Meghan Markle made a very important solo trip last month: She was back on U.S. soil without Prince Harry to celebrate their imminent addition to the royal family.
The location was New York City, where several of Markle’s closest friends joined her for a special baby shower on Feb. 20. Celebrities such as Serena Williams, Abigail Spencer, Amal Clooney and Gayle King attended the party.
Here’s what we know so far about the star-studded event in honor of the glowing mom-to-be:
Meghan Arrives In NYC
The Duchess of Sussex arrived in New York City in style, dressed in a William Vintage Courrèges Haute Couture black trapeze coat and dark sunglasses. She was snapped — with a protective hand on her growing baby bump — outside her hotel on Feb. 19 with her friend and fellow “Suits” star Abigail Spencer, who wore a long red patterned dress and a black blazer. The baby shower wasn’t until the following day, giving the duchess time to relax and spend some time in the city.
The Duchess of Sussex accessorized her look with a classic tote by Carolina Herrera. Markle is a long-time fan of the Venezuelan fashion designer, who has dressed various First Ladies in her time, including Jacqueline Onassis, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama. Markle wore a pink off-shoulder Carolina Herrera dress for her first appearance at Trooping the Colour, the Queen’s annual birthday parade, in June 2018. The following month, she wore a navy fit-and-flare Carolina Herrera dress for a polo match in Windsor in aid of Prince Harry’s charity, Sentebele.
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A Chic Venue
Markle’s home for her New York City stay was The Mark, the stylish Upper East Side hotel, in the heart of Manhattan. It’s a top choice for fashion editors during New York fashion week, and where many celebrities get glammed up for the Met Gala. The baby shower was held in the penthouse, according to reports . At 12,000-square-foot across two floors, it’s the largest hotel suite in the United States. It’s also the most expensive, costing $75,000 per night.
Lunch And Art
After lunch, Markle and Spencer went to The Met Breuer to take in some contemporary art. There are no pictures of Markle inside the museum, proving that even a Duchess — in the age of smartphones, no less — can go incognito when she really wants to. The Met Breuer opened in March 2016 in the building formerly occupied by the Whitney Museum of American Art, which was designed by Marcel Breuer and completed in 1966. It features monographic and thematic artworks from the Met’s collection.
Dinner With Friends
The evening before the baby shower, Markle went out to dinner with her close friends, including tennis champ Serena Williams and Markus Anderson, a consultant for Soho House, an elite members-only club with locations around the world.
Anderson met Markle in 2012 when he returned home to Toronto, where the future Duchess was living during the filming of “Suits.” Since then, they have been firm friends; Anderson was pictured by Markle’s side when she attended the 2017 Invictus Games. Markle once wrote of Anderson on her now-defunct Instagram account, “What would I do without you, my loving, supportive, and endlessly fun friend??”
Wrapped Up Warm
Markle wore a navy Victoria Beckham coat and Hatch maternity jeans for her dinner date at Polo Bar, completing the look with velvet Tamara Mellon boots and a black Stella McCartney bag. On Christmas Day 2018, Markle wore head-to-toe Beckham: a calf-length navy dress, matching coat, knee-high boots and a statement handbag. Markle and Beckham have reportedly struck up a close friendship — Beckham and her husband David attended Markle’s wedding to Prince Harry in May 2018 — but the former Spice Girl wasn’t present at the baby shower.
Serena Williams Played Host
According to Harper’s Bazaar, the “low-key” shower was hosted by Serena Williams and Genevieve Hillis , a friend of Markle’s from her college days. The hosts had a little professional help in the form of Jennifer Zabinski of JZ Events, who planned Williams’ 2017 wedding to Alexis Ohanian.
The duchess has been friends with tennis star Williams since 2010, when they met at the Super Bowl. Markle once wrote of Williams on her former lifestyle website, The Tig , “She quickly became a confidante I would text when I was traveling, the friend I would rally around for her tennis matches, and the down-to-earth chick I was able to grab lunch with a couple of weeks ago in Toronto.”
Abigail Spencer Came Prepared
Spencer was photographed arriving at The Mark on the day of the baby shower with a suitcase and a bulging bag — with gifts for the mom-to-be, perhaps? Spencer began her acting career playing Rebecca Tyree on the ABC daytime television soap opera “All My Children” and also starred in the Lifetime crime drama series “Angela’s Eyes” before getting the part of Dana “Scottie” Scott in “Suits,” where she struck up a friendship with her co-star Markle . Spencer even contributed to Markle’s now-discontinued lifestyle blog, The Tig.
Amal Clooney Joined The Party
Amal Clooney, who attended Prince Harry and Markle’s 2018 wedding , was spotted at the baby shower in a red silk Sergio Hudson jumpsuit and Gianvito Rossi gold-and-PVC pumps. Clooney and Markle are said to have become close friends since last fall, with Clooney helping Markle settle into London life. Recently, Clooney’s husband, George, came to Markle’s defense , comparing the constant attention on Meghan to the circus that surrounded Prince Harry’s mother, Princess Diana.
