Meghan 'took it personally' when Charles discussed whether Archie would be a prince

·Royal Correspondent
·4-min read

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Prince Charles's "mildly obsessive desire" to have a "slimmed-down monarchy" could be where it went wrong in his relationship with his younger son, a royal author has suggested.

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle moved to the US in March 2020 having been unable to negotiate a model of making their own money while carrying out some royal duties for the Queen, a proposal they suggested in a shock statement back in January 2020.

Since that announcement, Harry's relationship has appeared particularly strained with his father Charles, and a biographer has suggested the breakdown began because of Charles focus on slimming down the monarchy, at the expense of his own grandchildren.

Robert Lacey, consultant on The Crown and royal author, said the Prince of Wales's "mildly obsessive" desire to reduce the number of people who used the HRH title, which stands for His or Her Royal Highness, could have driven a wedge between him and his son.

Current convention means any grandchildren of the monarch are entitled to use an HRH and be known as a prince or princess, alongside any other title they may be given. 

It means Archie and Lilibet would be able to be known by those royal titles once Charles is on the throne.

(L-R) Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge sit inside Westminster Abbey as they attend the annual Commonwealth Service in London on March 9, 2020. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Phil HARRIS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PHIL HARRIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
It's long been suggested Charles wants to see a smaller set of working royals when he is king. Here with the Queen, Camilla, William and Kate in March 2020. (AFP)

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Meghan, 39, suggested in the interview she and Harry carried out with Oprah Winfrey that there were plans to change that convention before Archie's birth.

She suggested the idea of changing the convention was linked to conversations had with Harry while she was pregnant about what colour the baby's skin would be.

However, confusion was sparked when in the same interview Harry said the conversations about the skin colour of his future children happened "right at the beginning" of his relationship with the former actor, not when she was pregnant.

Lacey wrote in his updated edition of his book Battle of Brothers: "Nobody had had 'conversations' with Meghan about Archie while she was pregnant, nor asked her 'how dark his skin might be when he is born'. She made that up — though that is not to say that it did not matter."

He added: "Meghan seemed to suffer from the same confusion when it came to Archie — no title, no security — and in this context, of course, it seemed to her particularly unfair, and even life-threatening, that Archie’s title and status should apparently be a matter of his skin colour." 

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 25: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and their baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe 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 Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Meghan appeared to be concerned that Archie's skin colour would affect his HRH status. (WireImage)

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In an extract in The Times, Lacey added: "In pursuing his own cause of the slimmed-down monarchy, Prince Charles had been making noises about limiting the number of HRHs created by George V’s 1917 convention still further, thus cutting out Archie from his future prince-ship — and Meghan took that personally. 

"Declining to accept that this might be for reasons of modernisation or to save money, she came to believe it was because of the colour of Archie’s skin — and she explained to Oprah why this worried her. It was partly a matter of Archie’s title and status, but it was also because of 'the safety and [physical] protection' that went with Archie being called a prince."

Lacey said it was "no wonder" that Meghan "cried foul" during the interview, because "Charles already had three HRH grandchildren, but had seemed ready to get the rules changed in order to deny HRH status to his two mixed-race grandchildren by Harry and Meghan".

Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (2R) talks with Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (R) as Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, (L) talks with Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, (2L) as they all attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019. - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Pohle / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read RICHARD POHLE/AFP via Getty Images)
Robert Lacey said it was no wonder that Meghan cried foul at the suggestion of no princely title for her son. Charles, Meghan, Harry and William here in March 2019. (AFP)

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Charles, 72, is long said to have plans to slim down the monarchy, reducing the number of people who carry out royal duties and thereby saving money.

His mother, the Queen, had to draft in many of her cousins when she was a young monarch because of a shortage of royal workers.

However all four of her children have at some point carried out royal duties, while William and his wife Kate are also full time working royals, and Harry and Meghan were for a time too.

Charles was also revealed to be planning to open up the palaces for more of the year when he is king, according to The Sunday Times.

In May, the paper reported that the heir to the throne wanted Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Clarence House, Sandringham and Balmoral to be transformed from "private places to public spaces".

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