Archie and Lilibet Are Set Inherit Royal Titles. Will They?
Queen Elizabeth II’s Sept. 8 death altered the line of royal succession, prompting questions about what–if any–titles Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s children, Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1, will receive.
The two children, per a 1917 edict from King George V, are technically now a “prince” and “princess” because they are the grandchildren of the current monarch, King Charles III. But their parents stepped down as senior royals in Jan. 2020, leaving questions about whether the children receive the titles—and whether Meghan and Harry will want them to.
Their names were listed on the Royal Family website as Archie Harrison Mountbatten–Windsor, and Lilibet Mountbatten–Windsor.
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Meghan suggested 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 not being 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 a “letters patent” in 2012 that granted Prince William and Kate Middleton’s three children “prince” and “princess” titles. (Previously only the oldest of their sons would have received this title. But Meghan said the Royal Family decided not to give Archie a title or the designation of “His Royal Highness” before he was born.
Oprah asked Meghan if she would consider a title to her son, even though Prince Harry and Meghan are not accustomed to royal tradition for the last two years. But they could also opt out of having Archie and Lilibet inherit the titles altogether, following the footsteps of Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth II’s daughter, who declined titling her children in an effort to make their lives easier.
Last year, Meghan spoke candidly about her and her husband’s frustration over the lack of police protection that their children received. Extended members of the royal family do not receive funding for security protection, as part of an effort to limit taxpayer spending on royals, and having the title of “prince” and “princess” does not necessarily guarantee taxpayer-funded security.
Meghan suggested last year that Archie’s decision to not give him a title was due to his mixed race. She said that the title discussion began around the time that members of the Royal Family were expressing 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 concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.”) At the time, Winfrey asked Meghan in the interview if her son receiving a title was important to her.
“If it meant he was going to be safe, then of course,” Meghan said.
As King Charles III’s second-born son, Prince Harry and Meghan are unlikely to have their titles changed, likely remaining the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. They resigned in 2020 from their royal duties because of the media attention and intense pressure they felt. When they quit, the couple stopped using HRH designations.
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Others in the Royal Family received new titles this week. As the traditional title given to an heir apparent, Prince William was named Prince of Wales. He married Catherine, also known as Kate. She became the first Princess and Prince of Wales after 25 years. Camilla, who is the Queen Consort now, decided to not use that title after she married Charles, out of respect for Princess Diana.
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