Markle’s Makeup Artist Was There
Makeup artist Daniel Martin has been friends with Markle since her “Suits” days, and his other A-list clients include Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Chrissy Teigen and Elisabeth Moss.
“I’m really lucky and blessed to work with these incredible women — it’s up to me to capture the essence of their personality,” he told Vogue .
Wedding Makeup Throwback
Martin made headlines in 2018 when he was revealed as Markle’s makeup artist for her wedding to Prince Harry. The fresh, dewy, natural look he created for Markle on the day – which didn’t disguise her freckles — was a huge hit with audiences and beauty editors alike.
“Because we’ve known each other for so long and I knew exactly what she wanted, it was kind of a no-brainer,” he told Vogue . Martin occasionally treats fans to a sneak peek into life with his royal friend; last month, he shared a photo on Instagram of tea and avocado on toast that the duchess had prepared for him.
Misha Nonoo Attended
Fashion designer and Markle’s close friend Misha Nonoo also attended the celebration. She is believed to be responsible for introducing Prince Harry to Markle in July 2016. (Nonoo used to be married to one of Harry’s best friends, the Old Etonian and co-founder of the art auction house Paddle 8, Alexander Gilkes.)
The designer arrived at Meghan’s baby shower carrying a gift bag from Rani Arabella, a luxury garment brand. The brand’s gift options include baby blankets in a choice of colors, retailing at $315 to $375.
Gayle King Brought Gifts
TV anchor and Oprah bestie Gayle King has revealed some details of Markle’s baby shower, telling her “CBS This Morning” colleagues that Markle didn’t open her gifts that day . “She wants to do that when [Prince] Harry and her are back together, so I really don’t know what everybody got her,” she said. However, King didn’t spill the beans on her gift to the mom-to-be, saying, “I think I got her something very nice.” King was photographed outside The Mark carrying a colorful polka-dot gift bag.
BFF Jessica Mulroney Was A Guest
Markle’s BFF, Canadian fashion stylist Jessica Mulroney, joined the duchess to celebrate the upcoming birth of her baby. Mulroney was named as Markle’s unofficial wedding planner after she flew to London in late April 2018 to help her friend finalize her plans. Mulroney’s daughter Ivy, 4, was a bridesmaid at the royal wedding, while her 7-year-old twin sons Brian and John were page boys. Aside from her royal connection, Mulroney is best known for dressing Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, the wife of Canada’s prime minister.
Priyanka Chopra Was A No-Show
Initial reports claimed Priyanka Chopra attended the shower, but sources have said that the newlywed actress couldn’t leave Los Angeles due to work commitments related to a book she’s writing. Chopra was a guest at Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding, but Markle wasn’t there when Chopra tied the knot with Nick Jonas in India in December 2018. Markle and Chopra have been friends for a couple years. They have a shared interest in humanitarian issues; Chopra is a UNICEF global goodwill ambassador, while Markle has worked with organizations like World Vision and One Young World.
Taryn Toomey Was There
Markle has often spoken of her dedication to fitness, so it’s no surprise that wellness guru Taryn Toomey was on the baby shower guest list. Toomey, who counts Jennifer Aniston and Naomi Watts among her clients, is the founder of the Class, a fusion of cardio, yoga and kickboxing. Markle has credited pilates, yoga and running with keeping her fit, telling Women’s Health , “Running has always been my form of moving meditation, which I relish because it allows me to get out of my head.”
It’s not known whether Markles registered for gifts for her baby shower, but she and Prince Harry certainly have plenty to open back in London. Large packages were spotted being loaded into vehicles outside The Mark following the celebration. A royal expert shed some light on the type of gifts Markle might have received , saying “Sometimes, they may be baby-related and other times, friends and guests give something to the mother-to-be, such as aromatherapy oil for a bit of pampering or cashmere socks for being in labor and just being comfy!”
Convertible Crib From Babyletto
Among the items spotted outside Markle’s hotel was a box containing a crib from Babyletto. The three-in-one Hudson crib is a convertible crib/toddler bed/daybed, and according to the Babyletto website , it features “stylish rounded spindles and an open modern silhouette” and is “made with eco-friendly, non-toxic materials.” At the time of publication, the Hudson crib was still available to buy from Amazon , where it retails at $379. With all the interest around the royal mom-to-be, however, it might sell out soon.
For Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding, the flower arrangements included sweet peas, lilies of the valley, astilbe, jasmine, astrantia and Princess Diana’s favorite, forget-me-nots. Flowers delivered for the baby shower were much more colorful, including yellow daffodils, bright purple blooms and Meghan’s personal favorite, pink peonies. King revealed that the guests were invited to try their hand at flower-arranging, saying on CBS This Morning , “They did flower decorations. They had flower arranging, they brought in somebody to explain how to arrange flowers.”
