That is a bizarre claim, that Meghan Markle’s pregnancy was faked. But many people out there (the internet) firmly believe so.
So we decided to check. Let’s go through the possible motives Meghan could have for faking a pregnancy, review the evidence -if any-, and see what is what.
Meghan Markle’s pregnancy: why would she fake it?
Meghan at the Mayhew Animal Home, London, January 16, 2019.
Why on Earth would anyone fake a pregnancy?
The Sussexes could have simply announced they hired a surrogate, right?
Actually, no. If the Sussexes wanted their child to be in the line of succession to the British throne, they could not have hired a surrogate.
According to British law, the surrogate is the legal mother of the child.
Thus the baby was not born within the Sussexes marriage.
If Meghan did not carry the babies, the kids cannot be styled His/Her Royal Highness or get princely titles, either.
So that could have given them a reason to fake a pregnancy. But only if position and princely titles are important to Meghan and Harry.
The conspiracy theory began with Meghan’s baby bump
Meghan squats at about eight months pregnant. That she could accomplish the feat with knees together at this stage created a bit of an uproar on the internet. Photos taken at Smart Works charity in early 2019.
This video is on YouTube and other social media. Observers say Meghan’s belly swings side to side, and that real baby bumps don’t do that. The comment section of YouTube is filled with surprise or disbelief. Meghan was eight months pregnant. March 8, 2019.
Meghan gracefully squats with knees together in her third trimester. Mayhew Animal Home, London, January 16, 2019.
At the same Mayhew Shelter of the clip above, Meghan squats several times (4:55, 5:51), sits gracefully (1:24), and bends over her pregnant belly to pet a dog (2:04). Many took to the internet to say that pregnant women with big bellies normally could not perform these athletic feats.
The four photos above were taken on the same day, October 28, 2018. They are authentic. The Sussexes were visiting Sydney, Australia. In the top photo, Meghan seems to have a flat stomach, in the others, she has a slight bump. Meghan was three months pregnant. Those who believe she faked her pregnancy use these photos as ‘proof’ of their claims.
The pictures of Meghan with the red coat are a favorite of conspiracy theorists. They say her belly looked big when she arrived at the event and was almost non-existent when she left. Meghan Markle was six months pregnant. January 14, 2019. All the photos shown here are from reputable sources. Here and here are videos of the visit.
A Twitter post.
These photos are from an event on February 24, 2019. The seven-month pregnant Duchess was visiting Morocco.
Eight-month-pregnant Meghan Markle squats with her knees together. March 11, 2019.
Mid Meghan Markle’s pregnancy, some over-eager netizens began questioning her bump.
According to these suspicious observers, the Duchess’ belly sometimes had an unnatural shape. If she wore a tight dress, her belly sometimes flattened or looked squarish, and during the same outing, it could change size, they claimed.
Netizens also said sometimes the belly moved unnaturally from side to side when she walked. They said she drank champagne and did not stop using hair dye, as pregnant women do because dye is toxic for the baby, that she was able to wear a white dress in public two days after giving birth (there is bleeding for several weeks), etc.
Yes, being under the public gaze is hard.
Some netizens also maintained that while on an outing in Birkenhead, Meghan’s ‘fake’ bump fell down. But examining the picture, it looks like it is the wind that is creating volume in the lower part of her dress, not a falling ‘bump.’
Netizens that believe in the fake pregnancy have pointed out Meghan’s incredible agility while heavily pregnant. She could sit down and stand up normally. And fortunately for her, she did not have swollen feet. She wore high stilettos throughout and could move gracefully, as if she did not have a several-pound belly in front of her, throwing her sense of balance off or altering her walking pattern.
The online uproar peaked every time a very pregnant Meghan squatted. She did so gracefully in front of the cameras and kept her knees together. It is a very ladylike manner of squatting, but it does not leave much space for an eight-month belly.
Ballerinas and yoginis (self-professed ones, may not be real ones) joined the online discussions. They stated they had not been able to accomplish the feat while heavily pregnant.
Still, the agility of the pregnant Duchess of Sussex and her supposedly morphing bump is what started the rumor that she was using a fake belly.
The rumors would gain more adepts in the following months due to the Sussexes’ desire for privacy.
Fake baby bumps
So how would a person fake a pregnancy? The same way that pregnancies are faked in movies.
Netflix, HBO, Warner Bros., and others use fake bellies from this company, Moonbump, for their shows and movies. The bumps are realistic and come in different sizes. The one in the video looks like a 7-8 month pregnant belly. Others look like a 3-4 month belly, a 5-6 month one, and an 8-9 month one. On their site, Moonbump says their products are also ideal for adoptions and surrogacies.
