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October 17, 2018 03:16 PM

The world heard the news of Meghan Markle’s pregnancy on Monday — but the royal family had a heads-up three days earlier.

As the extended family gathered at Windsor Castle to celebrate the wedding of Prince Harry’s cousin, Princess Eugenie, the parents-to-be couldn’t hold back their excitement.

Why use that occasion to spill the baby beans? “It was a happy family event, and that’s where happy news gets shared,” a close source tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story.

It’s likely they had already told Harry’s brother, Prince William, and father, Prince Charles, before the wedding. It is thought that Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland, was told in person when she attended the launch of her daughter’s charity cookbook last month.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at the wedding of Princess Eugenie.
OWEN HUMPHREYS/AFP/Getty Images

For much more on Meghan and Harry’s baby news and the royal wedding of Princess Eugenie, pick up a copy of this week’s PEOPLE, on newsstands on Friday.

Insiders say that baby buzz, which had started slowly in late summer, was only getting louder and that the couple felt it would be too difficult to keep the pregnancy under wraps during their 16-day tour Down Under.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry visit a farm in Dubbo, Australia, on Oct. 17.
Chris Jackson/Pool/Getty

By announcing the news before the tour, the couple has been free to talk openly about it — from accepting baby gifts to getting a sneak peek of what’s to come.

Getty

“That’s so cute, it’s our first baby gift!” Meghan said in PEOPLE’s Facebook Live video, as she received a fluffy stuffed kangaroo (complete with a baby joey!) and fleece Ugg booties during a reception in Sydney on Monday

At another reception later that day, Harry said, thanked Australia for the” incredibly warm welcome” they’d received and the “chance to meet Aussies from all walks of life.”

“We also genuinely couldn’t think of a better place to announce the, er, upcoming baby,” Harry said, looking over to Meghan. Appearing slightly nervous, Harry added, “whether it’s a boy or a girl.”

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