Update, 03/07/21: Turns out Archie’s title status is a lot more complicated than the rules make it seem. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry sat down for a tell-all interview with Oprah about their time as working royals, and during the chat, they revealed that it was the palace that decided Archie would go without a “prince” title. Meghan and Harry actually did want him to have the title because it comes with increased security.
Here’s what Meghan said:
“They were saying they didn’t want him to be a prince or princess, which would be different from protocol, and that he wasn’t going to receive security,” Meghan said. “This went on for the last few months of our pregnancy where I was going, hold on for a second. They said [he’s not going to get security], because he’s not going to be a prince. Okay, well, 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, we haven’t created this monster machine around us in terms of clickbait and tabloid fodder you’ve allowed that to happen which means our son needs to be safe.”
And here’s why Meghan and Harry wanted him to have the title:
“If it meant he was going to be safe, 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.”
Original story, December 2019:
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry welcomed their super-cute son Archie more than a year ago now, and let’s make one thing clear: This little dude is not a prince. He’s a master! Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, to be precise.
And if you’re confused why Archie doesn’t have an HRH title while his cousins do, lol, same. But we did some digging, and it’s not that complicated. However, you should get in the zone to read some ~official rules~ in very fancy (aka impossible-to-decipher) English, so let me just lighten things up real quick by sharing this extremely important GIF of what I *think* is Prince Harry dancing. Or doing a military drill. Either way.
There’s a technical reason Archie’s not a prince
And it’s all thanks to George. No, not this guy:
Back in 1917, King George V restricted the number of family members who could rock a royal title, and naturally, he phrased it in the most complicated and annoying way possible:
“The grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes of these Our Realms.”
Which basically means that the titles of “prince” and “princess” are restricted to the children of the sovereign (e.g., Prince Charles, Prince Edward, and Princess Anne), the children of the sovereign’s sons (e.g., Prince Harry and Prince William), and the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales (e.g., Prince George). But since Prince Harry is the second son of Prince Charles, his kids are not guaranteed the title of “prince” or “princess.”
Side note: At this point, you’re probably wondering why Princess Charlotte got to be called “princess” since she’s not “the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.” That’s because in 2013, Queen Elizabeth II issued a letters patent that removed the first-kid-only decree. How modern!
“The Queen has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 31 December 2012 to declare that all the children of the eldest son of The Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title, and attribute of Royal Highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honour.”
Meghan and Harry could have asked the Queen if they really wanted
Turns out, the Queen breaks her own rules all the damn time. Proof? She offered HRH status to Princess Anne’s kids, but Anne refused.
As royal reporter Emily Andrews said on an episode of her podcast, “For Harry’s children to be HRH, the Queen would have to issue a new letters patent, and she hasn’t, so we’re pretty sure that they’re not going to be HRH.”
Archie could have been an earl, but he’s simply “master”
Archie technically could have gone by “Earl of Dumbarton,” which is one of Prince Harry’s titles, but it seems like the fam thought one Earl of Dumbarton was enough.
So yeah, in formal environments, this royal bb will simply go by “Master Archie,” which is kinda laid-back for someone who is seventh in line to the throne. For the record, this is what the throne list is looking like these days:
- Prince Charles
- Prince William
- Prince George
- Princess Charlotte
- Prince Louis
- Prince Harry
- Master Archie
In case you’re wondering, anyone can go by “master.” Merriam-Webster defines it as “a youth or boy too young to be called mister—used as a title,” so basically, it’s just a polite prefix.
His title could change eventually
According to royal reporter Victoria Murphy, Archie will be eligible to style his name as “Prince Archie” one day. But something tells me he’ll opt out because by forgoing a title, Archie is technically a private citizen, which means he doesn’t have to be paraded around in the same way George, Charlotte, and Louis do.
Royal correspondent Roya Nikkhah explained as much in The Times, saying, “The Sussexes are not using a title for their son in the hope that he will live a more normal life.”
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K, got it, the end.
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