Meghan Markle attacks tabloids after speculation over birth certificate

Robert Mendick
·4-min read
Meghan Markle (right) says changing of her name on Archie's birth certificate (left) was 'dictated' by Buckingham Palace
Meghan Markle (right) says changing of her name on Archie's birth certificate (left) was 'dictated' by Buckingham Palace

The Duchess of Sussex said on Sunday the changing of her name on her child’s birth certificate was "dictated" by Buckingham Palace as she launched another tirade against tabloid newspapers.

It emerged on Sunday that the Duchess’s given first names "Rachel Meghan" were removed from son Archie’s birth certificate in June 2019, a month after he was born.

The Duchess said it was "offensive" to suggest she had wanted to be "nameless" on her own child’s birth certificate.

On the original certificate, registered on May 17 2019, the Duchess gave her name as "Rachel Meghan Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex".

Watch: Meghan Markle breaks her silence on Archie’s birth certificate change

But 19 days later on June 5, the Royal couple submitted alterations to both their names.

The Duchess's name was "corrected" to merely read "Her Royal Highness Duchess of Sussex".

Prince Harry’s name was also changed to insert the word "Prince" which had been left out of the original.

The alteration prompted speculation over why the birth certificate was altered.

That in turn led to the Duchess, who now lives in California with Prince Harry and their son, issuing an astonishing attack on tabloids "and their carnival of so-called experts".

She said the change was forced on the couple by Buckingham Palace officials.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor - Dominic Lipinski/PA
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor - Dominic Lipinski/PA

A spokeswoman for the Duchess said: "The change of name on public documents in 2019 was dictated by The Palace, as confirmed by documents from senior Palace officials. This was not requested by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex nor by The Duke of Sussex.

"To see this UK tabloid and their carnival of so-called 'experts' chose to deceptively whip this into a calculated family 'snub' and suggest that she would oddly want to be nameless on her child’s birth certificate, or any other legal document, would be laughable were it not offensive.

"There’s a lot going on in the world - let’s focus on that rather than creating clickbait."

It remains unclear why the certificate was altered.

The Duchess of Cambridge gives her name as "Catherine Elizabeth her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge" on her children’s birth certificates.

In contrast, Diana, Princess of Wales, simply gave her name as "Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales" on Prince William’s birth certificate.

On Sunday, Buckingham Palace sources suggested that a "clerical error and nothing more than that" was to blame for the alteration to Archie’s certificate.

The Telegraph understands that the Duchess of Sussex altered all her official documents - including her US passport - following her marriage.

In some cases she remains "Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex" such as on the Archewell audio podcast following a deal signed with Spotify.

Adding to the complexity, although still entitled to call herself Her Royal Highness, part of the agreement after so-called Megxit when the couple left to the US, they agreed not to actually use the HRH titles.

Lady Colin Campbell, a Royal author who spotted the amendment, had told the Sun on Sunday newspaper: "It is extraordinary and raises all kinds of questions about what the Sussexes were thinking."

Michael Rhodes, editor of Peerage News blog and an authority on Royal naming convention, told The Telegraph that Royal birth certificates had varied over the years with regards to the "title and style of the mother’s name".

Mr Rhodes said: "It's not set in stone. However, I fail to see why Archie's certificate required any alterations. No status is changed because of it.

"Meghan became HRH The Duchess of Sussex upon marriage and remains so. The inclusion of maternal christian names however is required for non royal birth certs."

Watch: Prince Harry Is Setting the Record Straight on Whether He and Meghan Markle Will Return

Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, said: "As far as I know this is unprecedented. But why it has been done is a bit of a mystery."

Christopher Wilson, a Royal historian and author, said he too was baffled. "It is a peculiar thing to do," he said.

The official erasure of "Rachel" and "Markle" comes at a time when she is caught up in a legal battle with a tabloid newspaper involving her estranged father Thomas Markle.

The Duchess is suing the Mail on Sunday for publishing extracts of a letter to her father following her wedding which he failed to attend. Mr Markle will testify as a witness for the Mail on Sunday.

The Duchess was born "Rachel Meghan Markle" in California - the name that was read out when she married Prince Harry at a ceremony at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle broadcast around the globe.

It is thought she ditched Rachel after embarking on her acting career as Meghan Markle.

The birth of Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor has not been without controversy.

The couple refused to say at first where the child was born.

It was claimed the Duchess had hoped for a home birth but the child was delivered at the Portland Hospital, a private hospital in central London.