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Exclusive! Soprano singer Laura Wright expecting first child with husband Harry Rowland

Congratulations to the couple!

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When mezzo-soprano Laura Wright and her former rugby ace husband Harry Rowland mark their first wedding anniversary this Christmas, there will be an extra special reason to celebrate. HELLO! exclusively revealed that the couple are expecting their first baby, due the day after the anniversary of their magical winter wonderland wedding on 22 December. "It's such a special time of year and the whole reason we wanted a winter wedding in the first place was because we love Christmas so much," says 20-weeks-pregnant Laura, as the couple shared their happy news for the first time. "This year will be even more amazing."

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Laura Wright is expecting her first child with Harry Rowland

Exclusive: Laura Wright marries Harry Rowland in stunning winter wedding

Their joy was plain to see as Laura, 20 weeks pregnant, showed off her baby bump in our exclusive photoshoot. It took place near the London home they share with their beloved dog Rocky, who's going to have to get used to sharing the pair's attention with a newborn. "He keeps looking at me in a confused way," said Laura. "Dogs are so intuitive." The singer fell pregnant quickly but it was only at the 12-week scan in June that the happy news sank in. "I was fully expecting them to just tell me I was a bit bloated," laughed Laura, who felt "a bit rough" during the first trimester. 

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"I had no idea it was going to be so visual," said Harry, 32, who works as a personal trainer, specialising in mobility. "I think I sat there the whole time with my mouth open. To see the heart beating – it was just incredible." Before the scan, Laura had been helping Harry visualise the baby. "I'd been saying: 'Today the baby is the size of an avocado, a kumquat or a pickle.'" Laughed Harry: "So until thescan, I'd been building a picture of the baby based on fruit." The mum-to-be has been keeping her bump under wraps in an array of loose-fitting frocks at her recent performances, including in Sheffield at the UK qualifying trials of the Invictus Games, the Olympicstyle event founded by the Duke of Sussex for wounded, injured and sick military personnel.

She has sung at every Invictus Games so far and is a firm favourite with the royal family, having performed at several royal occasions, including the Diamond Jubilee Pageant in 2012. "It's only in the last few weeks that I’ve begun to show. I feel lucky with my job – I get to borrow beautiful gowns and dresses and so I’ve been choosing floaty outfits. What's lovely at the moment is that I'm feeling bubbles and flutters – no kicks yet. But when the baby starts moving a bit more it will be strange if it happens when I’m singing."

Laura has been playing lots of music to the baby, and her friends, two of whom are also pregnant, suggested she record an album of lullabies. As it happens, she is currently in the studio. "I'm writing and recording, so being quite emotional and thoughtful is great. Being in the music industry and the sport industry, I've seen so many women – like my friend Helen Skelton – who show me that having a career and children is absolutely possible. I'm self-employed, so I'll be able to pick and choose what I do when the baby is born. And we want to have some adventures." Explained Harry: "In an ideal world we’d love to spend three months a year in Africa. Experience rather than material things is the most important thing to us. I grew up in London but my dad was a ranger and we had a cottage in the woods. It's being outside, climbing trees, that stays with me from my childhood."

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Laura Wright sings at 2018 Invictus Games

Laura is always up for a challenge, too. In fact, just ten days after finding out she was expecting, she ran the London marathon. Not surprisingly, her thoughts weren't entirely on the task in hand. "There's a lot of time to think when you’re running a marathon. Emotionally, I found the experience quite difficult. I'm very competitive so I wanted to do well, but I felt like I couldn't do that. This was my fourth marathon and I know how they can be quite overwhelming. I was feeling quite tired and I felt a bit low. At one point I was overtaken by a man in a rhino costume and I thought: 'This is going really badly!' I was really relieved when it was done." She was running to raise money for the conservation charity David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, for which she and Harry are ambassadors. Last summer the pair helped raise thousands more for the organisation when they cycled across Zambia – with Laura, the only woman on the trip, battling on despite having sustained a broken ankle just weeks earlier during a CrossFit competition.

With that sort of determination, giving birth shouldn't be too much of an issue. "I want to go with the flow," she says, adding that she'd like to give birth as naturally as possible. Her mum and Harry will be with her. "We're keeping the sex a surprise. I want Harry to tell me whether we have a son or a daughter because it's a lovely way of involving your partner." They've already chosen names. "It's a massive decision. We're usually quite opinionated people but we both agree," say the couple, who want to be "reliable, inspiring and united" parents.

After a scare when Laura contracted a virus – she blacked out on a train en route to a gig a few weeks ago and was put on a drip in hospital – she's now taking things a bit easier. "That was a wake-up call," she nods. "I need to be a bit more aware and listen to my body. It took me quite a long time to feel better from it. It scared me. Yes, I can still work, I can still train, but on the days I’m not feeling 100%, I need to take it easy. Now isn't the time to be setting world records. The baby is the priority. "And it also made me realise how grateful I am for Harry. He is such a huge support and he'll be an amazing, emotional and passionate dad. He has a tough exterior but he’s incredibly gentle and caring underneath." That said, Laura will work as long as she can. "I've even got some carol concerts booked," she smiles. It's shaping up to be a busy December…

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