Harry and Meghan: Why is Archie not a prince and how are royal titles given?

The Duchess of Sussex told Oprah that Archie not being given a royal title was ‘different from protocol’

Jade Bremner
Wednesday 10 March 2021 21:59 GMT
Prince Harry says racism was ‘large part’ of why he and Meghan left the UK
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In Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired in the UK on Monday night, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex discussed how there were conversations at the palace about the title for their unborn child.

Meghan told Oprah: "They were saying they didn't want him to be a prince or princess, not knowing what the gender would be, which would be different from protocol.”

She went on to cite the "George V or George VI convention" which states that when the Prince of Wales, Charles, becomes king, Archie and his soon-to-arrive younger sister would automatically become prince and princess as grandchildren of the monarch.

Meghan alleged that the royal family planned to change this protocol so her son would never become a prince.

"They want to change the convention for Archie" she said, pointing out that it would be "the first member of colour in this family, not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be...it's not their right to take it away."

But what is the rule at the palace for titles?

What is the exact royal protocol in place?

Harry and his brother William have been princes since birth, as have their cousins - Eugenie and Beatrice - as sons of Andrew.

Prince William’s children, George, Charlotte and Louis, also have these titles, but for a different reason.

Read more: CBS Morning Show makes history thanks to Oprah and Meghan & Harry’s interview

A spokesperson for Debrett’s, a professional etiquette company, told The Independent: “In 1917, King George V ordered that only the grandchildren of the monarch [e.g. Harry, William, Eugenie, Beatrice] would be entitled to use the style of prince or princess and HRH.

“The only exception to this order was that the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales [Prince George] would also be entitled to be use the style HRH and Prince.

“In 2012, the Queen issued new Letters Patent that the style of HRH and prince/princess would be extended to all of Prince William’s children [Charlotte and Louis], not just his eldest son.”

Will Archie ever be a prince?

According to George V’s protocol, when Prince Charles becomes king, his grandchildren automatically get prince and princess titles, provided they are from the male line - this means Archie.

Debrett’s say: “Archie’s entitlement to use the style of prince and HRH will come into force when his grandfather Prince Charles becomes king.”

This would also be the case for any other grandchildren of the monarch.

What does prince mean for security and protection?

The Sussexes revealed in the interview that conversations about Archie's title led to whether he would get security. Meghan outlined that she was told Archie would not get security if he wasn't a prince.

"We’re not saying don’t make him a prince or princess, but if you’re saying the title is what’s going to affect that protection, we haven’t created this monster machine around us in terms of clickbait and tabloid fodder. You’ve allowed that to happen which means our son needs to be safe,” she said.

But there is no royal convention which says only those with prince or princess titles should have security, confirms royal journalist Victoria Murphy.

Do the Sussexes have official royal security now?

No. When their senior royal status officially ended, their security also ended. The couple's friend, actor and director Tyler Perry, offered his security to the couple, plus the use of his home. The couple are now entirely financially independent from the royal family.

“Their justification was a change in status,” Harry said to Oprah on the royal decision to stop security. “To which I pushed back and said, is there a change in threat or risk? I was born into this position. I inherited the risk,” he continued.

In response to the claims, Buckingham Palace released a statement on behalf of the Queen on Tuesday, saying: “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.

“The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.

“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”

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