Baby Girl Sussex has arrived, and her name seems to be all anyone can talk about. Over the weekend, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced the June 4 arrival of Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana Mountbatten-Windsor — a clear nod to Queen Elizabeth and the late Princess Diana. (So much for our theory that the couple would opt for Diana and Elizabeth as middle names only. Can’t win ’em all.) Lili joins big brother Archie, who just turned two last month.
Everyone is fixated on the name: is the shoutout to the queen’s nickname, Lilibet, meant as an olive branch in the midst of ongoing familial strife or is it further proof that Harry’s family beef lies not with the queen but his father and brother? But more importantly, have we been sleeping on the fact that Harry and Meghan’s daughter is the first of the queen’s great-grandchildren to be born outside the UK. (Despite the lack of a royal title, she’s eighth in line, behind big bro Archie.)
Little Lili will be California dreamin’ throughout her early years and beyond. Do we see a career as a surfer in her future?
Here’s what’s different about how Harry and Meghan will be able to raise their kids in sunny Cali.
They can dictate when (and if) to show Lili’s face in public
Harry and Meghan have been vocal about their disappointment and frustration over the invasive paparazzi and racist, sexist tabloid culture that permeates Britain. It was, after all, the main reason behind their decision to forfeit their royal duties and move to California. Although naysayers and keyboard warriors on Facebook have been quick to point out that the couple are still reaching for the limelight following their explosive Oprah interview in March, it bears reminding that the couple never said they’d step away entirely — only that they want to be in the public eye on their own terms. And that includes dictating when (and if) they give the public a glimpse of Lili.
The couple are notoriously private with Archie. Ever since they left London (and after a brief stint in Canada) they haven’t shown the toddlers face in public. Any charming family photos released to mark special occasions have featured Archie with his face obscured by either having his back to the camera or being held, facing away from the lens. Expect the same when it comes to Lili.
The royal family are supposed to give their newborns a public debut after leaving the hospital. (How many articles did you see commenting on what type of dress Kate Middleton would wear when debuting her latest offspring?) Although Harry and Meghan delayed displaying Archie for photographers in London back in 2019, they still ultimately followed through with royal protocol. This time around, don’t be surprised if we only release fleeting glimpses of Lili — such as a little baby hand or foot, or being held with her back to the camera.
The kids can embrace nature in relative solitude
Harry and Meghan’s Santa Barbara sanctuary was glimpsed ever-so-briefly during their in-depth televised interview with Oprah. Although they don’t go inside the house, the lush surroundings include a little chicken coop (Archie’s Chick Inn — so cute!) where the family raises adopted baby chicks.
Compared to the regal upbringing that comes with growing up royal in London, Archie and Lili can embrace being kids in seclusion and in nature, away from flashing lenses and bustling crowds — a situation never afforded to Harry. In addition, don’t be surprised if Archie and Lili are enrolled in an “everyday” school like Meghan in her youth. Granted, it’ll still be a prestigious school, no doubt, but it wouldn’t surprise us if the Sussexes preferred their kids made friends with the offspring of non-famous nearby residents.
They can foster their kids’ ambitions a lot better
Being a royal comes with an inordinate amount of rules, even for kids (such as these bizarre rules royal children absolutely have to follow). Not only are they expected to attend all major royal engagements, but they also undergo etiquette training and have to follow outdated ideas around gender-affirming clothing — as in, boys wear shorts and girls wear dresses. But, far removed from the gates of Buckingham Palace, Archie and Lili will be afforded a lot more freedom.
Given that Harry and Meghan are no longer working royals, it’s not a stretch to assume that their kids will follow in their footsteps and hold down “regular” jobs one day — albeit with a few Hollywood connections. Since the Sussexes are no longer beholden to the royal family, Harry and Meghan can help foster their kids’ ambitions with more freedom and ease. As a feminist, Meghan will likely especially want to instill this idea in her daughter and empower her to make her own decisions in life.