Queen Elizabeth II’s death on Sept. 8 changed the line of royal succession, prompting questions about what titles — if any — Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s children, Archie, 3, and Lilibeth, 1, will receive.
The two children, according to a 1917 decree of King George V, are now technically a “prince” and “princess” because they are grandchildren of the current monarch, King Charles III. But their parents withdrew as senior members of the royal family in january 2020leaving questions about whether the children get the titles – and whether Meghan and Harry will want them.
As of 10 September, their names were still listed on the royal family’s website as Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor and Lilibeth Mountbatten-Windsor.
Meghan proposed last year in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that the royal family had discussed changing the convention for Archie, expressing concern that “the first member of color in this family is not titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be.”
“I heard a lot of it through Harry … it was a decision they felt was appropriate,” Meghan said at the time.
Meghan also noted that Queen Elizabeth II issued “letters patent” in 2012 that gave Prince William and Kate Middleton’s three children the titles of “prince” and “princess.” (Previously only theirs the eldest son would receive the title.) But Meghan said the royal family had decided not to give Archie a title or title of “His Royal Highness” before he was born.
Although Prince Harry and Meghan distanced themselves from royal traditions Meghan has told Oprah for the past two years that she’s open to a title for her son if it gives him security. But they could also opt out of Archie and Lilibeth inheriting the titles entirely, following in the footsteps of Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth II’s daughter, who refused to give titles to her children in a bid to make their lives easier.
Last year, Meghan spoke candidly about her and her husband’s frustration with lack of police protection which their children received. Extended members of the royal family do not receive security funding as part of efforts to limit taxpayer spending on the royals, and the title of “prince” and “princess” does not necessarily guarantee taxpayer-funded security.
Last year, Meghan theorized that the decision not to give Archie a title after his birth was because of his mixed race. She said the discussion about the title began at a time when members of the royal family expressed concern about how dark Archie’s skin might be. (After the interview, Queen Elizabeth II issued a statement that read: “The issues raised, particularly that of race, are troubling. Although some memories may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family personally.”) On Poe that time Winfrey asked Megan in the interview if her son getting a title was important to her.
“If it meant he’d be safe, of course,” Megan said.
As the second-born son of King Charles III, Prince Harry and Meghan are unlikely to change their titles and will likely remain the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The couple stepped down from their royal duties in 2020 in response to the intense pressure and media scrutiny they said they faced. They stopped using their HRH designations when they resigned.
Other members of the royal family received new titles this week. Prince William, who is now next in line to be king, was given the title Prince of Wales, the title traditionally given to their heir apparent. His wife Catherine, better known as Kate, became the first Princess of Wales in 25 years. Camilla, now Queen Consortdeclined to use the title when she married Charles out of respect for the late Princess Diana.
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