The royal will take the full two weeks usual entitlement so he can support wife Meghan and their newborn child, he told aides. The duchess is due to give birth at the end of next month or early May. One friend of Harry said: “He doesn’t need to take paternity leave because he doesn’t work in the way most people do, but he thinks it’s a very modern dad thing to do.” Harry hasn’t had a paid job since he resigned his Army commission nearly four years ago and his voluntary royal duties are co-funded by the Queen and the Prince of Wales.
A Buckingham Palace aide said: “I’m sure Her Majesty will accommodate a break from duties.”
Harry’s postnatal plan comes as it emerged Meghan’s medics are watching the 37-year-old closely.
Older mothers are more likely to go into premature labour and are regularly tested for high blood pressure and protein in urine to see whether they are suffering from a potentially lethal condition called pre-eclampsia.
The condition – common in mums-to-be aged 35-plus – can lead to stroke or heart failure and threatens the life of an unborn child.
Dr Amin Gorgy, fertility consultant at The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy, said: “Meghan, and older mothers in general above the age of 35, have an increased risk of giving birth early. According to a very large Canadian study, women aged between 35 and 39 are 35 per cent more likely to go into premature labour than women aged 30 to 34.”
Harry has also been asked if he wants to cut the baby’s umbilical cord, but the couple have been studying a practice called “lotus birthing” where the cord remains attached outside the womb. It stays fixed – sometimes for days – until it finally dries up and falls off naturally.
Devotees say it helps babies preserve a spiritual connection to their mother outside the womb, but others believe it can encourage dangerous bacteria growth.
On a more upbeat note, excited Harry has worked out a music playlist for the delivery room including Handel’s Eternal Source Of Light Divine, to which Meghan walked down the aisle, and Circle Of Life by Elton John, who played at the couple’s reception.