Archie: a birth shrouded in mystery
The Duchess at the Mayhew Animal Home, London, January 16, 2019.
The Sussexes’ baby was expected in late April 2019. The couple did themselves no favors when they announced early that month that they would keep the birth of their child private.
Now, their child was going to be in the line of succession to the throne of the United Kingdom. So transparency regarding the birth was important. There are historical reasons for that.
Let’s say that a king needed a male heir. If his newborn was a girl, an unscrupulous king could swap her for a boy, or swap a dead child for a living one.
The problem was that if later on the plot was discovered, a real heir, like a cousin, could start a war to dethrone the false heir.
That is why, for centuries, a crowd of nobles witnessed the royals giving birth. They verified there was no swapping.
And equally important, the witnesses’ presence guaranteed no one could start a rumor saying the royal baby had been swapped. Once a rumor like that starts, it is quite difficult to stop.
Nowadays, there are still witnesses to royal births. They come in the form of reputable doctors and nurses.
To ensure the transparency of the royal birth, the baby is now born in a hospital. And the press is kept in the loop at all times.
The name of the hospital is released beforehand, along with the name of the attending doctors. The Palace announces when labor begins, when the child is born, when the couple is ready to return home, etc.
One day or two after the child arrives, the royal mother poses like a champ, with her husband and baby, outside the hospital. She presents the heir to the British public. Diana did it, and so did Kate, Fergie, Princess Anne, Sophie…
That way the public knows they are getting a true royal baby. Which means there is no messy succession on the horizon.
But the Sussexes decided to bypass this tradition. They wanted a private birth.
More rumors began to spread.
Some reports said Meghan wanted a home birth at their secluded country house. So without witnesses, the conspiracy theorists commented online.
Needless to say, all this unexpected secrecy just fed the idea that Meghan was not carrying her child.
Palace blunders for a royal birth
Following royal tradition, the births of Prince William’s children were transparent. Here are William and Kate leaving the hospital with George, their first child and the heir to the throne. 2013.
The Sussex baby was expected in April, but April came and went without a baby.
Then, at about 2:00 pm on May 6, the Palace announced the happy news. Meghan had entered labor in the early hours of the morning.
Social media and the press went ablaze, not only in Britain but across the world.
Then, about forty minutes later, a second announcement from the Palace. The baby had been born… at 5:26 that morning.
Wait, now everyone was confused. This meant that when the Palace made the first announcement the baby was already born, he was eight hours old. Why had the Palace made it sound as if Meghan was still in labor?
The Palace has handled many royal births, and its announcements tend to be flawless. Why the shiftiness this time?
More strangeness was to come.
Later it emerged that when the Palace made the announcements, Meghan was not even in the hospital anymore.
And almost four years later, Harry disclosed in his memoirs that two hours after giving birth, Meghan was back home in Windsor.
It’s a short distance (27 mi/ 43 km) between London and Windsor. They made the trip by car, according to Harry. That is a 50-minute drive. It means Meghan left the hospital one hour after giving birth.
And the Duke of Sussex confirmed years later, in 2023, that he did not text anyone from the hospital. And that “We were behind closed doors before the announcement was released.”
That would account for the Palace’s uncharacteristically jumbled announcements.
The mystery continues… until today
Can you spot the difference between these birth announcements? One is signed by four witnesses, the other by none. The one with witnesses is of William and Kate’s son Louis. The one without witnesses is of the Sussexes’ son Archie. Both were displayed outside Buckingham Palace.
The announcements of royal births always mention three or four witnesses. On the left is Princess Margaret’s in 1930. Her birth had three witnesses, including the Home Secretary. The one on the right is Princess Beatrice’s and was signed by four doctors in 1988.
The Sussexes got the private birth they desired. Nobody even knew in which city -or country home– Meghan Markle had given birth.
Now that the baby was safely at home, it was the perfect time for transparency.
But the Sussexes remained tight-lipped.
With William and Catherine’s first child, George, everything had been transparent from the beginning.
And the day George was born, the Palace, as usual, displayed the birth’s announcement on an easel by the gates of Buckingham Palace. It was signed by the four doctors that attended the birth.
A Palace spokesman said at the time: “It is quite important to us that this is done properly and with the degree of dignity that the event demands. This is the birth of a child who will be in line to the throne.”
For the birth of their second child, Charlotte, there was a team of 20 doctors and nurses on call. Many were the Queen’s own doctors. They belonged to different specialties. “For anything that could possibly go wrong we had a team of people behind each speciality,” said Tiong Ghee Teoh, who was on the team.
The names of all these eminent doctors, nurses, and midwives were released to the press.
