The Real Reason Meghan and Harry’s Son Archie Isn’t a Prince

It turns out that the decision wasn't entirely up to his parents.

It’s been a tumultuous couple of years for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. They married in 2018 with a massive amount of fanfare and had baby Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. But then in early 2020, they stepped back from royal duties. Later, Meghan gave a vulnerable account of her miscarriage and recently announced another baby on the way. Now, a televised interview with the formally-royal couple by Oprah has revealed shocking, disheartening information about how deeply racism is entrenched in the British monarchy, and how traumatic the entire experience was for Meghan and her family.

One of the revelations that came to light is that Meghan and Harry actually didn’t have a say in the fact that their son, Archie, didn’t get a royal title. The prevailing narrative is that the couple chose to call him simply “Master” instead of the fancier title of “Earl” or “Lord,” which he was entitled to. (He wouldn’t have been able to be a prince at birth either way.) Here’s why Meghan didn’t pose for photos right after Archie’s birth, too.

But Meghan told Oprah that the palace made the decision that Archie would not get a royal title. They were originally under the impression that Archie would receive the title of “prince” once Prince Charles becomes king because then Archie would be the grandson, rather than the great-grandson, of the monarch. (Here’s an explanation of the confusing business of royal titles.) But, per the Guardian, “they had been told that protocols would be changed[,] in line with Charles’s wish for a slimmed-down monarchy.” Meghan pointed out that this was “different from protocol”—and, more concerningly, meant that Archie wouldn’t be given security, because he wasn’t a prince-to-be.

It wasn’t the titles that bothered her about this—she said that “all the grandeur surrounding this stuff is an attachment I don’t have”—but the fact that her son wouldn’t get this security, especially in light of the brutal treatment she and her son were receiving from the British tabloids. In addition, it stung that she and her husband weren’t the ones to make the choice. She further shared that there were “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be” while she was pregnant, and certainly has not ruled out her and her son’s race as the reason for the change. In any case, it didn’t sit well with her that “the first member of color in this family [was] not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be.”

In spite of all of this, though, Archie is still part of the line of succession. Here’s the full line-up to the British throne.

Sources:

  • The Guardian: “Was Meghan’s son Archie denied the title ‘prince’ because he’s mixed race?”
  • People“Meghan Markle Explains Why Son Archie Isn’t a Prince in Oprah Interview”
  • Cosmopolitan: “Here’s Why Meghan and Harry’s Son Archie Harrison Isn’t a Prince”
  • BBC News: “Royal baby: Duke and Duchess of Sussex name son Archie”

Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten is the Social Media Editor at Reader's Digest and writes for Taste of Home and The Family Handyman. She firmly believes that no matter where you go, picnics are always a good idea. Especially if it’s paired with a good book. She’s an advocate for meal prepping and passionate about living a plastic-free life.
Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a Staff Writer for RD.com who has been writing since before she could write. She graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been writing for Reader's Digest since 2017. In spring 2017, her creative nonfiction piece "Anticipation" was published in Angles literary magazine. She is a proud Hufflepuff and member of Team Cap.