When it was announced on June 6, 2021—two days after her birth—that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s daughter was named Lilibet Diana, members of the royal family apparently found it “bewildering” and “rather presumptuous.” (Lilibet is the very, very personal childhood nickname of Queen Elizabeth; Diana, of course, pays homage to Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana.)
But, in his new book Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait, longtime royal expert Gyles Brandreth says the Queen herself had a different reaction: Her late Majesty said the name was “very pretty and seems just right.”
Lilibet, though called “Lili,” is a tribute to the Queen’s familial nickname, “which only very few people outside her immediate family used for her throughout her life,” The Sun reports.
“According to the Sussexes, Harry sought his grandmother’s permission to use her family nickname as the Christian name for her eleventh great-grandchild,” Brandreth writes. “The Queen’s recollection was a little different. According to the Queen, Harry told her the Sussexes wanted to call the baby ‘Lilibet’ in her honor and she accepted their choice with good grace, taking it as the compliment it was intended to be.”
But others in the family didn’t react so well, especially since Lili’s birth came just three months after Harry and Meghan’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey (and about a year and a half after their step back as working members of the royal family in January 2020).
“Others in the family found the choice ‘bewildering’ and ‘rather presumptuous,’ given that Lilibet as a name had always been intimately and exclusively the Queen’s,” Brandreth writes.
The Queen was finally able to meet her namesake as she turned a year old during Her late Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations this past June.
Her reaction to Lili’s name wasn’t the only time the Queen’s response to Harry and Meghan’s decisions was softer than other members of her family. The book details Her late Majesty and her husband Prince Philip’s differing reactions to the aforementioned Oprah interview, with Philip thinking it was “madness” while the Queen was “relaxed, dismissing it.”
Brandreth adds that the Queen was “devoted” to Harry and “she truly wished him well in his new life abroad.”
What a woman, indeed.
Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait hits shelves December 8.
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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