So no one ever wondered if Kate carried her babies: there was transparency about the birth arrangements. Everyone knew the names of the medical staff, four doctors signed each birth announcement, and the public saw Kate leaving the hospital with her newborns.
But the Sussexes’ birth announcement was different.
There was the secrecy about the birth itself, no family visited them at the hospital -unlike the other royals who received visits-, and there was no picture of them leaving the hospital. But even more unroyal, when the Palace displayed the birth announcement at Buckingham, something was missing. Gasp. It had no signatures, no witnesses.
After months of rumors that the Duchess of Sussex was faking a pregnancy, the royal birth came in secrecy and without witnesses.
To this day, the Sussexes have not released the name of the doctors who attended the Duchess. The only known witness of Archie’s birth is Prince Harry.
The Portland Hospital discrepancies
Fergie delivered her children in the same hospital that Meghan, the Portland. When leaving the Portland, Sarah posed with her newborns for the photographers. Here she is with her daughter Beatrice and her then-husband, Prince Andrew. 1988.
The press got a hold of Archie’s birth certificate a few weeks after he was born.
Reportedly, Harry provided the information for the certificate 11 days after his son’s birth. It is perfectly within the law.
The certificate states that Archie Mountbatten-Windsor was born at the Portland Hospital. That is a private maternity in London.
When the news got out, a spokeswoman for the hospital sent generic well-wishes without linking the Sussexes to the hospital: “Huge congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the birth of baby Archie.”
The spokeswoman said she could not comment because of confidentiality. So little else was known.
But three years after Archie’s birth, Meghan spoke about it in her Netflix show. Meghan related several things. For instance, she explained why she had not given birth at St. Mary’s Hospital, where most royal women deliver their babies.
Meghan said it was because “I had a very longstanding relationship with my doctor, and that’s who I trusted with my pregnancy.”
Her doctor was based at the Portland, she said. That is why Meghan delivered her baby there.
The thing is, that is how things work in the US, not in the UK.
In the US, doctors are tied to particular hospitals and don’t attend elsewhere. But in the UK, a private doctor will attend at any hospital.
A parenting coach from the UK has weighed in. The coach helps her clients during births and knows how the hospitals work, including the Portland:
“All those… are private doctors. They will go to whichever hospital you want to deliver… The doctors don’t specifically work out of one hospital or another.”
In her 2022 Netflix show, the Duchess also disclosed she had been apprehensive about giving birth. She was 37 at the time, so her pregnancy was considered high risk.
Meghan: “I had been really worried going into that labor, because I’m older, and I didn’t know if I’d have to have a C-section.”
It has been pointed out online that the maternity she chose, Portland, does not have an emergency department. And it is true. It is legal in the UK for a private specialized hospital.
The hospital in which most royals deliver their babies, St. Mary’s, does have an emergency department, though.
The Duchess of Sussex has also explained recently why she did not pose with her newborn outside the hospital.
In the Oprah interview (2021), she said she had not done it because she was scared for Archie’s safety.
In Netflix (2022), she gave a different explanation. Meghan now said she had wanted to pose with the baby outside the hospital but had been told: “It is impossible. We can’t barricade the streets, it would pose a threat to the emergency room because you would have to take this photo there.”
Another royal gave birth at the Portland years ago, Sarah Ferguson, aka Fergie, the Duchess of York. She was the Queen’s daughter-in-law.
Dad can’t keep straight when Archie was born
The Sussexes present their two-day-old son. At minute 1:53, the possibly sleep-deprived dad mentions babies change so much over “two weeks” and says Archie has been changing “every single day.” Later, he recovers: “It’s only been, what? Two and a half days, three days?”
The Palace was not the only one making blunders during Archie’s first days.
The nervous, perhaps sleep-deprived, first-time father could not get his son’s birth day straight.
Officially, the baby was born on May 6. Two days later, on May 8, at 12:40 pm, the Sussexes introduced their newborn to the world.
They met the press at Windsor Castle. The Duchess had the timeline down. She said that it had been “a special couple of days.”
Prince Harry, on the other hand, was all over the place. He said: “Everyone says that babies change so much over two weeks, so we’re sort of monitoring how this changing process happens over this next month, really. But his looks are changing every single day, so who knows.”
When Harry says “two weeks”, he immediately breaks eye contact with the interviewer and looks down. While new mom Meghan suddenly seems pensive and swallows hard before smiling again.
Harry said Archie had been changing “every single day.” The baby was two days old.
But then Harry somewhat recovers. A bit later, he says: “It’s only been, what? Two and a half days, three days?” Meghan confirms: “Yeah.”
The secrecy and the blunders sparked so many questions that a year later the media was still trying to clear up the confusion.
