Ever since Harry and Meghan made their Exodus to the states and broke with royalty, people have had very strong opinions about them and their decisions. Books have been written and sold, miniseries have been filmed, interviews have been shared — and none of them seem to change anyone’s mind, just fan the already-present flames of opinion.
But in a — to some, surprising — update from the royal website, Harry and Meghan’s children have officially been recognized with the formal titles “prince” and “princess,” despite their parents’ eschewing of most formal titles and duties for themselves.
Rumors have flitted back and forth on whether or not the couple would accept formal titles for Archie and Lilibet, but on Wednesday the news broke that they had, in conjunction with the christening of their youngest.
“I can confirm that Princess Lilibet Diana was christened on Friday, March 3 by the Archbishop of Los Angeles, the Rev. John Taylor,” one of the couple’s representatives said, according to Reuters.
The titles were not up for discussion prior to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, as current British royal protocol does not allow for great-grandchildren to receive the title “prince” or “princess,” but ever since Charles took the throne, they were one step closer as male-line grandchildren of the monarch, and could take on the title if they (or their parents) pleased.
“The children’s titles have been a birthright since their grandfather became monarch,” a representative for Harry and Meghan said, according to People. “This matter has been settled for some time in alignment with Buckingham Palace.”
The rules for British protocol are many and complicated, but it was King George V who formalized offering the title of prince or princess to male-line grandchildren of the ruling sovereign in 1917.
Prince William and Duchess Kate’s children, however, were allowed to take on the titles of princes and princess because they were children of Charles’ eldest male heir (Prince William).
The Royal website updated Archie and Lilibet’s names on its webpage Thursday morning.
According to People, the two were previously listed as “Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor” and “Miss Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor,” but are now listed as “Prince Archie of Sussex” and “Princess Lilibet of Sussex.”
The two children are now named as number 6 and 7 in the line of succession. Ahead of them are “The Prince of Wales,” “Prince George of Wales,” “Princess Charlotte of Wales,” “Prince Louis of Wales,” and “The Duke of Sussex” (who still has a right to the throne despite giving up his official title and duties).
The titles are not static, though, and if Charles wanted, he could revoke them at any time — which is not so difficult to imagine, given the strife the children’s parents have caused (and, it seems, continue to cause).
King Charles recently asked Harry and Meghan to leave their home, Frogmore Cottage, which suggests that the tension within the family is still alive and well, along with sources saying that the couple will not be allowed to stand with the royal family at Charles’ coronation in May if they even decide to attend.
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