Here's Why Harry And Meghan's Son Archie Doesn't Have A Royal Title

What's at play in the Archie royal title controversy? Here's unpacking the truth behind why Meghan Markle's son is not a 'prince.'

Tanvi Akhauri
Mar 09, 2021 15:54 IST
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Baby Archie royal title: Why was Meghan Markle's first child not given the 'prince' title? Were the rules changed to exclude him? Was there racism involved in the royal protocol as regards his skin colour?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's big tell-all with host Oprah Winfrey on Sunday opened the floodgates to a variety of explosive allegations directed at the royal palace. Among the bombshells they dropped, the one that seems to have shaken viewers the most was Markle's suggestion that when she was pregnant with her first child, there were "concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he was born."

Markle, who is of mixed-race descent with her mother having African roots and father, European roots, said the "idea of the first member of colour in this family not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be" was upsetting. In addition, the two even admitted there was always the larger shadow of racism clouding the palace, which played a huge role in them moving away from the United Kingdom.

Archie Royal Title: Racism Or Convention, What's At Play?


Claims of Buckingham endorsing racism is at the epicentre of mixed and very polar reactions from across the world. While many are convinced the racism allegations are true, given the British monarchy's documented history of colonisation, several others - including the British press, royalist Britons and Markle's father Thomas - have strongly denounced the accusations.

But what's the truth surrounding the Archie royal title controversy?

Answers to the furore surrounding the Archie royal title can partly be found in a decree established by King George V in 1917. As per palace convention, only the oldest son of the Prince of Wales’ oldest son is entitled to the titles of 'His Royal Highness' or 'Prince.' 


In this case, Prince William and Kate Middleton's first son, Prince George. Not his siblings, not his cousins, just him.

Since Harry is the younger son of Charles, Prince of Wales, his son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, born May 2019, did not get a royal title. Once Charles makes King of England, only then would Archie become 'Prince.'

Is there more than convention in the Archie royal title debate?


The snag arises with the knowledge that in December 2012, Queen Elizabeth intervened to modify the age-old royal convention. She issued a Letters Patent declaring that all of the Duke of Cambridge's children - not just the eldest son - would henceforth be conferred with the 'Prince' and 'Princess' titles. And so, William and Kate's other children are Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

That no similar interventions were made at the time of Archie is compounded by Markle's claim that there was talk of changing even the 1917 decree to ensure that her son never made it to the throne. "I think even with that convention I’m talking about, while I was pregnant, they said they want to change the convention for Archie," she said.

Her concerns, she said in the interview, did not come from her son not receiving a title, as the couple has even previously expressed. It came from the consequences this differential treatment would bring. Archie, without a title, could not be afforded royal security. And amid dramatic racist backlash against her from the British press, lack of protection from the palace could have invited potential "risk or threat."


"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... of course. All the grandeur around this stuff is an attachment I don't have...the most important title I will ever have is mom," Markle said.

Has Buckingham Responded To Claims Of Racism?

While there has been no official word from Buckingham on the tell-all yet, sources from inside the palace have revealed 'The Firm' has been engaged in a series of "crisis meetings."

Harry and Meghan relayed through Winfrey, as disclosed by her in a follow-up to her Sunday broadcast, that the racist remarks did not come from the two seniormost royals, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

There has since been extensive speculation around who the royal family member, whom Harry and Markle both outrightly refused to name, might be. Royal experts suggest that while it may be an older member who is "not quite in step with modern times," it is close to impossible to know exactly who made the comments. More on who might have made the skin colour remarks.

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