Meghan Markle is "incredibly relaxed" about her impending birth, despite apparently being as much as a week overdue.

According to The Daily Mail, The Duchess of Sussex is currently staying at Frogmore Cottage, her secluded home with Prince Harry near Windsor, as the country waits for news of the baby's arrival.

She is being kept company by her mother Doria Ragland and friends such as US television anchor Gayle King who pop in to check on her.

The royal baby is now thought to be as much as seven days overdue, and there are concerns the duchess, 37, may have to forgo her dreams of a natural home birth for an induced labour and hospital delivery.

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But sources insist the mother-to-be is "incredibly relaxed and positive" as the days tick by.

Unless nature takes its course soon, it is likely the duchess will have to give birth in hospital, of which Frimley Park in Surrey, 15 miles away, is the nearest.

Induction is usually offered to women who have not gone into labour seven to ten days after the due date, although if mother and baby are "well and fit" it may be left as late as two weeks.

Contractions are triggered by physical manipulation or drugs – and once they begin there is no chance of a home birth as it is against national guidelines.

The Daily Mail revealed last month that the duchess was keen to follow in the Queen's footsteps by having a midwife-led birth at Frogmore Cottage.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey.

The Queen was born at the Mayfair home of her grandparents and gave birth to her four children at either Buckingham Palace or Clarence House.

The duchess has reportedly appointed her own delivery team to oversee the birth, led by a female doctor, instead of Royal Household gynaecologists Alan Farthing and Guy Thorpe-Beeston.

In a formal announcement last month, Harry and Meghan said they planned to keep arrangements for the birth of their baby private.

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Buckingham Palace will announce when the duchess goes into labour but provide no further details until the baby has been born.

Unlike the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, the couple will not make a public appearance to show their new arrival to fans and the media – and will be "celebrating privately as a new family" as a first priority.

It is understood photographs of the baby, who will be seventh in line to the throne, will be issued to the public when he or she is a few days old.

Prince Harry has cancelled part of a two-day visit to Holland this week, increasing speculation the baby will arrive imminently.

The couple announced their pregnancy to family and friends at Princess Eugenie's wedding in October. Last month they had a three-night "babymoon" at Heckfield Place, a five-star Georgian manor house in Hampshire.

NHS figures show one in five labours are induced in the UK every year. They are usually planned in advance and the final decision rests with the mother.

But they are not always successful and a mum-to-be may be offered another induction or a caesarean section.

Bookies have slashed odds on the royal couple naming their first child Ivy if they have a girl following a flurry of last-minute bets.

Ivy has emerged a firm favourite, with Paddy Power odds standing at 6/4 last night. Other top contenders for girls' names include Diana at 11/2, Allegra at 6/1 and Grace at 7/1.

A spokesman for Paddy Power said: "Ivy wasn't remotely in contention until Friday. Since then, it's emerged as the clear favourite after a substantial run of bets."

However, there is already an important Ivy in Meghan's life. Her best friend Jessica Mulroney has a daughter called Ivy, who was a bridesmaid at the royal wedding.

In a vibrant fuchsia coat and matching plumed hat, could the Queen's choice of outfit be a not-so subtle hint about the sex of her future great-grandchild?

Her Majesty had tongues wagging yesterday after she was pictured wearing the bright pink ensemble on her way to a church service at The Royal Chapel of All Saints at Windsor Castle.

Completing the look with pearl earrings, a matching pearl necklace and a dab of mauve lipstick, the monarch appeared to be travelling without her seatbelt as she was chauffeured to the church.

She was photographed as royal fans eagerly awaited news of the birth of what will be the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's first child.

Prince Harry and Meghan have previously said that they would be "thrilled" to have a boy or girl – but the odds from bookmaker William Hill are more in favour of the couple having a baby girl.