Two days after his birth, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle revealed the name of their baby son at Windsor Castle. “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are delighted to announce that they have named their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor,” they said in a statement. While most reactions focused on the first and middle monikers (particularly the first’s association with a beloved American comic-book character) others noticed what wasn’t included: a royal title.
Sources later confirmed to multiple outlets that the couple chose not to give him one at this time.
It’s said he could have had a title—specifically, the Earl of Dumbarton, which is currently held by Prince Harry. Children of nobles are allowed to use one of their father’s lesser titles (Harry’s primary title is duke) as a courtesy.
But why the decision not to?
It was first reported by the Times of London that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were considering not giving their child a formal label, in hopes of giving him or her a “a relatively normal life.”
“That word ‘normal’ looms very large for Harry and Meghan when it comes to their child’s future,” the source told the outlet.
Allegedly, they also felt that in addition to normalcy, the lack of a title would keep their child out of the limelight. “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex consider their son to be a ‘private citizen’ and feel strongly about ‘shielding’ him from excessive scrutiny,” sources told The Times of London this past Sunday.
Harry and Meghan aren’t the only royals to go this route. Princess Anne chose not to give her children titles either, for similar reasons. “I’m very lucky that both my parents decided to not use the title, and we grew up and did all the things that gave us the opportunity to do,” her daughter, Zara Tindall (née Phillips), told the press a few years ago.
But that doesn’t mean one isn’t in Archie’s future. The Evening Standard reportsthat once Charles becomes king, Archie will become a prince “with his parents’ blessing.” This follows what’s known as the George V ruling: that all children and grandchildren from the direct male line of the Sovereign have “HRH,” His or Her Royal Highness, status. (There are exceptions to this: Queen Elizabeth issued a revision allowing the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children—her great-grandchildren—to have “HRH” in their titles.)
However, for now, it’s just “Master Archie.”