Some friends were caught off-guard too, at least by the timing.
“Her friends knew she was trying and that she wasn’t going to wait long because she’s older,” a source tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “But everyone was so surprised it happened so quickly.”
The couple’s office at Kensington Palace shared the happy news on Oct. 15 as their tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga was about to kick off.
“Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that the Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the spring of 2019,” Kensington Palace said.
For more on Meghan and Harry’s pregnancy news and the royal wedding of Princess Eugenie, pick up a copy of this week’s PEOPLE, on newsstands on Friday.
The 16-day tour, with more than a dozen flights and 75 appearances, will present its own challenges for Meghan.
“I think it is very brave [to have announced the pregnancy] ahead of one of the most grueling trips they will have to make,” a friend tells PEOPLE.
“The great thing is that [Meghan] is in the best possible hands,” the pal adds.