Following the birth of their son, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their baby’s name at an official photocall last week. Spoiler alert: He’s not a prince — yet.
For now, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor will live like the rest of us — except in a cushy estate home, just down the road from his great-grandmother’s castle — with a first name, one middleton name (very rare in the royal family), and a last name.
Why does Baby Archie get to use the royal family’s last name and his cousins, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, don’t? Like many things in the royal family, it all comes down to protocol … and royal titles (or lack thereof).
Up ahead, discover the one royal title rule that prevents Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s son from becoming a prince.
Royal title rules
The royal family loves a good rule. So, it should come of no surprise that they have rules about one of the most important things in the monarchy: titles. Royal title rules vary and just because you aren’t born with a fancy status, doesn’t mean you can’t become a duke, viscount, or in Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor’s case, a prince later on. That’s right, Baby Archie could become Prince Archie in the future. But, a few things need to happen first.
According to royal title rules, only the children and grandchildren of the monarch can hold a prince or princess title. However, Queen Elizabeth was willing to make an exception for her great-grandchildren, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis? Why didn’t she do the same for Baby Archie? Apparently, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle didn’t want to make a fuss.
In order to grant Archie prince status, Queen Elizabeth would have to issue a new Letters Patent against the royal rule, like she did for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s children. However, there’s really no point in doing so since Archie will automatically become a prince with His Royal Highness status when Prince Charles ascends the throne.
Per Daily Mail, Buckingham Palace released a statement on the matter, suggesting that there are courtesy titles available to Baby Archie but the Duke and Duchess of Sussex “have chosen not to give him a courtesy title at this time.”
Will Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor become a prince?
Once his grandfather is king, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor will automatically become a prince and officially known as His Royal Highness Archie of Sussex. With His Royal Highness status, he will no longer require the royal family’s last name (although he could still use it for school or work purposes) and will likely go by “Prince Archie” by the public.
Although his status is automatic, Archie might not go by his official royal title. Rumor has it, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have already given their blessing for him to become a prince. However, as he gets older (and becomes aware of his royal life), their son might choose to drop his prince status and live a more normal life, away from the royal family’s responsibilities.