With Meghan Markle’s due date for her royal baby coming up this spring, friends of the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry and well-wishers alike will be ready to shower her with baby gifts. Already, Markle has celebrated her impending motherhood with a weekend of festivities in Manhattan with celebrity friends like Serena Williams and Amal Clooney. She’ll further be fêted back in the U.K. with her sister-in-law Kate Middleton. And when the baby is born this season even more of her friends and fans will want to support the new addition to the family. Here’s what to know about the gifts she will receive.
Who can Meghan Markle accept baby gifts from?
“There’s no official royal prohibition against members of the royal family receiving gifts from their friends or family members,” says royals history author Leslie Carroll. “If Serena or Amal want to give Meghan a cute little onesie for the baby, that’s not a crime.” Tennis star Williams and lawyer Clooney helped organize Markle’s Manhattan baby shower in February, reportedly arranging for the penthouse suite location where the party was held. And while we don’t know exactly what presents were bestowed on Markle at that time, the experts have some guesses. “They bought her things that would be sweet and sentimental and personal,” Carroll suggests. Markle was spotted wearing one gift, a gold nameplate necklace with the term “Mummy,” while she was in New York at the time of the shower.
But for the rest of us who aren’t part of Markle’s inner circle, it’s best to hold off on sending a gift entirely. As CNN royals commentator Victoria Arbiter explains, the royals cannot accept any “unsolicited” gifts sent their way.
What happens to unsolicited royal baby gifts?
If there’s a return address on the package, the mail room staff will promptly send it back with a note — “probably not from Harry and Meghan, but from the office,” Arbiter further clarifies. If there’s no return address, it will get donated to local hospitals or charities; Kate Middleton has followed the same protocol when her children were born. “The royal mail room, you can imagine, is pretty intense,” Arbiter says, with security always an important element for the safety of public figures like the royals.
And if you’re a brand or baby products company? Forget about it. “If they’re sent from a company, they will definitely be sent back [or donated], because the royals don’t want to be walking billboards,” Arbiter says of any brand hoping to take advantage of Markle’s influential status.
How can Meghan Markle fans congratulate her on her baby?
One thing the royals always accept: regular mail. “If people send cards congratulating them on the baby, they will get a reply at some stage. It may take some time, but they will get a reply, and it’s a nice way to show their appreciation,” Arbiter explains. At Markle’s royal wedding with Prince Harry, the pair asked well-wishers to consider donating to their favorite charities, but in this case they’re more likely to simply accept congratulations in the form of notes. “If people wanted to do something, that would be a nice gesture.”