An overjoyed Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting a baby, a spokesperson for the couple has said.
Harry and Meghan are preparing to welcome a brother or sister for their young son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
The news comes after the duchess suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage in the summer of 2020, and just days after she won a privacy case against Associated Newspapers Limited.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are overjoyed to be expecting their second child.”
The couple released a black and white picture of themselves, sat under a tree, with Harry gazing at his wife and resting his hand on Meghan’s head as she lay in his lap cradling her bump.
The Queen and the rest of the royal family were said to be “delighted” at the news.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “Her Majesty, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales and entire family are delighted and wish them well.”
It is understood the couple told the royal family in advance of making the news public.
Misan Harriman, a friend of Meghan and Harry and the photographer who took the image, tweeted: “Meg, I was there at your wedding to witness this love story begin, and my friend, I am honoured to capture it grow. Congratulations to The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on this joyous news!”
Meghan revealed her miscarriage in November last year in a deeply personal article for the New York Times, writing: “I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second.”
The couple quit their roles as senior working royals in March 2020 in a quest for personal and financial freedom, and now live in an £11 million house in Montecito in California.
The Valentine’s Day announcement came just five days after the royal family celebrated the arrival of Princess Eugenie’s first child – a baby boy.
Harry and Meghan have almost followed in the footsteps of the duke’s late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, whose pregnancy with Harry – her second child – was announced on February 13 1984, hitting the front pages on February 14.
Baby Sussex will be the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s 10th or 11th great-grandchild depending on whether he or she arrives before or after Zara Tindall’s baby, which is also due in 2021.
It led to behind-the-scenes speculation that Meghan might be expecting a baby.
A month later, Meghan wrote of experiencing an “almost unbearable grief” after losing a child in a miscarriage last summer.
In 2019, proud father Harry announced the arrival of their firstborn Archie to a press pool, and then later held his newborn son in his arms, with Meghan at his side, for his public debut at Windsor Castle.
He or she will still be eighth-in-line to the throne – and the most senior royal in the current line of succession to be born overseas.
But they will not be entitled, at this stage, to be an HRH nor a prince or a princess due to rules set out more than 100 years ago by George V – but this is the same as what would have happened pre-Megxit.
The baby is entitled to be a Lord or a Lady, but Harry and Meghan will again opt to style their second-born a plain Master, like Archie, or a Miss, with the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.
Sixth in line Harry and ex-actress Meghan have been busy securing the funding for their new life, signing a lucrative deal with streaming giant Netflix, rumoured to be worth more than £150 million, and another multi-million pound podcast deal with Spotify
They have also been working on their Archewell charitable foundation, but caused controversy when Harry was accused of political interference after he urged people in the US to “reject hate speech” and vote in the presidential elections.
On Thursday, Meghan was granted a summary judgment in relation to her privacy legal action over the Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline’s publication of a letter she wrote to her estranged father Thomas Markle.
The judge ruled that the publication of the letter was “manifestly excessive and hence unlawful”.
Meghan said in a statement that the win was “a victory for all “because we all deserve justice and truth, and we all deserve better”.
She issued a deeply personal reaction after the judgment, thanking husband Harry, her mother Doria Ragland and her legal team for their “unrelenting support” that followed “two long years of pursuing litigation”.