Watch the full episode 14 of Yahoo UK’s show ‘The Royal Box,‘ here.
After her first patronages were announced at the beginning of the year, it’s clear that Meghan’s focus is firmly is on empowering women and gender equality. And Harry’s onboard with Meghan’s ideals: during the couple’s joint visit to Birkenhead earlier this month, Harry also declared that he too is a feminist.
The pair will welcome their first child this spring, so, when it comes to parenting, will their forward-thinking ways lead to a break with tradition?
Royal correspondent Victoria Murphy tells Yahoo UK‘s The Royal Box that she would love to see Harry and Meghan share parental leave.
“I think there’s so much discussion about equality among this couple. We’re seeing that so much in what they’re doing,” she says.
“[Harry’s] very happy to let [Meghan] lead and he talks about being a feminist and he talks about her wearing the trousers, and joking about that. But, I think for them to set that example as well, I think, could be really quite significant.”
In the UK, all employed pregnant women are entitled to 52 weeks (one year) of maternity leave. The amount of this that’s paid is up to each individual company. According to Gov.uk, men may also be entitled to one or two weeks of paid paternity leave – more if their company allows.
However, many couples are now deciding to share parental leave, a 2015 government scheme which allows parents to split up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between them.
The Royal Family doesn’t have the kind of fixed maternity leave that a large majority of the British public are entitled to.
The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to Prince Louis in April 2018 and officially returned to her duties in the October, taking six months off.
However, we did see Kate at a few events in the interim, such as Trooping the Colour and Harry and Meghan’s wedding.
Prince William took two weeks paternity leave after the birth of their eldest child Prince George in 2013, when he worked as a RAF search and rescue pilot. He did the same when their daughter Princess Charlotte was born in 2015.
The length of maternity leave has varied for different royals, such as the Queen, Princess Diana and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. It’s not known who makes the decision about how much time they have off or whether it’s down to the individual.
Murphy adds: “I don’t think we’re going to see Meghan completely disappear off the scene, I think we will see her at some point, just perhaps not as frequently.”
Shared parental leave is not unprecedented within royal families.
As Murphy points out, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and her husband Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland shared parental leave with both their children Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar, born in 2012 and 2016 respectively.
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