Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Gives Birth to a Boy

The baby is sure to be the object of uncommon fascination, adored and criticized as a symbol of the modernization of Britain’s royal family.

Harry, 34, and Meghan, 37, have shaken up the royal family in a number of ways: The duchess is an American and a former actress, and their wedding last May featured a gospel choir, a freestyling African-American bishop and a gaggle of Hollywood celebrities. They continued to set aside convention after the wedding, opening their own Instagram account and offering little access to the royal-obsessed British news media. In April, they announced they were canceling the traditional photo opportunity outside the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital in the heart of London, curtailing the ritual hullabaloo that usually surrounds royal births. For many, the new baby’s importance will be indelibly linked with race. Britain is 87 percent white, but multiracial people will soon be the country’s largest minority group. The entry of Meghan Markle, the descendant of plantation slaves, into the royal family resonated deeply with many people of African descent, who almost immediately began to anticipate the birth of the couple’s first child. Historians have noted that the duchess herself cannot be definitively described as the first multiracial royal. Some scholars have argued that Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of King George III, had African ancestry through the Portuguese royal family. If true, it would have been passed on to her own descendant, Queen Victoria.