King Charles III ascended the throne immediately following Queen Elizabeth II’s death yesterday, and that has shaken up some titles in the royal family. In addition to Prince Charles now being King (still so weird to think about!), changes are potentially coming for other members of the family too, including Prince William, who is next in line to the throne. Surprisingly, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s kids Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1, may get official Prince and Princess titles as well!
Conventionally, the ascension of a new monarch means an automatic change in title down the line. This is due to rules established by King George V in 1917, per The New York Times, where the children and grandchildren of the monarch receive titles, but not the great-grandchildren. Since Archie and Lilibet are the grandchildren of King Charles, they are entitled to now be called Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet. However, if they will take the titles is another question.
Back in January 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan gave up their royal titles, stepped back from royal duties, and no longer represented the Queen. They kept their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles, but will no longer have the “Royal Highness” designation.
At the time, the Queen wrote on Instagram, “Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family.”
In Meghan’s infamous interview with Oprah Winfrey last year, she revealed that the royal family discussed changing the rules to not grant Archie the “His Royal Highness” or the “Prince” title.
“I think even with that convention that I’m talking about, while I was pregnant, they said they want to change the convention for Archie,” she said, per NYT.
“They were saying they didn’t want him to be a prince … which would be different from protocol, and that he wasn’t going to receive security,” Meghan said in the interview, per E! News. She said the family had “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.”
It’s hard to say what Charles will decide to do now that he is king. Tensions have been up between the two, as last week, Mirror reported that Harry and Meghan declined an “open invitation” to stay with Charles at the Balmoral estates while they were in England supporting their charities. Royal insiders said Charles thought this gesture would be a “good opportunity for everyone to take stock and relax. But the invitation was declined, as it has been before.”
It’s yet to be confirmed whether Archie and Lilibet will assume Prince and Princess titles, but they aren’t the only ones potentially getting an upgrade. Charles’ wife Camilla is now the Queen Consort and Prince William and Kate Middleton will shift from Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall (titles previously held by Charles and Camilla). It is likely that the Prince and Princess of Wales titles will be bestowed on them as well.
See the meaning of our favorite royal baby names from around the world.