Only once Meghan has merged from the post birth fog, will she discover quite what a good move she has made to Windsor. She might be sleep deprived and sore and living in a building site but within a few miles of Frogmore, her newly renovated “forever home” is everything a new mother could need from organic supermarkets and luxury spas to Buggy Fit classes and cafes serving proper coffee.
“New mums want to stay in touch with reality and get back into their favourite dresses and round here there are loads of stylish, outdoorsy ways of doing it,” explains Sue Barnes of Lavender Green Flowers, a Windsor local who regularly does the flowers at events at the Royal palaces. Plus, Heathrow is only a short drive away – easy for when granny Doria flies in to help and, in case of emergencies, the Peter Jones nursery department is only 22 miles up the M4.
There will presumably be times when Meghan will crave the bustle of city life but Barnes insists Windsor is a playground for new mums. “I can imagine them taking the baby on a slipper boat down the Thames with a picnic,” she says. “Or he will play polo at Coworth Park while she relaxes in the spa and the baby sleeps in the crèche. Round here you can also attend society events such as the Royal Windsor Horse Show with your baby in tow, which Meghan will appreciate.”
If the Duchess is open to making new friends there will also be plenty of kindred spirits to hang out with, says local mother and parenting blogger Jodie Humphries. “It’s so easy for new mums to make friends around here as many have, like Meghan, moved out of the Royal Borough for a better quality of life,” she says. “We arrive as strangers but form strong friendships through local baby and toddler groups. It’s really helpful to have a set of friends who are all experiencing similar things at the same time.” The question is: will Meghan flit between Frogmore and five-star spa hotels – or brave the Windsor playgroups?
Meghan’s guide to being a new mum in Windsor
The post birth boot camp
Meghan has installed a gym and yoga studio at Frogmore, and will presumably ship in private trainers to come to the house – maybe Chloe Hodgson, who takes the pilates classes at Soho Farmhouse, or Notting Hill-based postnatal yoga guru Tara Lee. She might also take ballet barre and legs, bums and tums classes at the Cliveden Club, the private members club and gym attached to the five-star hotel where she stayed the night before her wedding. And then there are Her Majesty’s horses to canter around the Great Park – great for toning the post birth core.
She would do well, though, according to Humphries, to pull down her baseball cap and mingle in with the Buggy Fit crowd, which meets weekly on the Long Walk, a few minutes from Frogmore. For this she will need to ditch the traditional royal pram in favour of a sporty buggy such as a BOB Revolution Flex or, if it’s twins, a Bugaboo Donkey.
The new mum friends
Her friends the Clooneys live 20 minutes away at Sonning – Amal’s twins are now nearly two, so she can teach Meg the basics – and Elton John and his two children live in Old Windsor. Anna Friel is also a local Windsor mum and over at Henley-on Thames, mother-of-four Sascha Wrottesley, whose father Urs Schwarzenbach is a local polo patron and is a great mate of Prince Charles, will be able to introduce Meghan to the local polo mums. Meanwhile in Virginia Water are pop star Jessica Taylor, who is married to Kevin Pietersen, and TV presenter Kirstie Gallagher both with two children. If she’s prepared to brave the local baby classes, however (see below), she will meet a raft of other local mums, and can bond over coffee and cake in the cafe at the Windsor Farmshop or on breezy walks in the Great Park. We’d say unlikely, but the option is at least there.
The baby classes
There is so much on offer for babies around Windsor that Meghan could risk over stimulating Baby Sussex: baby massage in Maidenhead , Hartbeeps sensory sessions in Windsor and two soft plays, the Jelly Lounge and the Little Gym in Windsor. For older babies Humphries recommends Concertini, live concerts for babies at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts in Maidenhead. “My little boy went to his first concert when he was around six months,” she says. Perhaps most appropriate for Meghan will be Yoga Babes at the Positivity Centre next to Cliveden. “It’s postnatal exercises for mum and groovy moves to nursery rhymes for baby,” Humphries explains.
When Meghan wants to escape the house for some ‘me time’, she should stroll to the Savill garden in Windsor Great Park, says Humphries, which has a great café and stunning scenery. Cliveden will undoubtedly become another favourite with its spa café serving healthy meals and tranquil sitting areas.
Not only do they do lovely afternoon teas and two-hour restorative flotation therapies (£185), there is also a playground in the National Trust estate for when the baby gets a bit older too. She might bump in to Cliveden regulars Poppy Delevigne and Gabby Logan.
Once they feel up to it they will be able book a discreet table at numerous fancy restaurants near Frogmore – the Fat Duck and Royal Oak are 15 minutes away at Bray and both the Waterside Inn and Skindles can be accessed by boat. “Or the Barn at Coworth Park, is relaxed chic and serves amazing food and is out of the spotlight,” says local parenting blogger Melanie Kentish. Brad Pitt has stayed at Coworth and it was where former Dr Who star Matt Smith introduced his girlfriend Lily James to polo. The Sussexes also have a sentimental connection as Harry stayed here on the eve of their wedding.
There will surely be family picnics on the lawns at Guards Polo, where Harry regularly plays and cream teas at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, a favourite with the Pony Club set including dressage star Laura Tomlinson, Harry’s cousins Lady Louise Windsor and Zara Tindall – her youngest, Lena, will be a partner in crime for Baby Sussex – and Jessica Springsteen, Bruce’s champion showjumper daughter. “It’s smart but also very family orientated,” Barnes says. And then there’s Henley Royal Regatta, where Harry can catch up with his “wet bob” school chums. Harry might also suggest they go Carters Steam Fair, a traditional fairground, where he rode on the dodgems as a child. “It’s a great place to go if he wanted to show Meghan some British traditions,” Humphries says.
It may feel like much too soon to be talking schools but places are coveted at Asquith Nursery - one of the best nurseries in Windsor, according to Kentish, while Puddleduck Preschool, which has a similar vibe to Westacre Montessori, the small nursery on the Sandringham Estate where Prince George began his school days is also highly sought after. Another Montessori option is Children of the World Montessori School, which has small class sizes and a large playground.
Little Sussex might go on to Upton House where Fergie and Andrew sent their girls or Bishopsgate prep, at the entrance to Windsor Park, which is popular with local yummy mummies. Perhaps the most obvious choice, though, is St George’s, at the foot of Windsor Castle, founded in 1348 to educate the choristers of the chapel where the Sussexes were married. And then of course there’s Harry’s alma mater, Eton, just across the river – although Meghan might put her foot down at that.
If Baby Sussex starts making her life difficult she could call up Hummingbird Home Staff, which provides local maternity nurses, night nannies and sleep trainers. Of course leading baby experts from across Britain will also be on hand to dash to the Duchesses side: miracle breastfeeding consultant Clare Byam Cook, for example, and Magic Sleep Fairy Alison Scott-Wright. Lady Sophie Windsor, who is married to Harry’s cousin Lord Fredrick Windsor, might suggest she consults sleep counsellor Andrea Grace, who helped with her children’s sleep issues.
Beating the baby blues
Even for new mums like Meghan, with a luxury home and an entourage, motherhood can be lonely. “The key is to have realistic expectations and to surround yourself with people that make you feel confident,” Humphries says. Parenting podcasts are a good way to feel connected during solitary night feeds or lonely days at home; Marina Fogle’s Parenthood is a good one, as is Motherkind – or Scummy Mummies if Meghan is feeling less than perfect. And there’s nothing like a good catch up with an old friend – or a new one. “Thankfully there is a great sense of community within Windsor,” Kentish says. “Which wards off the loneliness that being a new mum can bring.”