"It’s been the most amazing experience I could ever possibly imagine" Prince Harry said about becoming a dad
Becoming a dad was the fulfillment of a longtime dream for Prince Harry.
The Duke of Sussex, 34, welcomed his first child — a son, named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor — on Monday. And though it’s just been three days since he and wife Meghan Markle, 37, have been parents, it still feels like a bucket list moment.
“He has wanted this family life for a while, and he’s going to love it” a source close to the royal household tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “He’s always enthusiastic with children, and now he will have his own little world that he has dreamed of for a long time.”
Emma Forbes — a U.K. journalist whose father, filmmaker Bryan Forbes, had ties to the royal family — agrees. She predicts Harry’s longtime desire to be a dad mixed with his other personality traits will make him the perfect dad.
“Harry will be an incredible father,” she says. “He’ll be one of those fathers that gets the balance right between being hands-on and taking adventures. I could so see him traveling with a son at his side.”
As fans saw on Wednesday, Harry is already a hands-on dad. The royal held a bundled baby Archie in his arms, while he and Meghan introduced their newborn to the world at St. George’s Hall in Windsor Castle (the same place they had their royal wedding reception!).
When asked about parenting, Harry said: “It’s great. Parenting is amazing. It’s only been two and a half days, but we’re just so thrilled to have our own little bundle of joy.”
Wearing a white sleeveless trench dress, Meghan was glowing as she stood next to Harry. She said that Archie, “has the sweetest temperament. He’s really calm.”
Harry joked, “I don’t know where he gets that from!”
Harry had previously shared his baby joy hours after the birth on Monday, telling reporters: “It’s been the most amazing experience I could ever possibly imagine. How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension. But we’re both absolutely thrilled and so grateful to all the love and support from everybody out there. It’s been amazing, so we just wanted to share this with everybody.”
“I haven’t been to many births, this is definitely my first birth,” he continued. “It was amazing, absolutely incredible. As I said, I’m so incredibly proud of my wife. As every father and parent would ever say, your baby is absolutely amazing, but this little thing is absolutely to die for, so I’m just over the moon.”
He got a lot of love too, not just from the public but also from his family.
Queen Elizabeth, great-grandmother to the newborn, added her welcome to the newest member of the family in a statement from Buckingham Palace on Monday, adding that she was “delighted with the news.”
William said he was “absolutely thrilled” for his brother and sister-in-law, adding he was “looking forward to seeing them in the next few days when things have quieted down.”
“I’m very pleased and glad to welcome my brother to the sleep deprivation society that is parenting!” he joked.
Kate reflected on what it’s like to be a new parent. “It’s really exciting for both of them,” she told reporters on Tuesday. “These next few weeks, it’s always very daunting first time around so wish them all the best.”
The mother of three added that she’s experienced with having children this time of year (Prince Louis was born last year on April 23, while Princess Charlotte celebrated her fourth birthday on May 2).
“It’s such a special time – with Louis and Charlotte just having had their birthdays. It’s such a great time of the year to have a baby. Spring’s in the air, so it’s really great,” she said. “As William said, look forward to meeting him and finding out what his name’s going to be.”
Her questions were answered on Wednesday, when Harry and Meghan shared Baby Sussex’s name in a post on their Instagram account, @SussexRoyal, hours after his debut.
The black and white photo featured a photo of Meghan, Harry, Archie, Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, grandfather, Prince Harry, and Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland — all huddled around the child.
British oddsmakers had been predicting potential names ever seen the royal couple announced they were expecting their first child back in October. After the birth of their son on Monday, the top pick was Arthur. Coming in second for name predictions is James, which is followed by Philip (for great-grandfather Prince Philip) and Albert.