NEW dad Harry is taking five months’ paternity leave — giving the rest of us a break from the preachy prince bending our ears.
Wife Meghan, 39, will have a similar work gap to Harry, 36, following the birth of daughter Lilibet.
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One royal commentator said last night: “Not being working royals any more, they are free to do what they want.”
The prince’s 20-week paternity break compares with just a fortnight’s paid leave for new dads back in the UK.
His near half-year absence eclipses the time out taken by his brother Prince William.
The Duke of Cambridge, 38, enjoyed two to three weeks off when Prince George and Princess Charlotte were born — but only two days for Prince Louis.
Harry, 36, and wife Meghan, 39, will both spend a five-month parental break at their £11million mansion in California
It follows the birth of their second child — daughter Lilibet Diana — in the US on Friday.
What we know so far:
- Meghan and Harry have given birth to a baby girl called Lilibet "Lili" Diana Mountbatten-Windsor in a touching nod to the Queen
- She was born at hospital in Santa Barbara on Friday morning weighing 7lb 11oz
- Lili and Meghan are "healthy and well" and "settling in at home"
- Meghan and Harry have asked people to support organisations working for women and girls instead of giving a present
- Lili is now eighth in line to the throne, behind her older brother Archie
- Meghan and Harry kept birth a secret for two DAYS before announcing baby joy to the world
- Queen, William and Kate Middleton say they are 'delighted' after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry welcome baby Lilibet
- The clues Meghan Markle and Prince Harry chose their baby girl’s name Lili years earlier
The couple’s biographer Omid Scobie said last night: “We’re so used to seeing senior royals going back to work but Harry and Meghan are leading by example.
“They offer up to 20 weeks parental leave at Archewell (their foundation). It’ll be several months off work for the pair of them.”
Duchess of Cambridge Kate, 39, took seven months off for the birth of Louis, four for Charlotte and one for George.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said Harry and Meghan’s extended leave was one benefit of Megxit.
He said: “Not being working royals any more, they are free to do what they want, when they want. That’s one benefit of quitting the institution.
“They can take 40 weeks if they choose but it also depends what is meant by ‘leave’. For example Harry will be attending the statue unveiling of his mother on July 1 in London so we will still be seeing and hearing from them. That said, there might be some who will be hoping not to hear anything controversial from Harry and Meghan for 20 weeks.”
News of the couple’s mega leave came as new illustrations from Meghan’s children’s book — The Bench — were released ahead of its worldwide publication today.
One looks like it is meant to be Harry sitting in a garden and feeding chickens with a little boy watched by two dogs. The couple have two-year-old son Archie
Royal biographer Penny Junor said: “Five months is a generous amount of time off but good for them. It’s all right for some.
“I do believe bonding well with children when they’re young is very important.
“Harry maybe felt his parents were too busy when he was a child and he wants to make the most of it now for his young family. Certainly both of his parents were working and he spent a lot of time with nannies.
“I’m sure they’ll get up to all sorts during their time off together as a family — maybe even some more feeding chickens.”
The couple will take time off from Archewell, but will eventually need to get back to other work, including Harry’s new role as “chief impact officer” with US mental health firm BetterUp.
The couple have Spotify and Netflix roles, plus a multi-year partnership with Procter & Gamble to “help build a more equitable and just future for women and girls”.
Last night some Twitter users poked fun at Harry and Meghan and asked: “What jobs are they taking leave from?” Sofia Lia said “Leave from what exactly? Oprah interviews bashing the Royals.” It came as speculation mounted over whether the Queen had known of the decision to name the new baby after her.
Lilibet is said to be the Queen’s “deeply personal” nickname given by her father King George VI and only affectionately used by Prince Philip. Royal sources last night agreed she was “almost certainly” told of Harry and Meghan’s plans — even if the couple did not explicitly ask for permission.
One insider said “Even if she was surprised with the decision, she’s keen to build bridges and would have reacted graciously.”
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