Meghan Markle has revealed she was six months pregnant and due to have her and Prince Harry's first baby in April.
Meghan thrilled crowds in the English town of Birkenhead today when she cradled her baby bump as she joined husband Prince Harry on their first official outing for the year.
The popular Duke and Duchess are for a series of engagements and were met by large number of wellwishers who clapped and cheered when they got a glimpse of the pair.
She told a member of the public how far into her pregnancy she was - something that has not been known until now. When Kensington Palace announced the royal baby last year - as the couple began their royal tour to Australia and New Zealand - the only detail given was that it would be in the northern Spring.
Meghan told one person in the crowd she was six months pregnant and another she was due at the end of April or the start of May.
She also revealed they didn't know if the baby was a boy or girl because they wanted a surprise.
The couple have only been seen in public a handful of times since their triumphant Pacific tour, and since a wave of negative publicity began about former actress Meghan.
The 37-year-old wore a purple Babaton dress by Aritizia, and a Sentaler coat. She held a Gabriela Heart bag and still managed a pair of high red stilettos despite being heavily pregnant.
Prince Harry, 34, put his arm around his wife as they were introduced to the welcoming party.
They were last seen in public on Christmas Day at Sandringham with other members of the royal family, including Prince William and Kate Middleton, who they are said to be feuding with.
If the royal baby is born in April it will share a birthday with Prince Louis, who was born on April 23, or even possibly the Queen who was born on April 21.
During their visit to Birkenhead the Duke and Duchess visited Hamilton Square where they inspected a new statue that marks the 100th anniversary of English poet and soldier Wilfred Owen's death.
The couple's walkabout was their first since their Pacific tour and they met the public, chatting and shaking hands, while Meghan received flowers.
Excited fans shouted "Meghan" as the royal pair unveiled a plaque, before they met local veterans and members of the Birkenhead Institute Old Boys, which Owen belonged to.
Harry gave a four-year-old in the crowd a hug after seeing her sign that said 'Gingers Unite - I love you Harry'.
"I love this, do you love your hair, this sign is amazing," he told the little girl.
They will also visit a number of community organisations including Tomorrow's Women Wirral, an organisation that supports women in vulnerable circumstances.
Meghan has been a vocal supporter of women's rights for several years, from the time she first shot to stardom as an actress on Suits.
Last week it was announced Meghan would become patron of Smart Works, which helps long-term unemployed and vulnerable women get back into employment, helping with interview coaching and mentoring, and providing work-ready clothing for them.
Animal lover Meghan will also become patron of Mayhew, a historic charity which teaches animal welfare and responsible pet ownership for young people, works to keep homeless people and their dogs together, and runs a pet refuge to care for pets when their owners are in crisis.
She also inherited patronages of the National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities from the Queen.
"The Duchess is delighted to become Patron of both national and grassroots organisations that are part of the fabric of the UK, and is very much looking forward to working with them to bring wider public attention to their causes,'' Kensington Palace said in a statement.
"Her Royal Highness feels she can use her position to focus attention on, and make a particular difference to these organisations and, more widely, the sectors they each represent.
Meghan has indicated she intends to work until late in her pregnancy.