Royal birth: Why Didn’t Prince Harry Take Paternity Leave?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just welcomed a new little boy. The royal couple had been excited to have children since before they were even married, and the public couldn’t wait to see their little one for the first time. But while Meghan has apparently taken some time off for her new son, Harry was back to work just a day after the couple introduced Archie to the world. Why didn’t the prince take paternity leave?

Meghan Markle Prince Harry with son Archie
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with their son, Archie Harrison. | Dominic Lipinski – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Meghan has been on maternity leave since late March

The last public appearance Meghan made before her baby’s arrival occurred when she and Harry visited the New Zealand High Commission in England after the tragic shooting that occurred in New Zealand in March. Since then, Meghan has flown under the radar, getting plenty of rest and some time away from the public eye while she awaited the baby’s arrival. Harry, on the other hand, continued working and making appearances without his wife, though he probably wished he could be spending time by her side. Now that Archie has arrived, Meghan is taking some time off with the baby, but Harry was quick to get back to work.

There were rumors Harry would take two weeks off, but he didn’t

Just before the couple welcomed their baby, sources close to the family claimed that Harry would take two weeks of paternity leave. Harry did come walking out with Archie when he and Meghan introduced the baby for the first time, leading many people to believe the couple was making a statement about their equal parenting roles in Archie’s life. Two weeks of paternity leave didn’t sound far-fetched for the prince, since the royal family is known to almost never stop working. Business Insider reported that a friend of Harry’s said he wanted to take paternity leave because he felt it was the “modern dad” thing to do, but it looks like Harry never followed through with that. He was already back on the grind on Thursday, May 9, when he flew to the Netherlands to attend the Invictus Games.

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Prince Harry was back to work just a day after introducing his son to the world.

The royals essentially work for the people, so Harry likely felt he couldn’t abandon his duties

Harry might not have taken paternity leave because he felt his cause was too important to take time off. The royals represent the queen, but they essentially work to serve the people. They dedicate their lives to charity work and supporting causes around the world. They learn about the different ways of life in different areas and spend time helping with their patronages. It’s possible Harry felt he didn’t want to stop working for those causes, despite welcoming a new baby boy. With Doria Ragland there to help Meghan care for the baby, they may have agreed that Harry should continue to make appearances.

Retirement and parental leave just work differently in the royal family

The royals live very different lives from normal people. Maternity and paternity leave don’t work the same way for royals as they do for commoners. Retirement doesn’t work the same way, either. Queen Elizabeth is 93 and still hasn’t left the throne; the royals typically work until they absolutely no longer can. Since Harry was capable of attending the Invictus Games, it made sense for him to go; he doesn’t work the regular nine-to-five job that so many of us do, so he probably has more time to spend with the baby than we realize.

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