Is There a Royal Rule About Breastfeeding Babies?

Members of the British royal family don’t enjoy a lot of privacy. Everything from walking down the street to attending events inevitably means an onslaught of cameras and photographs. It seems like they don’t get any private time.

But there is one thing you haven’t seen any young royal mothers doing – and that’s breastfeeding. While rumor has it that Kate Middleton chose breastfeeding for all three of her children, she intentionally did it privately and hidden from view of the cameras. The Duchess of Cambridge may support the right to breastfeed, but she didn’t want to become the face of the movement. She also doesn’t want to make mothers who cannot breastfeed feel badly.

Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton | Samir Hussein/WireImage

All eyes are on Meghan Markle now as she prepares to give birth to her first baby with Prince Harry. Will Meghan Markle choose breastfeeding? If she does, will she do it in public? And most importantly – are there any royal rules about breastfeeding?

Read on to find out.

Did Queen Elizabeth breastfeed her babies?

In centuries past, members of the royal nobility never breastfed their babies, but rather enlisted the help of wet nurses to feed their offspring. This was so royal women could get back to work.

“Queens were free to resume their duties and begin the process of conceiving the next heir. It was also believed that breast milk would be curdled if marital relations were resumed before weaning,” said breastfeeding expert Amy Licence.

That’s what made it so historically significant when Queen Elizabeth broke this tradition and breastfed her children – a seemingly average act which would have been unthinkable 50 years before.

Queen Elizabeth and family
Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip with their two children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne | Fox Photos/Getty Images

What does the British royal family think of breastfeeding?

While there was never a law saying British royal moms were forbidden from breastfeeding their babies, it was something that just wasn’t done. Rumor has it that most royal women, including Queen Victoria and Princess Margaret – found the practice “distasteful” and not befitting of a royal lady.

Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth was well ahead of her time when she decided to breastfeed. It’s actually something she had in common with Princess Diana, who did the same with Prince William and Prince Harry. Kate Middleton followed along in their footsteps when she chose the same for her three kids.

Will Meghan Markle breastfeed Baby Sussex?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Even though they’re undeniably in the public eye, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are still fiercely attempting to protect their privacy. There’s a good chance that the same rule will apply when it comes to how the Duchess of Sussex feeds their child. Sources speculate she will probably attempt to breastfeed, especially since Prince Harry was breastfed as a baby. It fits in with some other choices she’s made during the pregnancy including a natural birth and eco-friendly paint in the new nursery.

Then again, it’s possible that Meghan Markle will speak out in favor of breastfeeding, especially considering her feminist leanings. Just don’t expect to see any photos of it.