Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has revealed the “unbearable grief” of suffering a miscarriage while nursing her son Archie.
The 39-year-old royal has given a heartbreaking account of losing her baby in July.
In a candid account rarely seen by a member of the royal family, the Duchess wrote an opinion piece about how the morning four months ago started “ordinarily”.
“It was a July morning that began as ordinarily as any other day: Make breakfast. Feed the dogs. Take vitamins,” she wrote in the New York Times.
“Find that missing sock. Pick up the rogue crayon that rolled under the table. Throw my hair in a ponytail before getting my son from his crib.”
But that morning then went from ordinary to unforgettable.
“After changing his diaper, I felt a sharp cramp,” she wrote. “I dropped to the floor with him in my arms, humming a lullaby to keep us both calm, the cheerful tune a stark contrast to my sense that something was not right.
“I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second.”
Meghan was comforted by her husband Prince Harry, 36, and she said he, too, was feeling sadness at their loss.
“Hours later, I lay in a hospital bed, holding my husband’s hand,” she said. “I felt the clamminess of his palm and kissed his knuckles, wet from both our tears. Staring at the cold white walls, my eyes glazed over. I tried to imagine how we’d heal.
“Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband’s heart break as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of mine, I realised that the only way to begin to heal is to first ask, ‘Are you OK?’”
Meghan, who has previously been a campaigner for urging people to talk about mental health, said she was speaking out because miscarriage was so often hidden.
“Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few,” she said.
“In the pain of our loss, my husband and I discovered that in a room of 100 women, 10 to 20 of them will have suffered from miscarriage.
“Yet despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning.”
The intimate details shared in the article are strikingly at odds with the usual policy of senior members of the British royal family, who reveal almost nothing about their personal lives.
Harry’s grandmother, the Queen, has never discussed her private life in any media interview in her 68-year reign.
Despite one-in-four Australian women experiencing a miscarriage in their lifetime, it is still often regarded as a taboo topic.
That appeared to change last month when model Chrissy Teigen and her musician husband John Legend went public on social media with the loss of their unborn son Jack, sharing black and white photos of their raw emotion.
It coincided with the release of Australian director Tahyna MacManus’ documentary, Misunderstandings of Miscarriage.
There had been speculation that the Duchess was pregnant after a court case against a British newspaper was delayed for nine months.
However, there had been no official announcements.
Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of royal bible Majesty magazine, said Meghan was following a new trend of being more open about miscarriage.
“I would say it was probably very cathartic for her. I’m sure it helped her hugely and she wants to help other people,” she said. “It’s very much a generational thing. In my generation no one talked about it. It happens to an awful lot of women and you either talk about it or you don’t. It’s a personal thing.”
Zara Tindall, the Queen’s granddaughter, revealed she had miscarriages in 2016 and again in 2018 before the birth of her second child, daughter Lena.
Mrs Tindall said that she and her retired rugby union player husband Mike were flooded with letters from other people who had endured the same thing following their first public acknowledgement.