Harry and Meghan call daughter Princess Lilibet as they begin using titles
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have begun to use the titles prince and princess for their children Archie and Lilibet.
Harry and Meghan’s youngsters became a prince and princess when the King acceded to the throne, but have remained a plain “master” and “miss” on the Buckingham Palace website for the past six months.
The Palace confirmed the site’s line of succession list will now be updated to reflect the change after a spokesperson for the Sussexes publicly referred to Lili as a princess for the first time on Wednesday when announcing news of her christening.
It is understood the King was aware beforehand that the Sussexes intended to refer to their daughter as Princess Lili and that there had been correspondence about the matter.
Lili, who turns two in June, was baptised in California on Friday, with the couple’s spokesperson saying: “I can confirm that Princess Lilibet Diana was christened on Friday March 3 by the Archbishop of Los Angeles, the Rev John Taylor.”
It is understood the titles will be used in formal settings, but not in everyday conversational use by the couple, and this was the first opportunity to do so since the death of the late Queen.
Harry and Meghan are understood to be keen to not deny their children their birthright, but to allow them the chance to decide for themselves when they are older whether to drop or keep using them.
The Sussexes embraced the royal titles despite their repeated criticism of the monarchy, with Harry accusing his family of “total neglect” in the past and saying he suffered “genetic pain”.
The former soldier spoke about his own struggles with his title, saying in 2017 that the time he spent in the Army was the “best escape I ever had” because “I wasn’t a prince, I was just Harry”.
Royal commentator Emily Andrews tweeted: “The perennial question still remains; if being a royal is so traumatic, such a burden, carries so much inter-generational pain why would you want to style your kids prince and princess/keep your own royal titles….??”
The use of the titles has been disclosed just days after Harry and Meghan were asked to vacate their UK home Frogmore Cottage, a move sanctioned by the King, which further weakens the couple’s ties with Harry’s home country and the Windsors.
The past few months have seen huge turbulence in Harry and Meghan’s relationship with Charles and other members of the royal family.
Harry, who stepped down as a senior working royal in 2020 for a new life in the US, criticised his father’s parenting in his controversial autobiography Spare, accused the Prince of Wales of physically attacking him and said the Queen Consort sacrificed him on her own personal PR altar.
The duke and Meghan, in their bombshell six-part tell-all Netflix documentary series, also claimed Kensington Palace lied to protect William when it issued a statement denying a story he had bullied Harry out of the royal family.
The christening took place privately at the Sussexes’ home in California.
The celebration was an intimate affair with 20-30 people present including Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland and Lili’s godfather Tyler Perry, People magazine revealed.
Guests enjoyed an afternoon of food and dancing, with Archie even dancing with his sister.
US actor and comedian Perry arrived with a gospel choir who performed Oh Happy Day and This Little Light Of Mine – a song which featured during the Sussexes’ wedding, the magazine said.
It was reported that the King, Camilla, William and Kate were invited but did not attend.
Political activist Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu welcomed the christening, but criticised the King and William for not attending.
“I’m glad cutie, Princess Lilibet Diana, was surrounded by those who love & wish her well,” she tweeted
She praised Harry and Meghan for keeping the christening intimate, but added it was “shameful that King Charles & Prince William snubbed Lilibet”.
Bishop John Taylor, who performed the baptism, is a former newspaper reporter who was chief of staff for former US president Richard Nixon.
— Bishop John Harvey Taylor (@edlabishop) February 6, 2023
He is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles but is a Bishop rather than an Archbishop.
Title rules set out by King George V in 1917 mean Archie and Lili, as the children of a son of a sovereign, automatically became a prince and a princess when Charles became King.
They would also be entitled to an HRH style, but although Harry and Meghan retain their HRH styles, they no longer use them after quitting the working monarchy.
Meghan said in the couple’s interview with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey that Archie was not given the title of prince because of his race.
However, when Archie was born seventh in line to the throne in May 2019, he was too far down the line of succession.
Although he was a great-grandchild of the monarch, he was not a first-born son of a future king, so was not automatically a prince.
It was previously reported in 2021 that Charles, in a bid to limit the number of key royals, intended, when he became monarch, to prevent Archie becoming a prince.
To do so, he would have to issue a Letters Patent amending Archie’s right to be a prince and Lili’s right to be a princess.
The Sussexes have yet to confirm whether they will attend the King’s coronation in May, which falls on Archie’s fourth birthday.