The death of Queen Elizabeth II earlier this month brought significant change for many members of the British royal family. For example, 73-year-old Prince Charles became King Charles and his wife, Camilla, became the Queen Consort. But what about the children of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — do they now have royal titles? The answer — as with so many things related to this family — is complicated. Here’s what we know so far.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are parents to two young children: Archie Harrison, 3, and Lilibet Diana, 1. As PEOPLE explains, while the children didn’t previously have royal titles (on the royal family’s website, they have been referred to as “Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor” and “Miss Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor”), an old rule changes things.
When Archie and Lili were born, they did not receive the titles of prince and princess because they were the great-grandchildren of the monarch (at the time, Queen Elizabeth) and not in the direct line of succession (though Meghan suggested in her 2021 interview with Oprah that they would have accepted the title of prince for Archie if given, as it could have provided him with added security).
“They [the royals] 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 explained. “This went on for the last few months of our pregnancy where I was going, hold on for a second. They said [he’s not going to get security], because he’s not going to be a prince. OK, well, he needs to be safe so 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.”
By not giving Archie the title of prince at birth, Meghan pointed out, he became “the first member of colour in this family [that] isn’t being titled in the same way as other grandchildren would be.”
However, things have changed now that the Queen has died. When the Queen passed and Charles (their grandfather) became king, his grandchildren (i.e. Archie and Lili) became eligible to receive the titles of prince and princess according to a 1917 rule, PEOPLE outlines.
Note: if you’re wondering if this impacts Prince William’s children, it doesn’t as they are already Princes and a Princess — though it’s, again, a bit complicated. Prince William’s son George was born with the title Prince George as the firstborn child of the firstborn child of the successor, (at the time) Prince of Wales. Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis were given their titles because Queen Elizabeth issued something called a “letters patent” for William’s children. The queen did not do this for Archie or Lili.
So, according to the 1917 rule, are Archie and Lili now Prince Archie and Princess Lili? It seems likely that they will be (technically, King Charles could change the 1917 rule to prevent Archie and Lili from being prince and princess, but that seems unlikely). However, as a spokesperson told PEOPLE, it has yet to be officially decided while the family is in mourning. There have also been rumours, however, that King Charles may reportedly be waiting on certain factors related to Harry’s upcoming media projects before deciding on the children’s titles, according to Marie Claire.
Even if they become Prince Archie and Princess Lili, however, the royal title drama does not appear to stop there. As The Sun reports, there’s still the question of the title of His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness (HRH). Technically, the children could be given the titles of prince and princess but not the HRH title.
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As a source told The Sun, “Harry and Meghan were worried about the security issue and being prince and princess brings them the right to have certain levels of royal security.” However, the source also says that they “have been left furious that Archie and Lilibet cannot take the title HRH. That is the agreement — they can be prince and princess but not HRH because they are not working royals.”