TBC Explainer: Why Harry and Meghan’s son Archie was not given the title of Prince
In the tell-all interview of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with American TV host Oprah Winfrey, the Duchess of Sussex said that she wanted her son Archie to have a title of a prince but it was denied to him due to his mixed race.
The tell-all interview of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with American TV host Oprah Winfrey aired on March 7. The couple revealed during the interview that Buckingham Palace decided against giving Archie the title of Prince. In the two hour-long chat, Meghan expressed her shock at her son Archie being denied the title of prince which would mean that Archie would not have protection, and suggested that the decision was taken due to her son’s mixed race.
The Duchess of Sussex told Oprah, “In those months when I was pregnant, all around the same time, so we (had) the conversation of he won’t be given security, he’s not going to be a title and also concerns and conversations around how dark his skin might be when’s born.”
Meghan also said she would have accepted the title for her son if it meant he was going to be safe. Meghan's fear stemmed from the fact that with all the racism and tabloid attack that she has faced from the beginning of her relationship with Harry, the same treatment would be directed at her son also. Having a royal title comes with an added social security that can help protect her son.
Prince Harry and Meghan’s son Archie is the seventh in the line of succession to the British throne behind his grandfather Prince Charles, his uncle Prince William and his three cousins –Prince George, Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte, and his father Harry.
Despite being the seventh in the line of succession, Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor is not given the title of Prince because of a century-old royal rule.
Royal decree of 1917
King George V issued a royal decree in 1917 that limited the titles of prince and princess to the children of the monarch, children of monarch’s son. This means the great-grandchildren of the monarch would no longer be princesses or princesses except for the eldest living son of the eldest son.
Going by this rule, Prince Harry is the second son of Prince Charles, so Prince Harry children’s are not promised the title of prince or princess at birth. However, they are entitled to become a prince and princess once Prince Charles ascends to the throne, which automatically means Archie would be entitled to be a prince as he is the grandchild of the monarch.
Queen Elizabeth letter patent of 2012
Also, under the current protocol, Prince William's two children and Prince George’s siblings – Charlotte and Louis should not have received the title either but it's all thanks to Queen Elizabeth's letter patent in 2012. The Queen issued a letter patent which made all the children of Prince William entitled to be Prince and Princess.
Even though Meghan has cited Archie's mixed-race being one of the reasons why Archie was not given a title of a prince but the issue of entitlement of titles in the royal family is a lot more complex than the rulebook makes it seem.
Prince Harry and Meghan are due to become the parents to a little girl this summer.