A Sleek Modern Venue
Without photographs from the baby shower itself, Markle fans are left to imagine the celebration for themselves. Images of the interior of The Mark help set the scene. The lobby has a glossy monochrome floor and futuristic design features. Sources say the hosts chose this elegant hotel after considering several other venues in the area. Williams often dines at Jean-Georges, the hotel’s in-house restaurant, but she is not believed to have stayed at the hotel before. It’s also been reported that Williams picked up the bill for the whole thing.
Sources say The duchess’s shower was held in The Mark’s two-floor penthouse suite, which features five bedrooms, six bathrooms and two powder rooms.
Room With A View
The penthouse suite has amazing views over Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. However, the weather on the day of Markle’s baby shower may not have been suitable for al fresco relaxation. It was snowing!
Mom Doria Wasn’t There
Doria Ragland missed her daughter’s shower, remaining in California, where she was photographed walking her dog and running errands. However, the grandparent-to-be may have plenty of time with Markle and her baby following the birth, as she is rumored to be moving to London to ensure Markle has her hands-on help with the new arrival. Markle and Ragland made a public appearance in September 2018 to promote Markle’s cookbook, “Together,” and cook coconut chicken curry, aubergine masala and chapatis together.
Where Was Kate Middleton?
Kate was absent from the baby shower for her future niece or nephew, but she had a good reason; she and her family were on vacation. It’s Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s half-term break from school, and it’s believed that the Cambridges, including baby Prince Louis , are enjoying a ski trip away from the spotlight. It has been reported that Markle will have another baby shower in the U.K., which is expected to be more of a family affair, with her sister-in-law Kate and mother by her side.
Pregnant In The Public Eye
Before her baby shower, the last time Markle was photographed in public was on Feb. 12, when she joined Prince Harry at the Natural History Museum in London for a gala performance of The Wider Earth in support of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and the Her Majesty’s Commonwealth Canopy project. For this special occasion, Markle wore a glamorous all-white ensemble, including a high-neck Calvin Klein dress and an Amanda Wakeley coat, accessorized with an olive-green Ralph Lauren clutch and shoes. It’s likely that Markle will now begin to scale down her public appearances as she prepares for the arrival of her first child.
Prince Harry Couldn’t Make It
Prince Harry didn’t attend the baby shower as he had an important royal engagement in London , He spent the day visiting school children at Streatham Youth Center in South London to support the StreetGames Fit and Fed initiative, which aims to provide healthy food and free physical activities to kids during school holidays. The following day, the Duke of Sussex visited the Royal Marines to present newly-qualified recruits with green berets when they finished their final commando test.
Countdown To The Royal Baby
While the palace has only said that the baby is due in Spring of 2019, Markle apparently told some members of the public during a visit to Birkenhead in January that the baby’s due date is sometime around April . Emily Nash, a Hello! editor, tweeted the news, writing, “Meghan has told wellwishers in Birkenhead that she is six months pregnant — due end of April/beginning of May! Lots of baby chat today!”
It’s up to Markle how much maternity leave she takes, but like sister-in-law Kate, she will return to her royal duties only when she feels ready. Kate had two months of maternity leave after the birth of her first child, George, but took six months off following the arrival of Princess Charlotte and then a further seven months off when Prince Louis was born in April 2018.
Going Home To Prince Harry
After the baby shower, Markle was photographed leaving The Mark in a far more casual outfit than her earlier ensembles. She was dressed for the journey home to the U.K. with comfort in mind, wearing Adidas sneakers, leggings, a zip-up top and a Rectify baseball cap, and carrying a giant tote bag. Markle is now back in London, no doubt preparing for her next royal engagement, a short trip to Morocco with Prince Harry, starting on Feb. 24.
We Know There Were Cookies
After the baby shower, Markle’s friend Daniel Martin couldn’t resist sharing a picture of the sweet treats enjoyed by the guests: cookies in the shape of a baby rattle, a stork and a bib. Martin posted the image on his Instagram page with the simple caption, “Such an incredible day celebrating #babylove.”
The Baby Shower That Gave Back
Markle’s star-studded baby shower wasn’t just about celebrating. A New York charity called Repeat Roses, which recycles flowers to reduce waste and raise awareness of social issues, received the flower arrangements created by Markle and her guests at the lesson led by local company Lewis Miller Design.
According to Gayle King, it was Markle herself who requested that the arrangements be donated to the charity, which passes flowers onto facilities like hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, cancer treatment centers and domestic abuse and homeless shelters.
“I thought that was a very sweet thing,” King said on CBS This Morning. “It just speaks to who [Markle] is. She’s kind, she’s very generous. And a really, really sweet person.” Here’s an example of Lewis Miller Design’s work: