How Much Time Will Meghan Markle Take For Maternity Leave?

The arrival of the newest member of the British Royal Family has everyone on the edge of their seats. The first son or daughter of Prince Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. One big questions (outside of the gender, of course) is whether Meghan Markle will take maternity leave after the birth of her first child.

Markle plans to work up to her due date

Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle | Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

Much of what is being guessed about Markle’s maternity leave has been based off what her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, did with the births of her three children. But right from the start we can see that Markle plans to do things a little differently.

For instance, Middleton began her maternity leave up to six weeks before the births of each of her children. Markle, on the other hand, plans to work right up until her due date – or, at the very least, as long as she is capable of doing so. Markle will also be planning to have a home birth, versus the hospital births Middleton had with all three of her children.

Two weeks maternity leave is required in England

Although the Royal Family does things a bit different, they do seem to adhere to a countrywide law stating that new mothers are required to take a minimum of two weeks off work after birth. This is done at 90% of their salary, so to alleviate any financial issues that may occur with unpaid leave. In fact, 39 weeks of maternity leave are paid at 90% of a person’s normal salary.

This isn’t to say the Duchess of Cambridge is worried about money, because she isn’t. But this law does tell us to expect her to avoid events and engagements for at least two weeks.

Markle could take up to a year

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

In England, maternity leave can be taken for up to one year. This includes any time taken prior to the actual birth, which could explain why Markle plans to work as long as possible. Middleton took between six weeks and six months after the births of each of her children, with the longest leave after her most recent.

Since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry aren’t as high up in the pecking order as Kate Middleton and Prince William, Markle could take up to a fullĀ  year off. They aren’t required at as many formal functions or events, and have less civic duties in their current positions. Plus, since financial obligations aren’t strained for the royal couple, only having the first 39 weeks paid wouldn’t be a big deal.

It might depend on how the birth goes

There are a lot of rules surrounding what can or cannot be talked about during a woman’s pregnancy when they belong to the British Royal Family. That may be one of the reason Markle has been close-mouthed on whether she will or will not take maternity leave – and, if she does, how long does she plan for?

But the general consensus is that Meghan Markle probably doesn’t have a set time she’ll take for maternity leave. In all reality, a lot will probably depend on how the birth goes.

If, for example, she delivers in a timely fashion in a natural home birth, she may return to work in a few weeks or a few months. If there are any complications, or if she does not recover as quickly as is hoped, she may take a considerably longer maternity leave. Of course, everyone hopes that Meghan Markle has the birth she wishes, with her and the newest royal baby coming out healthy.