Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Call Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet’s Titles Their “Birthright”

The announcement of their titles came six months to the day after King Charles ascended to the throne.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
(Image credit: Getty)

If last week in the royal universe was all about royal houses, this week it’s all about royal titles. For the first time, we saw Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s children Archie and Lilibet referred to as “Prince” and “Princess,” including an official update by Buckingham Palace early Thursday morning to the royal family’s website and its line of succession. (Prior to this week’s change to “Prince Archie of Sussex” and “Princess Lilibet of Sussex,” the two were referred to as “Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor” and “Miss Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor.”)

And, to avoid any question as to the change, Harry and Meghan wrote decisively in a statement “The children’s titles have been a birthright since their grandfather became monarch. This matter has been settled for some time in alignment with Buckingham Palace.”

According to Page Six, Archie and Lilibet were officially given the titles last year, before Christmas. Though it does appear the matter has been settled for some time, the first use of either of the Sussex children by their royal titles came when it was announced in a March 8 statement from Harry and Meghan’s spokesperson that “Princess Lilibet Diana” had been christened on March 3, the Friday prior. The next day, March 9, the royal family website was updated.

Though we are only now referring to Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet as such, technically Harry and Meghan are correct in saying that they have had a birthright to use said titles since September 8, when their grandfather King Charles ascended to the throne. (This is pursuant to a Letters Patent issued by King George V in 1917, which said that any child of a son of the monarch—which Archie and Lilibet are—are entitled to use the style “Prince” or “Princess,” as well as “His Royal Highness” or “Her Royal Highness.”) Even though this is true, it took six months to the day for anyone to publicly acknowledge the children by said titles. The royal family website was updated after Her late Majesty’s death, but only to reflect the new titles of Prince William’s family, not Harry’s.

“After the Queen died, updates were made to the royal website,” a Page Six source says, referring to William and Kate’s new titles of Prince and Princess of Wales (they were previously the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge). “Despite their birthright, Archie and Lilibet were not given their titles. If the titles had just been updated, along with everyone else, there would be no story.”

But, because they weren’t, rumors swirled that it was because of the ongoing rift between Charles and Harry.

A source speaking to The Mirror says that Harry and Meghan were “frustrated” that the Palace didn’t immediately recognize their children as Prince and Princess, telling the outlet “It’s no secret among their friends that Harry and Meghan were frustrated Buckingham Palace failed to immediately recognize Archie and Lilibet’s elevated status on its website. It was compounded further when the Prince and Princess of Wales’s titles, and those of their children, were swiftly changed following the Queen’s death in September.”

OK reports that Harry and Meghan “do not plan to use the titles in casual conversations or everyday life. It will only be used in formal situations.” Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet are sixth and seventh in line to the British throne, respectively. 

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.