Kensington Palace had a busy week shutting down reports that Markle and Prince Harry intend to raise their baby without imposing any gender stereotypes. The rumours of the royal couple’s parenting style of choice stem from a recent Vanity Fair report, which quoted an anonymous source saying, “Meghan has been talking to some of her friends about the birth and how she and Harry plan to raise their baby. Her exact word was fluid...She said they plan to raise their child with a fluid approach to gender and they won’t be imposing any stereotypes.”
The palace’s response was swift: “This story is totally false,” a spokesperson told Hello! magazine just days after the article went live.
It’s significant that the palace chose to weigh in on this, considering how tight-lipped the royals typically are about personal matters. Besides announcing royal babies, one of the rare moments the palace issued a statement about the royals’ personal lives came last year, when rumours of an ongoing feud between Markle and Kate Middleton were getting out of hand.
Vanity Fair does note, however, that there are “multiple possible interpretations” of Markle’s use of the word “fluid,” and it is unclear to which the palace spokesperson was responding to. First off, there is gender fluidity: people who are gender fluid do not identify with any particular gender marker. Then there are examples of gender neutrality and genderless parenting, which does not necessarily mean going so far as to raise a child as gender fluid, but rather attempts to dispel preconceived stereotypes about gender from a young age. This tactic, for example, falls in step with Markle and Prince Harry’s decision to avoid pinks and blues for their nursery in favour of a more neutral color palette of greys and whites.
The royal couple has not yet revealed the gender of their baby, which is due this spring. Us Weekly reports Markle told friends it was a boy, Vanity Fair says the decor at Markle’s baby shower suggests it is a girl, and according to Elle, Markle and Prince Harry already know the gender but have chosen to keep it a surprise. No matter what your guess is, though, the palace has made one thing clear: there’s definitely a 50-50 chance you’re right.