SYDNEY — Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are expecting their first baby in spring next year, Kensington Palace confirmed on Monday after weeks of speculation, just as the royal couple began their first major international tour in Australia.
Harry and Meghan were seen strolling through the gardens of the harbourside mansion they are using during their Sydney visit as the news broke around the world on Monday.
“Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the Spring of 2019,” the couple’s official residence wrote, using their royal titles.
“Their Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public,” a tweet from Kensington Palace said.
They were having a private day on Monday relaxing after the long flight from London, and were seen walking hand-in-hand in the mansion’s gardens.
Their official engagements are scheduled to start Tuesday, on a 16-day trip that also will take them to Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.
The new baby will be seventh in line for the throne and the news will intensify interest in the couple’s visit, which includes meeting the public this week at the Opera House and Bondi Beach.
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British Prime Minister Theresa May was one of many well-wishers offering their congratulations to Harry and Meghan on the announcement.
“My warmest congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the happy news they are expecting a baby in the spring. Wishing them all the best,” May wrote on Twitter.
“What fantastic news! Australia is thrilled for you both. Looking forward to sharing in the joy during your stay down under,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted.
The announcement confirmed speculation that the Duchess of Sussex was pregnant after recent sightings of a suspected baby bulge and her new tendency to wear loose long clothing.
When the couple arrived at Sydney airport Monday morning she was wearing a long black coat and clutched several folders in front of her.
Sixth in line to the throne, Harry is the second son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. His brother, Prince William, is second in line to the throne behind Charles.
Meghan has made several high-profile appearances in Britain since her marriage, including a trip in June with Queen Elizabeth II, Harry’s grandmother, to open a landmark bridge and a regional theatre in northwestern England.
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