Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s second pregnancy announcement is a gorgeous story of social distancing.
The black and white photo of the couple, released on Sunday, is a considerable departure from the rigid, posed announcements typical for British royalty. Prince Harry, who is barefoot, cradles Markle’s head in his lap while she holds her baby bump. They recline outdoors, framed by tree branches. It’s also a nod to Prince Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, who announced her pregnancy with the prince on Valentine’s Day in 1984.
The photo was taken remotely in Santa Barbara, California via iPad by their longtime friend Misan Harriman, who was in London.
“Meg, I was there at your wedding to witness this love story begin, and my friend, I am honoured to capture it grow,” Harriman posted on Twitter. “Congratulations to The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on this joyous news!”
Harriman explained the cottagecore fantasy to British Vogue, which is a testament to Markle and Prince Harry’s love as much as it is a pregnancy announcement.
“With the tree of life behind them and the garden representing fertility, life, and moving forward, they don’t need any direction, because they are, and always have been, waltzing through life together as absolute soulmates,” Harriman said.
He added that they photo is so candid because they were comfortable chatting “in the moment.”
“When you see people who have the connection that they have, it’s like reading the pages of a book,” Harriman continued.
The announcement comes after a raw essay Markle penned for the New York Times, in which she wrote about the grief of 2020 and the miscarriage she suffered last summer. The couple stepped down as senior members of the royal family in January 2020 following intense public scrutiny that was so toxic, they filed a lawsuit against British tabloid the Daily Mail.
In a statement in October 2019, Prince Harry condemned the media-led harassment as a “ruthless campaign” that has “vilified” his wife “almost daily,” and created “lie after lie at her expense.” Later that month, a clip of an emotional interview between reporter Tom Bradby and Markle went viral when Bradby asked how the Duchess was doing amid constant criticism through her engagement, wedding, and pregnancy with the couple’s first son, Archie, who will be two in May.
“Not many people have asked if I’m OK,” she said, thanking Bradby for asking. “I never thought that this would be easy, but I think it would be fair, and that’s the part that’s really hard to reconcile.”
The couple has had a limited social media presence since stepping down from the royal family, but appear to be slowly dipping their toes back in public life. On Monday, CBS announced that the Duke and Duchess will sit down for a 90-minute interview with Oprah Winfrey, who is a friend of the couple.
“Winfrey will speak to Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, in a wide-ranging interview, covering everything from stepping into life as a Royal, marriage, motherhood, philanthropic work, to how she is handling life under intense public pressure,” the statement from CBS reads. “Later, the two are joined by Prince Harry as they speak about their move to the United States and their future hopes and dreams for their expanding family.”
Harriman, who met Markle at a charity event, ended up introducing her to the mutual friend who ultimately set her up with Prince Harry. He told British Vogue that he’s grateful for “whatever small part” he played in their happily ever after.
“To be asked to help share this absolute joy after such an unimaginable loss and heartache is a marker of true friendship,” Harriman said.