Why There Have Been Arguments Over Titles for Archie and Lilibet Behind the Scenes

·3-min read

Although Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's two children may be entitled to royal titles after King Charles became monarch under a 1917 rule, no name changes have been announced for Archie Harrison and Lilibet Diana.

Following Queen Elizabeth's death on September 8, her eldest son Charles became King and announced that his wife Camilla would be his Queen Consort. He also said that his son Prince William and daughter-in-law Kate Middleton would inherit the titles of Prince and Princess of Wales. The royal family's website was updated to reflect these changes, but Prince Harry and Meghan's children were still referred to as "Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor" and "Miss Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor."

Behind the scenes, there have been arguments over titles for Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1.

Under current guidelines, grandchildren of a monarch could be princes or princesses. A rule established by King George V after he issued a Letters Patent in 1917 read: "…the grandchildren of the sons of any such sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of dukes of these our realms."

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Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave after a service for the reception of Queen Elizabeth II's coffin
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave after a service for the reception of Queen Elizabeth II's coffin

BEN STANSALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

As monarch, King Charles III could change that rule, but it's unlikely he'll choose to do so.

A spokesperson said that nothing would be decided or said about the issue while the family was in mourning, a period that lasts one week past the funeral.

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A source previously told PEOPLE: "Archie will almost certainly become a prince one day. Charles isn't going to disavow his grandson, so it's hugely unlikely that he'll change the rules to stop it happening. The Charles also isn't going to say that Archie can't use the title any time soon."

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex,
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex,

Chris Jackson/Getty; Taylor Hill/WireImage

When Prince Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, were married in May 2018, the Queen gave them the titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Archie was entitled to the "courtesy title" of Earl of Dumbarton upon his birth. However, the couple announced that they had not given him a courtesy title and he would be known as Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. Down the line, Archie could be given the secondary Sussex title, before inheriting the dukedom.

The couple relocated to California after stepping back as senior members of the royal family in 2020.

Queen Elizabeth Obit Cover
Queen Elizabeth Obit Cover

During Meghan and Prince Harry's 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Duchess of Sussex revealed there was a conversation about titles ahead of Archie's birth.

"They were saying they didn't want him to be a prince or princess, which would be different from protocol, and that he wasn't going to receive security," Meghan said. "This went on for the last few months of our pregnancy where I was going, hold on for a second."

Meghan went on to say she would have accepted a title for Archie if it "meant he was going to be safe."

"And it's not our decision to make," she said. "Even though I have a lot of clarity of what comes with the titles good and bad...that is their birthright to then make a choice about."

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In his first speech as monarch, King Charles mentioned his younger son and daughter-in-law.

"I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas," he said.