Harry, Meghan reveal christening daughter Princess Lilibet Diana
March 9, 2023 12:24 AM
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle today revealed they have started calling their children Archie and Lilibet prince and princess after secretly christening their daughter in California, according to a UK tabloid.
The Sussexes snubbed a British baptism for their youngest daughter and held an Anglican ceremony at their Montecito mansion for between 20 and 30 friends including her billionaire godfather Tyler Perry.
Harry and Meghan invited King Charles, Queen Consort Camilla and the Prince and Princess of Wales to the California ceremony last Friday but they declined, a source close to the couple told People magazine. It is not known when the British royals were asked to attend - or how any invite was sent to the UK.
The Court Circular - Britain's official record of royal engagements - reveals that none of the senior royals apart from Princess Anne attended events on the day of the christening.
A statement by the Sussexes' referred to the 21-month-old as 'Princess Lilibet Diana' - revealing for the first time that the couple has decided to invoke their right to use 'Princess' for Lilibet, six months since the accession to the throne of King Charles last September. Archie will be called the prince.
According to Dailymail Harry and Meghan are said to not want to deny their children the chance to inherit royal titles from their father - seeing it as their birthright - but will allow Archie and Lili the chance to decide whether to drop or keep using the royal titles when they are older. Meghan famously told Oprah Winfrey that Archie was not given the title of prince because of his race, but this was disputed by the palace and constitutional experts.
Lili was baptised by the Anglican Bishop of Los Angeles, John Taylor. Afterwards guests and family including Doria Ragland danced to a playlist containing songs from Harry and Meghan's wedding reception at Windsor Castle. A gospel choir also reportedly performed Oh Happy Day and This Little Light of Mine.
However, when Archie was born seventh in line to the throne to the then Queen in May 2019, he was too far down the line of succession. Rules dictate that although he was a great-grandchild of the monarch, he was not a first-born son of a future king, so was not automatically a prince.
An insider claimed that 21-month-old Lili's title of princess and Archie's title as a prince will be used in formal settings - but not in everyday conversational use by the couple.
And the monarch will not stand in their way, Buckingham Palace has revealed, adding the Royal Family's official website will now be updated to call the children Princess Lilibet and Prince Archie. It currently refers to Lilibet as 'Miss Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor' and her brother as 'Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor'.
Title rules set out by King George V in 1917 mean Archie and Lili, as the children of a son of a sovereign, automatically became a prince and a princess when Charles became King.
They would also be entitled to an HRH style, but although Harry and Meghan retain their HRH styles, they no longer use them after quitting the working monarchy.
It was previously reported in 2021 that Charles, in a bid to limit the number of key royals, intended, when he became monarch, to prevent Archie becoming a prince.
To do so, he would have to issue a Letters Patent amending Archie's right to be a prince and Lili's right to be a princess.
Harry, who stepped down as a senior working royal in 2020 for a new life in the US, criticised his father's parenting in his controversial autobiography Spare, accused the Prince of Wales of physically attacking him and said the Queen Consort sacrificed him on her own personal PR altar.
The use of the titles has been revealed just days after Harry and Meghan were asked to vacate their UK home Frogmore Cottage, a move sanctioned by the King which further weakens the couple's ties with Harry's home country and the Windsors.
And the christening came just before The Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed they had been invited to the King's Coronation – but refused to say whether they will be attending.
The Sussexes have yet to confirm whether they will attend the King's coronation in May, which falls on Archie's fourth birthday.
The Baptism happened as Charles' wife Camilla was mourning the death of her brother-in-law of more than 50 years, Simon Elliot, who died last week aged 82.