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Whose decision was it for Archie and Lilibet to be called a prince and princess?

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - MAY 08: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose with their newborn son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle on May 8, 2019 in Windsor, England. The Duchess of Sussex gave birth at 05:26 on Monday 06 May, 2019. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
It was reported upon Archie's birth that the couple had chosen not to give him a title, but Meghan disputed this in her 2021 sit down with Oprah. (Getty Images)

What's happening? Harry and Meghan’s two children, Archie and Lilibet, are now using their titles of Prince and Princess.

They automatically came into the title when King Charles took the throne last September due to a letters patent from 1917, though Lilibet’s christening was the first time she has been referred to as a 'princess'.

A statement from the couple on Wednesday night said: “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.”

There has been much speculation as to what, if any, title the Sussex children would use. During their controversial interview with Oprah in 2021, Meghan said it was not the couple’s “decision to make”.

While she insisted the “grandeur” associated with titles wasn’t important, she said she was worried Archie, who was nearly two at the time, might not be guaranteed security without one.

She also said she was concerned at the “idea of the first member of colour in this family not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be”.

The titles, which have been added to the official Royal Family website, have attracted a lot of discussion. Yahoo UK explains what's being said about the move, and why there's so much speculation about whose decision it was.

The updated line of succession with Archie and Lilibet's new titles on the official Royal Family website. (Royal.uk)
The updated line of succession with Archie and Lilibet's new titles on the official Royal Family website. (Royal.uk)

'In line with precedent'

In an exclusive published earlier on Thursday, Hello! magazine said that the decision of titles for the Sussex children was made before Harry's memoir Spare was released, jointly with the palace.

"The issue was resolved was resolved between both sides before the new year", the report said, as well as confirming the title of prince and princess will only be used for formal occasions.

Chris Ship for ITV noted that Buckingham Palace said the "Lilibet’s title [is] in line with the 1917 precedent created by letters patent issued by George V [...] Means the Sussex’s children have been able to use them since King’s accession.

The letters patent created in 1917, which Ship referenced, conferred the style of prince or princess on all male-line grandchildren of the sovereign.

Newsweek have noted that "Charles' monarchy appears to be offering an olive branch" to the Sussexes with the titles.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been converted to black and white) Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend The Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House on March 05, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
When Archie and Lilibet were first born - and before Queen Elizabeth died - they didn't have a title, instead were simply called 'Master' and 'Miss'. (Getty Images)

Was it Harry and Meghan's decision?

Some reports have framed the decision to use the titles of Prince and Princess for the children as being Meghan and Harry's.

TMZ said the couple "have now made their heart's desire clear — they want their kids to be recognised as tied to the throne" and King Charles is "honouring" this wish.

Richard Palmer, the royal correspondent for the Daily Express, tweeted that: "The palace will respect the wishes of the Sussexes and call Archie and Lilibet Prince and Princess now that the Sussexes have expressed a preference."

Daily Mail diary editor Richard Eden said it was "fascinating" the couple had chosen to use the title Princess in their daughter's christening announcement.

"It's fascinating that Prince Harry and Meghan's spokesman is using the title 'Princess' for Lilibet. My understanding was that King Charles needed to issue letters patent before they were allowed to do so. Has His Majesty done this?"

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 25: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and their baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor at a meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation during their royal tour of South Africa on September 25, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Toby Melville - Pool/Getty Images)
In formal settings, Harry and Meghan's children Archie and Lilibet will be referred to as prince and princess. (Getty Images)

'Laughable hypocrisy'

Since revealing they will be using the titles in formal settings, Meghan and Harry have inevitably attracted some criticism.

Piers Morgan – not their biggest fan – called it "laughable hypocrisy". He tweeted: "Imagine spending years trashing the royals as a bunch of cruel privileged racists trapped in a terrible prison of an institution – and then demanding to call your daughter ‘Princess’? Even by Meghan & Harry standards, just laughable hypocrisy."

Dan Wootton also criticised the use of titles, calling it "baffling", saying: "They hate everything about the institution of the monarchy and are trying to bring it down, yet still want to push it on their very Californian daughter."

Jan Moir writing for Mail Plus, said that despite wishing "this tiny little girl all the best in life", Meghan and Harry wanted to "cling on to the titles and the prestige the way a limpet clings on to the teak hull of a royal yacht".

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex on the long Walk at Windsor Castle arrive to view flowers and tributes to HM Queen Elizabeth on September 10, 2022 in Windsor, England. Crowds have gathered and tributes left at the gates of Windsor Castle to Queen Elizabeth II, who died at Balmoral Castle on 8 September, 2022. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Although Harry and Meghan haven't seen the Royal Family since Queen Elizabeth's funeral, it is reported that they decided alongside the King about the titles around new year. (Getty Images)

'Better late than never'

It isn't all criticism, however. Omid Scobie — writing for Harpers Bazaar — called it "better late than never" when reporting on the official update to the line of succession on the Royal Family's website which will reflect the titles that Archie and Lilibet have had a right to use since September.

Buckingham Palace to Update Sussex Children’s Titles (Harpers Bazaar, 3 min)

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