One of the reasons Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped back from most royal responsibilities and left the country was to avoid much of the drama waiting for them back in England. However, the death of Queen Elizabeth II has created some drama back home that these royals can’t get away from.
The drama in question concerns which titles Harry and Meghan’s children, Archie and Lilibet, are and are not allowed to use. And this is a debate going back years that has been re-ignited following Elizabeth’s death.
But what titles can these children not use? Why is that so important, and how does it tie to other royal titles changing? Keep reading to find out!
The current titles for Archie and Lilibet
Following the Queen’s death, Archie and Lilibet should have been automatically granted new titles. Specifically, Archie became a prince and Lilibet became a princess.
We say “should have” because even though this process is supposed to happen on its own, there seems to be some question on whether the titles would be official. One source close to the matter told The Sun that “There have been a lot of talks over the past week. They have been insistent that Archie and Lilibet are prince and princess. They have been relentless since the queen died.”
The good news for Harry and Meghan is that King Charles is likely to anoint these titles, making them official. The bad news is there’s a certain title the kids can’t use, and it all goes back to Megxit.
One title the kids definitely cannot use
Right now, it looks like even though Archie and Lilibet may have prince and princess titles, respectively, neither will be able to call themselves His Royal Highness (HRH). That is also a particular title Harry and Meghan agreed to stop using once they stepped back from royal responsibilities two and a half years ago.
According to The Sun, even though Harry and Meghan were fine with foregoing those titles for themselves, they are “furious” that their children will be denied their use. At first glance, it would seem the Palace is reserving those titles for working royals, and that title doesn’t apply to Harry or Meghan, nor is it ever likely to apply to their children who are being raised in America.
However, as Harry and Meghan have bitterly pointed out, Beatrice and Eugenie are not working royals, but they have retained the right to use the HRH title. And the two American royals have another reason to be angry: in addition to being more than a bit insulting, keeping Archie and Lilibet from using the HRH titles might just put their lives in danger.
Meghan and Harry’s motivation for wanting these titles
It may seem odd that Harry and Meghan are upset about a specific title their children may or may not be able to use. According to The Sun, though, these parents are less interested in the pomp of the titles and more interested in protecting their children.
A source close to the matter said these protective parents see this as a security issue, especially when they make return trips to England. “Harry and Meghan were worried about the security issue and being prince and princess brings them the right to have certain levels of royal security,” the source said.
This makes sense, of course, and there have been spats over security arrangements for Harry and Meghan during previous trips to England. It seems likely, though, that this current fight is rooted in an older one.
Wounds opened over an old debate
The fight over proper security for Archie and Lilibet is an old one. The public first heard about it via Harry and Meghan’s bombshell 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey.
As The Hollywood Reporter points out, Meghan was frank over her concerns during the interview. “We were very scared having to offer up our baby, knowing they weren’t going to be kept safe. In those months when I was pregnant, all around the same time… we have in tandem the conversation of [whether] he won’t be given security, he’s not going to be given a title,” she confessed.
In that same interview, Meghan claimed that royal protocols were shuffled around to keep Archie from getting a title. While some critics were skeptical at the time, the current fight over titles for her children may be proving Meghan right.
Many royal titles changed after the Queen’s death
Archie and Lilibet aren’t the only royals whose titles are in flux. Following Queen Elizabeth’s death, many royals received new titles as their roles and responsibilities changed.
The most obvious change is that Prince Charles became King Charles III. And now, Prince William and Kate Middleton have inherited Charles’ old titles. That makes them now the Prince and Princess of Wales as well as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. William, himself the future King of England, also gained two fancy new titles: Duke of Rothesay in Scotland and the Earl of Carrick.
As for William and Kate’s children, they received titles, becoming Prince George of Wales, Princess Charlotte of Wales, and Prince Louis of Wales. Considering how much Harry is having to fight for his own children to receive certain royal titles, we can’t help but wonder if this will deepen the rift that has been steadily growing between the two brothers.