Royal (or not) Baby

Royal (or not) Baby

A week has gone by since the birth of the latest royal baby. Firstly, I hear the question, why does the title of this month’s article have the words ‘or not’ in brackets. The simple answer to this question is to do with the official title of this newborn baby; we will explore this shortly.

First of all we, along with everyone else, would like to welcome the latest baby to the world and congratulate his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the arrival of their ‘little bundle of joy’.

On Bank Holiday Monday at 05:26, baby Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was born weighing 7lbs 3oz, in doing so becoming the 7th in line to the throne, displacing his Great Uncle, Prince Andrew. We have taken a look at the 20 in line to the throne at the end of this month’s article. At the time of writing, Archie’s place of birth has not been announced although it is thought that his mother, Meghan, had wanted a home birth; there is some rumour that this plan had to be abandoned, due to the child being overdue, as eluded to by Prince Harry.

Archie is the first child to be born to Prince Harry and Meghan and is the first half-American child to be born into the UK’s Royal Family as well as the first multiracial baby in the history of the British Monarchy. He is a citizen of the United Kingdom as well as the United States of America.

The birth was announced in the traditional way, with an announcement being placed on an easel in the grounds of Buckingham Palace as well as on the Sussex’s Instagram page. The Instagram post being a simple blue background with the words, It’s a boy. The difference between Prince Harry and William’s children’s birth announcements are clear for all to see. With Prince William the world was made aware of the birth of his children with the easel at Buckingham Palace and was then introduced to the children on their release from hospital outside the Lindo Wing. With Prince Harry the world had to wait until last Wednesday, 2 and a half days after the child’s birth, for a 3-minute photo call in the hall of Windsor Castle, which was then simulcast around the world. It was only after this initial meeting of the world’s press and having met with Her Majesty the Queen, did the Duke and Duchess make their child’s name known to the waiting world. It is fair to say that the names are not as traditional as some expected them to be.

Welcome to the world Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor

Now, we move on to the original question, which I know has you thinking why we have queried whether a royal baby or not. Of course, we are not questioning the royal-ness of the baby, after all Archie is the son of Prince Harry and the great-grandson of Her Majesty the Queen. The question is more around the title of the child, of which he will not have an official title. He is however heir apparent of his father’s Dukedom of Sussex. Archie will not be automatically entitled to the title of Prince or to be addressed as His Royal Highness (HRH) unlike his cousins, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. He could however have a subsidiary title for example Earl of Dumbarton, but his parents have decided that he would be simply known as Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

So if Archie’s cousins, the children of Prince Harry’s brother, William, are entitled to be addressed as his/her Royal Highness and the title Prince/ss why is Archie not entitled?

This distinction dates back to the reign of King George V and a decree he made in 1917. During this period, it is important to note that there were revolutions occurring across Europe and monarchies were collapsing. So King George wanted a slimmed down version of the monarchy. What the decree said in a simplistic form is that when it comes to the monarch’s great-grandchildren, only the eldest living son, in this case George, of the eldest living son, Prince William, of the eldest living son, Prince Charles of the monarch, Queen Elizabeth, should have the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian name. All other great-grandchildren are to be known as Lord or Lady and do not need to be addressed as His/Her Royal Highness.

Since the original decree in 1917, Queen Elizabeth has amended it recently in 2013, a few months before the birth of Prince George, to provide special dispensation for all of Prince William and Kate’s children to be Prince or Princess. A few months after this change in the decree, the UK Government made legal changes to the succession to the throne rules, ensuring that any Princess would not be bumped down the list by any younger brother, hence the reason Princess Charlotte is 4th in line and her younger brother Prince Louis is the 5th. She is the first female heir to the throne to not be displaced by her younger brother.

It is thought that Her Majesty would not provide the same special dispensation to William’s brother Harry’s children, especially as it would take a massive disaster for Archie to ever become King, in that he has 6 people above him in line to the throne, including his father.

Archie is likely to become Prince Archie, should his grandfather, Prince Charles become King, the next in line to take the throne. Since he is the grandson of Charles, he would then be grandchild to the monarch and entitled then to the title Prince.

So, what does Archie Harrison’s name mean?

As we mentioned earlier, the new royal baby’s names were a bit of a surprise and were not on the running list of the names according to the bookmakers, who were offering money on Alexander, Arthur and Albert with Spencer as an outside chance due to his grandmother’s maiden name. It is believed that neither of the 2 names selected have any royal connotations.

Archie means genuine, bold and brave, it is a more common name in the UK than the US, and has often been used as the abbreviated form of Archibald, although in recent years it has been used as a name in its own right. During 2017, Archie was the 18th most commonly used name for a boy in the UK with 2,803 children born with the name. Since 2003, Archie has been in the top 50 names consistently.

Whereas Harrison, in popularity terms, is opposite to Archie and slightly more popular in the United States than the UK, however in 2017 it was the 34th most popular name. Fittingly the name means son of Harry! and has been more commonly a surname.

