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Here's how we'll know exactly when Meghan Markle has started maternity leave

Royal baby countdown is on!

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The Duchess of Sussex is just weeks away from welcoming her first child, so when exactly will she go on maternity leave? HELLO! understands that Meghan has no public engagements in the diary, but will continue to have private meetings and audiences away from the cameras. And while there is speculation that Meghan has already quietly started her leave, this couldn't be further from the truth.

Kensington Palace will announce exactly when Meghan will undertake her final engagement before the birth. Last year, when the Duchess of Cambridge was expecting Prince Louis, the palace released a statement very clearly reading: "Today's public engagements by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be Her Royal Highness' last before starting her maternity leave."

Harry and Meghan celebrated Commonwealth Day earlier this week

Fans can expect a similar announcement for Meghan, and it's likely the Duchess will start her leave roughly one month before her due date. Kate's last public engagement before Louis' birth was on 22 March; she went on to welcome her third child just over a month later on 23 April. Meghan has previously said she is due in late April or early May, but some fans have speculated she may give birth earlier in mid-April.

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It's also not yet known which hospital Meghan has chosen, but the one big clue that will reveal all is when parking restrictions are put into place. When Kate was preparing to give birth to Louis at the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, restrictions were put up outside the ward roughly two weeks before.

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Meghan's other hospital options could be the Frimley Park Hospital in Windsor, where the Countess of Wessex gave birth to her children Lady Louise Windsor and James Viscount Severn. Prince Harry and Meghan are relocating to their country home in Windsor, Frogmore Cottage, in the near future. Another reported choice is the Portland Hospital in London, where Sarah, Duchess of York welcomed her two daughters Beatrice and Eugenie.

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