Meghan and Harry’s hopes and dreams of starting a family

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex greet children during a visit to Albert Park Primary School in Melbourne Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA

There was a tender moment during the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding ceremony which encapsulated their shared dream of starting a family.

When the Dean of Windsor spoke of marriage being the “foundation of family life in which children are born and nurtured”, Harry looked into his bride’s eyes and smiled.

The pair both have long held ambitions to become parents.

Meghan once described motherhood as being on her “bucket list”, while Harry has often told how he would love to have children.

So it came as no surprise when Kensington Palace made the announcement, just five months after the royal wedding, that the duchess was expecting.

The topic had even cropped up in the couple’s engagement interview.

“You know, I think one step at a time, and hopefully we’ll start a family in the near future,” Harry said.

In the run-up to the wedding, Meghan also hinted at starting her own brood.

Meghan and Harry look at baby products during a visit to Belfast. Credit: Niall Carson/PA

On a trip to Belfast less than two months before their big day, Meghan joked when she was shown an innovative range for newborns: “I’m sure at some point we’ll need the whole (lot).”

It was in an interview in 2016, that she said becoming a mother was on her “bucket list”.

“I can’t wait to start a family, but in due time,” she said then.

Prince Harry is already uncle to Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

Harry revealed in 2015, before he met Meghan, that seeing his brother’s family continue to grow made him wish he had children of his own.

“Of course I would love to have kids right now but there’s a process that one has to go through…” Harry said.

“Hopefully I’m doing all right by myself. It would be great to have someone else next to me to share the pressure, but you know, time will come and whatever happens, happens.”

The Duke of Sussex serves a hot healthy lunch to children during a visit to a community centre. Credit: Chris Jackson/PA

He is already godfather to five or six of his friends’ children, and also more recently to Zara and Mike Tindall’s youngest daughter Lena.

“I think the key to that is to be able to grow up, but also be able to stay in touch with your childhood side,” Harry added of being good at the role.

Harry with bridesmaids and a page boy after the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011. Credit: Matt Cardy/PA

The duke is known for being at ease with youngsters, but Meghan has also impressed onlookers with her affectionate nature when meeting children on royal engagements.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex receive native flowers from two youngsters during their overseas trip to Australia. Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA

When two-year-old Catalina Rivera crept through the railings during a walkabout by Harry and Meghan in Rotorua, New Zealand, she was rewarded with a hug from the duchess.

The duchess hugs Catalina Rivera during a walkabout in Rotorua, New Zealand. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

The former actress, who shot to fame playing paralegal Rachel Zane in the US drama Suits, already has two “fairy god-daughters”.

She described the children of her close friend Benita Litt as such in a 2016 post on her since deleted Instagram account, and the girls – Remi and Rylan – were among her bridesmaids at her wedding.

The duchess’s father Thomas Markle had also spoken of Meghan’s hopes of becoming a mother.

He said on ITV’s Good Morning Britain in an interview a month after the wedding: “She’s wanted children for a long time and when she met Harry and she spoke about how much she loves him, there’s got to be a child in the making, somewhere soon.”

Harry has previously shown off his fatherly credentials in his interactions with nephew Prince George in front of Barack and Michelle Obama.

Michelle Obama said it was the most 'precious thing' to see Prince Harry with his nephew George. Credit: PA

When the then-US president and his wife visited the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Harry in 2016 at Kensington Palace, they saw George and his uncle together.

Mrs Obama said about Harry: “I have to say the most precious thing if you haven’t already fallen in love with him, is to see him with his nephew.”

But it appeared Harry was on his best behaviour, as Mrs Obama said of George: “He said ‘Uncle Harry, why are you so quiet? Why are you so quiet?'”

Meghan has given Harry the best endorsement, telling a well-wisher during a royal visit to Merseyside in January he will make “a fantastic father”.