Around Archie’s first birthday, the Washington Post published an article titled: ‘The mystery of where Britain’s royal baby Archie was born is solved by his birth certificate.’
Hello! magazine published a similar article: ‘Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s son Archie’s Secret Birth Story: This is how he really came into the world.’
Other publications wrote similar articles around the world.
Choose your words
On the left, the Palace announces the birth of one of William’s children. The Palace has been using that exact, same wording for birth announcements for over a century. But when Archie was born, the Palace suddenly changed the wording (right).
The Royal Family is fond of tradition. So there is an established way in which they announce royal births. And they word them always in the same way, word by word, decade after decade.
But when Archie and Lilibet were born, that tradition went out the window. The wording of the announcements changed. But only for their births.
Fact vs hearsay
After a royal birth, an official announcement is displayed outside Buckingham Palace.
The announcement is always worded like this: “His/Her Royal Highness X was safely delivered of a [child] at x time today.”
The Palace states a fact: this person delivered a child.
But when baby Archie was born in 2019, the format suddenly changed.
The Palace does not state a fact.
In Archie’s message, the Palace assumes a passive, receptive role. “We received this news.”
“Was safely delivered of a son/daughter“
The same magic phrase appears in one royal birth announcement after another: “X was safely delivered of a son/daughter.” But in the birth announcement of the Sussexes’ daughter, the sentence is a no-show. This time, the royals “are delighted with the news of the birth of a daughter.”
In the birth announcements displayed outside Buckingham Palace a magic sentence appears time and again: “X was safely delivered of a [child].” It is always there.
It was even there in baby Archie’s announcement.
Two years later, in 2021, the Sussexes had a baby girl, Lilibet. The couple was now living in the United States.
Back in England, a Palace spokesman announced the news: “[The royals] have been informed and are delighter with the news of the birth of a daughter” for the Sussexes.
The magic phrase was missing. Meghan was not safely delivered of a daughter.
A few months after Lili was born, Harry’s cousin, Princess Eugene, had a child. The Palace announced: “… Princess Eugene was safely delivered of a son…” The magic phrase was back.
There is only one other royal announcement in which the Palace did not used “safely delivered of.” It was for the birth of Princess Beatrice’s daughter.
More interesting language: A daughter FOR the Sussexes
The Palace announces the birth of Harry’s daughter, Lilibet. Uncharacteristically, the Palace words it “the birth of a daughter FOR the Duke and Duchess.”
This is the Sussexes’ announcement of their daughter’s birth. They too say this is the second child “FOR the couple.”
The previous wording inconsistencies caught the eye of some detail-oriented people -and of conspiracy theorists too.
Far more eyebrows were raised at the use of “for” in the announcement of baby Lili’s birth.
When she was born, a Palace spokesperson stated: “[The Royals] have been informed and are delighted with the news of the birth of a daughter FOR the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”
For? Not ‘to’?
The Palace crafts its statements carefully.
The Sussexes used the same word when they announced Lili’s birth. They posted on their social media: “It is with great joy that Prince Harry and Meghan… welcome their daughter, Lilibet…, to the world. Lili was born on Friday… This is the second child FOR the couple…”
A no-show at the baptism and a lack of titles
It is not the first time this has happened, either. The year before, the Queen and Philip missed the christening of William’s third child, also because of previous engagements.
Going the conspiratorial route, if Meghan did not carry the baby, that could be a motive for the Queen’s no-show.
The Queen is the head of state of the United Kingdom. She was a woman of integrity and was aware that she represented her country.
If Meghan did not carry her child, the situation is problematic. It would mean Archie is not Harry’s heir. And by passing him as his heir and giving him a place in the line of succession, they would be creating a legal mess. And a potential mega scandal.
So if the Queen suspected foul play, it would have been wise of her to stay clear of the baptism. Otherwise, the head of the state and the Church -and with her the country- would have been dragged into a sham.
Archie’s princely titles are a no-go
Now that Charles is king, his grandson Archie can become His Royal Highness (HRH) and a ‘prince.’
But King Charles has not granted those titles to Archie, yet.
Probably that is because Charles, for decades, has wanted to slim down the monarchy.
In the slim model, the only royals could be King Charles, his wife Camilla, and his direct heirs, that is Prince William, Catherine, and William’s children.
So Harry’s children would not get titles (four of the Queen’s grandchildren do not have princely titles either).
Now the conspiratorial motive. If the king suspects Archie was not born to Harry legally, he cannot give Archie the title of prince or the HRH styling. He would be committing fraud -towards the entire nation.
So there is a lot of speculation, secrecy and, at most, circumstantial evidence of a fake pregnancy. But no real evidence.
Then again, there is no real evidence that Meghan was pregnant either.
So what do you think?