One of the less edifying and controversial claims conjured by the Duchess of Sussex in her interview with Oprah Winfrey; the latest step in her and Prince Harry’s quest for a private life away from the glare of the media spotlight, was the question as to why Archie Mountbatten Windsor is not a prince and does not have a title.

Its an important question in the interview because it gives a very clear indication of the direction of travel unravelling in the session. In it Winfrey asks if it was because he is mixed race and would be “too brown” to which Meghan Markle replies,

In those months when I was pregnant, all around this same time, we have in tandem, the conversation of ‘He won’t be given security, he’s not going to be given a title’, and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he was born.

This is a pretty whiffy bit of conflation and somewhat mindboggling as to be other than wilfully misleading on the part of the Duchess. The rules governing this have been in place for a hundred years and were established by George V. 

In a nutshell, its the grandchildren (e.g. not the Great Grandchildren) of the monarch who are styled His or Her Royal Highness and are a Prince of Princess.

This means that upon Prince Charles’ ascension to the throne he will be eligible to become a Prince. In the case of Prince Anne, she opted out of royal titles for her children entirely.

Why then is he just plain Archie Mountbatten Windsor, when his father is a Duke?

You will need to ask Prince Harry that, as it is entirely his decision. Usually the eldest son’s of Dukes are given a courtesy title (e.g. a title that belongs to their father) to their son to use until they succeed them. So, Archie will as things stand at present one day become the Duke of Sussex. In fact, if that happened tomorrow he would rank higher than the Queen’s fourth born son the Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

In the meantime, Harry has decided to keep as plain old Master Mountbatten Windsor.

In terms of Archie not being offered a guarantee of lifelong security and the title of Prince, there are a number of reasons for that. The first being cost. One should not pre-suppose that Archie will become a full time working royal. In the future, his three cousins George (the third in-line to the throne), Charlotte and Louis will be much closer to the throne and expected to support their grandfather Charles and then father William as King.

It is no different to the experience of Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice of York, who do not have security and both of whom I have spotted merrily strolling past me on the streets of St James on various occasions. And good for them.

Even though his first name is Archie, Sussex sprog number one will one day become the Duke of Sussex.

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