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It's a boy! Meghan Markle and Prince Harry welcome royal baby

It's a boy!
/ Source: TODAY

The royal family just got a little bigger.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their first child, a 7-pound, 3-ounce boy, at 5:26 a.m. Monday. Prince Harry was by his wife's side.

"I'm very excited to announce that Meghan and myself had a baby boy this morning, a very healthy baby boy," Harry said Monday, when he surprised reporters to share the news from outside his home in Windsor. "It's been the most amazing experience I can ever possibly imagine ... This little thing is absolutely to die for."

The couple has not settled on a name yet, he added.

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Before announcing the birth to the public, the duke and duchess shared the news not only with Harry's immediate family and his grandmother, the queen, but also with the three siblings of his late mother, Prince Diana.

After weeks of rumors saying that Meghan could have a home birth, it still is unclear whether the baby was born at home or in a hospital. But the statement from Buckingham Palace does say the royal couple and their new baby are at their home, Frogmore Cottage, along with the duchess's mother, Doria Ragland.

The announcement adhered to the couple's intent to keep details around the baby's arrival under tight wraps. A statement released by the palace earlier last month cautioned that Harry and Meghan planned to share news about the birth only "once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family."

The baby's arrival caps an eventful year for the duke and duchess, who are about to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.

The couple tied the knot last year on May 19 in a ceremony watched around the world. Five months later, Kensington Palace delighted royal fans when it announced that Meghan was pregnant with her first child.

The new baby is the eighth great-grandchild for Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in British history.

The new royal baby now becomes the seventh in line to the throne, behind his father; three cousins, Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 3, and Prince Louis, who just celebrated his first birthday; Harry's brother, Prince William; and the baby's grandfather, Prince Charles.

News about the impending addition for Harry, 34, and Meghan, 37, broke last October as the couple began their first official trip abroad, a two-week royal tour through Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

Meghan's growing belly, or what Harry soon called "our little bump," became the center of attention at every public excursion. Nearly every cradle of Meghan's stomach became news. At one point, rumors spread quickly that the duchess was expecting twins.

Becoming parents is the latest milestone for Harry and Meghan, who met in July 2016 on a blind date set up by a mutual friend. The prince proposed to the California-born actress a year later during a "cozy" night roasting a chicken inside his Kensington Palace cottage. The pair kept their engagement under wraps until Kensington Palace made it public a few weeks later.

Meghan Markle
The Duchess of Sussex waves to well-wishers as she leaves an animal welfare charity in January. WireImage

The couple exchanged their wedding vows the following spring on the grounds of Windsor Castle, inside St. George's Chapel. The Windsor estate also houses Frogmore Cottage, a two-story residence that recently became Harry and Meghan's home.

The pair had previously lived in Nottingham Cottage, a two-bedroom apartment on the grounds of Kensington Palace.

The couple's wedding marked the first time an American has married a British royal since King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in December 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced socialite.

Because Meghan is a native-born U.S. citizen — she was born and raised in California — the baby is automatically considered an American, according to U.S. law. But the child also is considered a British citizen, thanks to Harry, according to the U.K. government. It remains to be seen whether the child will eventually hold dual citizenship, especially as Meghan works her way toward becoming a citizen of the U.K.