It has been over three months since his reign began, and King Charles has reportedly still not decided whether Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s children, Archie and Lilibet, will be given permanent HRH stylings or be referred to as Prince or Princess—and, according to The Mirror, he is waiting until the release of Harry’s memoir, Spare, to make the call.
The tell-all will be released on January 10, just on the heels of Harry & Meghan, the eponymous six-part Netflix docuseries that certainly hasn’t done much to mend relations between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the new King. Until then, The Mirror reports, the monarch appears to remain undecided as to what to do about his grandchildren’s titles for the future.
After Her late Majesty died on September 8, the Sussex children not only moved up in the line of succession—Archie is currently sixth, and Lilibet seventh in line to the throne—but are also given a right to HRH status as grandchildren of the now-monarch. The children and grandchildren of the sovereign have an automatic right to the title HRH and Prince or Princess because of protocols created by King George V in 1917.
“Despite Harry and Meghan stepping away [as working members of the royal family in 2020], their children Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1, became a Prince and Princess when Queen Elizabeth II died in September,” The Mirror reports. But that doesn’t mean that Charles can’t “issue a Letters Patent to change Archie and Lilibet’s status if he decides to scrap their titles in line with his vision for a slimmed down monarchy.”
In a telling move, as of today, the royal family’s website has still not updated its line of succession to reflect Archie and Lilibet’s Prince and Princess titles, respectively. Archie is still listed as “Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor” and Lilibet is still “Miss Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor,” and, per The Mirror, “The Sunday Times understands that the monarch will not make a decision on if his grandchildren can use their royal titles and HRH stylings until after the release of Prince Harry’s forthcoming memoir.”
Harry’s book—the contents of which are basically totally unknown at this point—is 416 pages in length and written with ghostwriter J.R. Moehringer. Harry was paid $20 million in advance by Penguin Random House to tell his story.
As to what will happen with Archie and Lilibet’s titles, a source close to the King told The Sunday Times (per The Mirror), “Let’s wait and see. No final decisions have been made.” Buckingham Palace declined comment.
While the Sussex children’s titles potentially hang in the balance, Charles does at least seem keen to have the Sussexes at his coronation, to be held on May 6 at Westminster Abbey. According to The Mirror, “His Majesty is said to have told Harry and Meghan they are welcome to attend the event, as he does not want his coronation to be sidetracked by drama.”
“Harry is his son, and His Majesty will always love him,” a source tells The Daily Mail, per The Mirror. “While things are difficult at the moment, the door will always be left ajar.”
Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.
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