Meghan Markle, 37, has decided against using the delivery team that has been present for the past three of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s births
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that, in a significant break with Royal tradition, 37-year-old Meghan has appointed her own delivery team, led by an unnamed female doctor.
Royal Household gynaecologists Alan Farthing and Guy Thorpe-Beeston – who is a specialist in high-risk births – attended at the arrival of all three of the Duke and
And she has politely declined their services as lead physicians for the birth.
In keeping with protocol, the Queen’s doctors cannot be excluded completely.
Royal Household gynaecologists Alan Farthing (right) and Guy Thorpe-Beeston (left) – who is a specialist in high-risk births – are among the best in the world but have been snubbed by Meghan who is instead opting for a female-led birthing team
There will be some role for them, and should something go wrong – as it did with the Countess of Wessex – the Queen’s doctors would step in and take over.
One source said: ‘Meghan said she doesn’t want the men in suits. She was adamant that she wanted her own people. It did leave a few of us a little baffled.’
Another said: ‘It is slightly surprising. These people [the Queen’s doctors] are the best of the best and when it comes down to it, their role would actually be very limited in the birth itself, assuming all goes to plan.’
It is understood that meetings to discuss the birth will be held as the due date approaches, with the baby expected next month.
Other Royals to have given birth under the care of Royal gynaecologists include Princess Diana and Princess Anne.
Sources close to the Duchess stressed the ‘personal’ nature of her decision, with one insider saying: ‘Above all, this is her birth, her baby, and she must do whatever feels right for her. How could anyone judge her for that?’
There will be some role for the gynaecologists, and should something go wrong – as it did with the Countess of Wessex – the Queen’s doctors would step in and take over
There is concern however that Meghan’s choice will viewed by some as unnecessarily extravagant. The Queen’s physicians do not charge a fee, yet taking on a new team of specialists will cost tens of thousands. A source explained: ‘Working for the Royal Household is seen as an honour and attracts other high-profile fee-paying patients.’
Sources close to the Duchess insisted last night that her preference has not caused any offence.
One said: ‘No one has thought anything of it because it really is ever so personal.’
In another break with tradition, it emerged last week that the Duchess has chosen not to give birth in the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, which has been used by several other Royal mothers. It is likely Meghan and Harry will choose a hospital nearer to their new home, Frogmore Cottage at Windsor, for the birth.
As the baby will not be a direct heir to the throne, the couple are said to believe they should not have to pose for the world’s media with the new arrival.
There is expected to be a brief announcement shortly after the birth with a picture released later. It’s understood that Meghan does not want the pressure of dressing up and posing ‘just because people think she should’.
The source added: ‘It is impossible to compare to the Duchess of Cambridge because she is married to the future King.
‘While the focus is very much on Harry and Meghan at the moment, this is not going to last – particularly as the Cambridge children grow up and become the core Royal family.’
Meghan follows a number of other Royals to give birth at a later age.
The Queen was the same age when she gave birth to Prince Edward, the Countess of Wessex was 38 when she had her daughter, Lady Louise, and 42 when she had James, Viscount Severn, while the Duchess of Cambridge was 36 when Prince Louis was born last year.
Queen Victoria had her youngest child when she was 37.
Three wise men who delivered for other Royals
The Royal gynaecologists labelled the ‘men in suits’ by the Duchess of Sussex are among the most eminent in the world.
One of them, Sir Marcus Setchell, served the Queen for two decades and postponed his retirement to deliver the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first child, George, in 2013. He called it ‘the pinnacle of my career’.
Adored by patients for his empathetic approach, Sir Marcus, 75, has brought thousands of babies into the world. He also helped to save the life of the Countess of Wessex, who collapsed when Lady Louise was born prematurely in 2003, after the placenta ruptured the womb lining.
Guy Thorpe-Beeston (left), Sir Marcus Setchell (centre) and Alan Farthing (right) departing the hospital after delivering Prince George in 2013
Sir Marcus says: ‘There is nothing quite like that first cry at the moment of birth, and no matter how many babies one has delivered it remains a privilege – even if it’s at three o’clock in the morning – to share that moment of joy, relief and excitement.’
On his retirement in 2013, he was made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order – a personal gift of the Queen.
Before he took over from Sir Marcus as the Queen’s surgeon-gynaecologist, Alan Farthing was better known as the fiance of murdered TV presenter Jill Dando.
The 55-year-old helped deliver all three of the Duchess of Cambridge’s children. Quietly spoken and ‘fastidiously polite’, he is said to have ‘the perfect bedside manner, always cautious, always in control and very charming’.
When Miss Dando was killed in 1999, Mr Farthing overcame his grief by ignoring friends’ advice to ‘take three months off’ and instead plunged himself into his work, often operating late into the evening. He now has a private and NHS practice in London’s leading hospitals, as well as rooms in Harley Street.
In 2008, he married Dr Janet Stowell whom he met when she was a house doctor at St Mary’s, Paddington. ‘Alan is incredibly contented with life – he’s never been a complex man,’ says a colleague. ‘He loves his family, and he loves his work.’
Guy Thorpe-Beeston’s official title is surgeon-gynaecologist to the Royal Household, but he is known as the ‘The Scar Master’ by scores of grateful women because he left them with barely visible post-caesarean scars.
Like Mr Farthing, with whom he shares Harley Street consulting rooms, he was at the Duchess of Cambridge’s side for her children’s births.
Mr Thorpe-Beeston says he likes to ‘keep things simple’ by ‘offering honest advice’.