It looks like baby Archie will not be a "Prince"
The royal baby has finally arrived, we have seen the first delightful photos of him and we now know his full name – Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. But one important question still remains, does the baby have a royal title or not?
While Archie's first cousins – George, Charlotte, and Louis – all have the royal titles of "Prince" or "Princess", it seems as though the new royal baby does not. In fact, as royal correspondents have been saying, Baby Sussex will be identified simply as "Master Archie".
ARCHIE IS SUPPOSED TO TAKE ON HIS DAD’S EARLDOM
Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was born on Monday, May 6, and is entitled to be the Earl of Dumbarton. However, when the Duke of Sussex (Prince Harry) and the Duchess of Sussex (Meghan Markle) finally announced the royal baby’s name on Wednesday, there was no honorary title in sight.
Archie, who was first presented to the public on Wednesday, is technically supposed to take on his dad’s earldom, according to Marlene Koenig, an author, and specialist on British and European royalty. If the palace affirms that Archie will not be recognized as an earl, it implies one thing: The Duke and Duchess wanted it that way. “This is just their attitude that they want a normal life for their children,” Koenig tells TIME.
If he is to be identified as just Archie, and not Archie, Earl of Dumbarton — which is Prince Harry’s subsidiary (honorary) title — it is another sign that his parents are going to keep the family’s privacy.
HE MIGHT NEVER HAVE ROYAL ENGAGEMENTS
Now the closest to the throne in the male line without a title, it is likely that Archie, who is 7th in line to the crown, will never have royal engagements, responsibilities or patronages, Koenig says. Although Queen Elizabeth II is the matriarch and head of the family, this was not her decision.
“The Queen might not like it, but she is pretty fair about what her family wants to do. She understands that [Harry and Meghan] will want to have a much more normal life,” Koenig says.
It is not the Sussexes first move for privacy. In April, after months of speculations on where Meghan Markle would give birth—common guesses included a home-birth at Frogmore Cottage or Frimley Hospital in Surrey—the public was informed the birth plan would be kept private.
“Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private. The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family,”
reads a statement by the royal family. Days later, the royal family is yet to share with eager royal followers where the Duchess chose to give birth.
Katie Nicholl, the author of 'Harry and Meghan: Life, Loss and Love', says the absence of a royal title “speaks volumes for the future they have planned,” but is also in no way a surprise. She continued by saying that Duchess’ American citizenship has, for its part, already delivered a positive impact on the monarchy.
“The marriage in itself signals a change in so many ways. We’ve seen them re-write the royal script, and I don’t see that ending as they become parents,” Nicholl tells TIME.
HARRY AND MEGHAN WANT PRIVACY AND NORMAL LIFE FOR ARCHIE
But we cannot pin it all on Meghan, who has used her global stage to raise her voice concerning feminism. Prince Harry has always made it clear that he planned for his kids’ privacy, even while he was just dating Meghan. In a 2017 conversation with Newsweek, he said that he even preferred to do his own grocery shopping. “I am determined to have a relatively normal life,” he said, “and if I am lucky enough to have children, they can have one too.”
Though Archie has only just arrived, the stage is now set for his life as a royal away from the public eye. “You are going to see them on the balcony and things like that, but they are going to be encouraged to have their own lives,” Marlene Koenig says, though it is expected that the Sussex babies will “follow in their parents footsteps” through philanthropic work—something both Harry and Meghan have been passionate about in their work.
ARCHIE IS NOT THE FIRST ROYAL BABY TO NOT HAVE A TITLE
From a historical viewpoint, Marlene, who has been researching the monarchy for decades, feels it is “disappointing” that the grandson of a future king (Prince Charles) won't have a royal title of any kind. But this decision is not unprecedented.
Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth’s daughter, decided for her kids not to hold the titles they could have had, Nicholl explains. Zara and Peter Phillips, her kids with her first husband, Mark Phillips, have no royal titles at all. In royal press statements, their names are styled as any other commoners’.
THE MONARCHY HAS BEEN PUSHING TO BE SMALLER
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s apparent choice to keep Archie as a more private royal is also something the monarchy has really been moving toward. In the 1990s, there was a significant push for a smaller monarchy, Marlene says, and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York—the daughters of Queen Elizabeth’s second son, Prince Andrew—became “the first blood princess to not be working royals.”
Nevertheless, despite his lack of title, Archie will always be entitled to the earldom. And when Prince Harry transfers his title at his death, Archie, holding the position of the first-born son, will automatically become the Duke of Sussex. Yet, that ruling could change when Prince Charles—often recognized as a royal in favor of maintaining a small monarchy—becomes king, Koenig says.
As with all royals, the world is waiting to see what they do with their positions—whether Archie’s name is styled as an earl or not. What do you think about Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor not being given a royal title? And what's your take on Harry and Meghan wanting a normal life without royal duties for their son? Tell us in the comments section and please share this article with other fans of the royal family.