Fair, “It boosts blood flow to the uterus. [Meghan] plans to use it right up to her due date.”
In April 2019 The Sun reported that Meghan had spent $11,100 on various treatments to help her through her pregnancy. The Duke and Duchess were also spotted leaving a London store called Ilapothecary before the baby arrived. Ilapothecary also provides wellness treatments that don’t come cheap.
On top of this, Harry and Meghan apparently also took a “babymoon” holiday break before Archie was born. Emily Andrews of The Sun reported that the Duke and Duchess stayed for four days at the five-star hotel Heckford Place, a quiet and private venue in the middle of the Hampshire countryside.
According to Andrews, Harry and Meghan took the Long Room. This is a massive home-away-from-home at Heckford Place, which features a dining room, an outside terrace and even a butler who serves your every whim. That sort of luxury doesn’t come cheap, and the Duke and Duchess probably paid $13,000 a night for it.
The preparations for Archie were costly, but what about the birth itself? The palace has kept quiet about the exact details. A few weeks beforehand Buckingham Palace released a statement saying, “Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private.”
Meghan reportedly wanted to give birth at home in Frogmore Cottage and had hired a doula to help her. However, things might have turned out a different way to how she wanted. After Archie was born, reports came in that circumstances had changed and Meghan had given birth in a hospital after all.
The Daily Mail was the first to break the news about the possible hospital stay. Meghan’s “hopes of a home birth” had been “dashed.” She had been taken to hospital, her husband coming with her. The Daily Mail claimed the duchess was “whisked off amid such secrecy that even senior royals weren’t told.”
The Daily Mail claimed that sources had informed it about the hospital stay details. Meghan had “remained there overnight before her baby was born at 5:26 a.m. on Monday morning, with an elated Prince Harry at her side,” the publication reported. “Buckingham Palace declined to comment, but sources confirmed to the Mail that a hospital delivery had taken place.”
Gynaecologist Peter Bowen-Simpkins talked to the Daily Mail and suggested that Meghan may have found herself unable to give birth without doctors present. “When you have your first baby you essentially have an ‘untried pelvis,’” he said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen when the body prepares for labour and birth.”
Bowen-Simpkins went on, “If a woman is on her second or subsequent baby and has had a normal delivery before then it’s likely there wouldn’t be any problem at all. But you don’t know that’s going to be the case until you have your first baby.” If things don’t seem to be going smoothly, it’s always best to call an ambulance.
Emily Andrews gave the name of Meghan’s hospital on Twitter. “We were led to believe by palace aides that baby Sussex was born at Frogmore Cottage, but in fact he arrived at private London hospital the Portland,” she wrote. “All other details still the same! Can’t wait to see a picture of him on Wednesday with his proud parents!”
The Portland hospital is a private one. Under the U.K. system, everyone has access to the N.H.S. and its hospitals, which are free. But if you have the money, which Harry and Meghan most certainly do, you can opt to stay at a private hospital which provides more luxurious facilities. The Portland reportedly offers lobster dinners.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of the rich and famous crowd choose to give birth at the Portland. Apparently, the hospital even has special rooms put aside for royal mothers. Several celebrities have had their babies there, including Meghan’s friend Victoria Beckham. And the price tag for it is pretty high.
Even the cheapest hospital stay at Portland will cost $28,000, and it’s unknown what Meghan opted for. Other options provided at the facility include 24-hour room service, meals on silver platters, and beautiful four-poster cots for the new babies. It’s not unusual for some to spend up to $930,000 at Portland.
There’s no doubt that Archie’s birth and the runup to it cost a lot of money. The Sun theorized that the Duke and Duchess spent at least $1 million overall. But now the baby has come into the world, and in the official pictures the new parents look utterly delighted. It was certainly all worth it for them.