Whilst there is a lot of love and joy around the world for the birth of this child, who is the 7th in line to the throne and obviously there is a special interest in him, there is always a flip side to the story, and this time we feel we should explore the not so happy side of the story, which is also the reason why on this article we have decided not to show any picture of the new child. And this reason is due to the parents out there, who will look at the picture of happiness and wonder why they aren’t as lucky as the Duke and Duchess. Not in terms of the status, money and international admiration, but more because they are not able to hold their child.

Some parents have never been able to hold their child and although they are happy for the royal couple or anyone who is able to, they still feel the pang of emotion and hurt, and envy of not being able to hold, and cuddle their own children anymore. For some they never got the opportunity to hold their bundle of joy. It is important that we don’t forget these parents, who will always be parents, who never forget their little one.

There is a thought process after the sad news of the loss of a child from people outside of the situation where the idea is to not discuss the child, or avoid situations with the parent where there are children; this is actually an unhelpful thing for the bereaved parent. It is important to talk about the loved one, to allow the bereaved parent to talk about how they are feeling, allowing them the opportunity to feel that someone is there for them. Sadly, some child deaths can cause a massive rift between the 2 bereaved parents, which causes the break-up of their relationship. This is an event when they will need to rely on their friends and families more than ever before, and will need the support network to not apportion blame to the other parent.

As the days and months grind on, other events will arise that will then bring back all the emotions felt for the death of their child sending the intense pain back to the bereaved parents at the point of the initial loss. These events include, birthdays, Christmas, Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day etc.

So how can you support a bereaved parent? The Lullaby Trust has compiled a list that may be helpful but is not a to-do list and it is important to remember that each situation is different. The Lullaby Trust has put together some guidance on how to support a bereaved parent; we use their guidance with thanks to them:

  • Allow the bereaved person to express whatever he or she is feeling, even if these feelings seem intense and frightening.
  • Try not to use any language that may be judgemental.
  • Be available to listen to the parents talk as much and as often as they wish about the baby or child who died. This can be helpful for them.
  • It may be difficult for you to hear, so make sure you seek support for yourself if you think this would be helpful.
  • Bereaved parents often want to talk about their child and be allowed to remember them.
  • Talk freely about the special qualities of the child and do not avoid mentioning the subject.
  • Use the child’s name.
  • Suggest you look together at photographs, if the parent seems comforted by photos and keepsakes.
  • Try not to offer ‘reassurance’ on things you are not completely certain about, and which may indeed remain uncertain.
  • Give special attention to any other children in the family, especially if the parents are too distressed themselves to give them comfort or attend to their individual needs.
  • Offer to help with practical matters: telephoning, shopping, cooking and childminding, but avoid the temptation to take control.
  • Do not, however, wash any item of clothing or bedding without being asked, as many parents find great comfort from things that still smell like their child. Unless you are asked, do not pack away the child’s belongings.
  • Never put or throw anything away as this may be regretted later. Usually parents will deal with the child’s belongings when they are ready for them. This can be an important part of coming to terms with the death.
  • Never tell the grieving person what he or she should do or how they should feel.
  • Remember everyone reacts differently and it is important to accept the differences.
  • Do not try to find something positive in the bereavement experience. That is something the parents may or may not want to do themselves at a later stage.
  • Your offers of support, especially at first, may be received without obvious gratitude, or even ungraciously, but try not to let this lead to an end to your contact or friendship.
  • Parents are often very distressed at losing a valued relationship because neither side knew how to react to such a tragedy at first. If you can remain sensitive to a family’s changing needs as their bereavement goes on, and continue to keep in touch and offer practical help, this will be valuable support.

The Lullaby Trust is there for anyone in the family affected by the loss of a child, their helpline is 0808 802 6868 or you can contact them on

In returning to the main aim of this month’s article, we take a look at the succession to the throne, the next 20 in line to the British throne are:

      1. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, (b.1948)
      2. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, (b.1982)
      3. Prince George of Cambridge, (b.2013)
      4. Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, (b.2015)
      5. Prince Louis of Cambridge, (b.2018)
      6. Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, (b.1984)
      7. Archie Mountbatten-Windsor (b.2019)
      8. Prince Andrew, Duke of York, (b.1960)
      9. Princess Beatrice of York (b.1988)
      10. Princess Eugenie of York (b.1990)
      11. Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex (b.1964)
      12. James Mountbatten-Windsor, Viscount Severn (b.2007)
      13. Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor (b.2003)
      14. Princess Anne, Princess Royal (b.1950)
      15. Peter Phillips (b.1977)
      16. Savannah Phillips (b.2010)
      17. Isla Phillips (b.2012)
      18. Zara Tindall (neé Phillips) (b.1981)
      19. Mia Tindall (b.2014)
      20. Lena Tindall (b.2018).

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