Lilibet and Archie’s titles aren’t a part of Buckingham Palace’s website yet, but that will reportedly “be updated in due course.”
Prince Harry and Meghan are always in the news. This time, they announced the christening of their year-old daughter, Lilibet Diana, on March 8th. A statement sent to the media called Lilibet, a "princess" and it revealed that the couple plans to use royal titles for their children. As per the British royal protocol, both Lilibet and Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, the couple’s 3-year-old son, are entitled to the titles of princess and prince as grandchildren of the sitting UK monarch. The children were eligible for the titles since Charles became king after Queen Elizabeth II’s death in September.
People born into senior positions in the Royal Family are automatically given titles. In 1917, King George V decreed that “the grandchildren of any such sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of dukes of these our realms.” According to TIME, Queen Elizabeth II updated the rule in 2012 to make all the children of Prince William and Kate Middleton “princes and princess,” because only Prince George had initially inherited the title as the eldest great-grandson.
Given, Harry and Meghan's strained relationship with the Royal Family, there was speculation about whether the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's children would receive the titles or not. When Archie was christened in 2019, he had not received a royal title, but the reasons for it were unclear. Observers speculated it was part of the couple’s planned departure from royal life, but Markle, a bi-racial American, told Oprah Winfrey in 2021 that a title was denied because of racism. The Palace denied such allegations and said that not affixing a royal title to Archie was “protocol.”
After the Queen's death in September 2022, the titles of Lilibet and Archie came under speculation as King Charles became the British monarch. By December 2022, King Charles was still reportedly unsure whether to confer the titles of Prince and Princess to Archie and Lilibet, especially after Harry and Meghan’s series on Netflix released in December and the then-pending release of Harry’s tell-all memoir, Spare. Lilibet and Archie’s titles aren’t a part of Buckingham Palace’s website yet, but that will reportedly “be updated in due course.” Charles as the monarch has the power to revoke these titles.
Giselle Bastin, a UK royal expert at Flinders University in Adelaide, says that parents of eligible royal children have the final say on how and whether their children use a title. As for why now, Bastin told TIME, “William’s and Catherine’s children have always been known by their Prince and Princess titles, and Harry may think its time that his children enjoy the same birthright.”
As for her baptism, Lilibet was baptized by the Archbishop of Los Angeles on March 3rd, as per a spokesperson to the couple. As per PEOPLE, Harry and Meghan invited King Charles, Queen Consort Camilla, as well as Prince William and Kate Middleton—the Prince and Princess of Wales. They did not attend.
In this long saga of strained royal relationships, the news of Harry and Meghan's decision to use royal titles for their children is an interesting development.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Toby Melville