prince harry

Prince Harry 'so excited' about impending birth of royal baby, says family friend

He's about to become a first-time dad

Ainhoa Barcelona

The Duke of Sussex was in exceptionally high spirits as he carried out an official engagement on Thursday. Harry may have been in work mode, but he had plenty of reason to smile; he is about to become a dad for the first time as his wife Meghan's due date approaches.

Harry was in Essex to open the latest centre for young people established by national charity OnSide Youth Zones. His family friend, Lady Jayne Woodward, wife of former England rugby coach Sir Clive, was there to meet him and noted: "I think he's just so excited. He will make the most wonderful father. We've known him since he was about 13 and he's a great chap." She also presented Harry with a gift for his baby, wrapped up in a Paddington Bear bag.

The Duke was met with cheers and applause from local children, who waved flags as he arrived at Future to officially open the centre. Harry joined members of Barking and Dagenham Youth Forum and Youth Zone members as they spoke about their experiences of knife crime, and discussed potential solutions.

A total of three Youth Zones are being launched in the capital this year. Each centre provides young people with somewhere to go and something to do, from indoor climbing to dance and drama. The centres also have a music room with a recording studio, a fully equipped gym and arts and crafts room.

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Prince Harry has visited several OnSide Youth Zones before

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Harry, 34, has visited several OnSide Youth Zones and took his wife Meghan to see the Birkenhead site in January. But this week, the Duke travelled solo as Meghan rests at home. The former actress is nearing the end of her pregnancy and is expected to give birth in the next few weeks.

On Thursday, Buckingham Palace shared an update on the royal baby, revealing that Harry and Meghan are planning to keep the birth a private affair. The statement read: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very grateful for the goodwill they have received from people throughout the United Kingdom and around the world as they prepare to welcome their baby.

"Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private. The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family."

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