Ellie Hall at Buzzfeed had a somewhat exhaustive look at the issue of royal titles for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s two children, Archie and Lilibet. Currently, the kids are not referred to, in the public sphere, with any royal title. They appear in the line of succession with the surname Mountbatten-Windsor, even though they automatically became prince and princess the moment QEII passed away. The institution of the monarchy simply refuses to acknowledge that though – it’s not King Charles III “giving” Archie and Lilibet titles, it would need to be Charles taking them away. Despite the royal commentators trying to pretend that Meghan and Harry spent the mourning period “arguing” with Charles about the titles, I believe they’re sitting back and waiting to see what Charles does now. Harry and Meghan already said their piece to Oprah, that they were told that their children wouldn’t get royal titles, that the Letters Patent would be changed to remove the titles from their kids, the first mixed-race royal children in the line of succession. Ellie Hall tried to parse what’s happening now:
We’re more than two weeks into the reign of King Charles III and there’s still no answer to one seemingly simple question: will his grandchildren, Archie Harrison and Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, become a prince and princess, to be addressed as “their royal highnesses,” or won’t they?
Buckingham Palace has said multiple times that it won’t be addressing that question until after the official mourning period for Queen Elizabeth II ends on Sept. 26 — although in press briefings, the royal spokespersons have given some eyebrow-raising quotes when asked about when the decision about titles will be made, in one instance replying “the future is an amazing thing,” as reported by the Daily Mail.
In a speech delivered on Sept. 9 just shy of 24 hours after the announcement of the Queen’s death, the new King gave his other son and daughter-in-law, the royals best known as Prince William and Kate Middleton, the titles of Prince and Princess of Wales. Within hours of the King’s speech, the page on the royal family’s official website listing the line of succession was updated with the new Wales titles for William, George, Charlotte, and Louis. (The children were previously Princes and Princess of Cambridge; they’re now Princes and Princess of Wales.) But Archie and Lilibet were — and, as of press time, remain — “Mountbatten-Windsors.” If Buckingham Palace is to be believed, those quick website updates for William and his kids were a fluke, a one-off.
When asked about why Archie and Lilibet’s titles hadn’t been updated on the royal family’s official website during press briefings, the King’s spokespersons somewhat evasively replied that they were waiting for further information from an unspecified party. “We will be updating the website as and when we get information,” one spokesperson said, as reported by the Sunday Times. The Press Association even titled its Sept. 10 story “Palace waits for information on Archie and Lili’s titles before website change,” as if it is a decision to be made by an outside force.
Without question, the best official response to a media query about the Sussex children’s titles and the royal family’s official website was made by a spokesperson who referenced King Charles III’s inaugural speech, in which the King said, “I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas.”
“While the website was updated for the Waleses, clearly updating love on a website doesn’t quite work so we’ve not quite done that but clearly he does love [the Sussex children],” the spokesperson said, as reported by Hello! Magazine on Sept. 10.
Another spokesperson for the King confirmed the accuracy of the quotes above via email and said that “the focus now is on mourning the Queen, and [the issue of Archie and Lilibet’s titles] is something for further down the line.” The spokesperson declined to provide further specifics on how long that line might be.
To be clear, this is entirely Charles’s mess and he’s the only one who can clean it up. Like everyone else in that ghastly family, he painted himself into a corner and he’s screwed either way. If he goes ahead with his original plan of changing the Letters Patent and taking away Archie and Lilibet’s titles, then he’ll look racist, punitive and evil. If he does nothing and allows Archie and Lilibet to retain their titles under the Letters Patent, then congrats, all of his grandchildren are princes and princesses and he’ll have to treat them accordingly (which he also doesn’t want).
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.
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