One of the most dramatic points in Prince Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey was the allegation that their son was deprived of a royal title, possibly due to the color of his skin.
The son of Enrique and Meghan, seventh in line to the British throne, is Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. In contrast, the children of Henry’s older brother, Prince William, are Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.
Meghan said that while she was pregnant “they” – presumably the palace – “were saying they didn’t want him to be a prince … which would be different from protocol.”
He hinted that it could be the case of the “first member of color in this family who does not receive a title in the same way that other grandchildren would receive.”
Archie was exiled?
Queen Elizabeth II has nine great-grandchildren, including Archie. They are not princes and princesses, apart from the three sons of William, who is second in line to the throne and is destined to be king one day.
A decree issued by King George V in 1917 limits the titles of prince and princess to children of monarchs, children of children of monarchs and “the oldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales” – or Prince George, son of Guillermo.
Bob Morris of the Constitution Unit at University College London said the rule was written to cut back on the growing number of unwieldy princely titles.
“Queen Victoria had nine children who were all princes and princesses, and then they had children and so on, and George V felt … that something should be done to fix the situation,” he said.
The queen has the power to amend the rules, and in 2012 she decreed that all the children of Prince William and his wife Catherine, not just the eldest, would be princes and princesses.
Under the George V convention, Archie is not a prince, but will become the grandson of a monarch once the current heir to the throne, Prince Charles, is king.
In her interview, Meghan said that they told her they “want to change the convention for Archie.”
It’s unclear what he was referring to, but Morris said Prince Charles has reported that he “prefers a smaller royal family.”
Archie was eligible for a “courtesy title” at birth, like Lord Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. At the time, it was reported that Harry and Meghan had decided not to give him a title.
But Meghan told Winfrey that “the decision was not ours.”
Does the title affect Archie’s safety?
Meghan expressed concern that, without a title, Archie “was not going to receive security.”
But a royal title like prince or princess does not automatically carry security protection. Full-time royals – including Meghan and Harry before they moved to North America last year – receive taxpayer-funded bodyguards. Senior members of the royalty who have jobs outside the family, such as princesses Beatriz and Eugenia, daughters of Prince Andrew, do not.
Buckingham Palace did not respond to specific allegations in the interview. In a statement, he said that “the issues raised, particularly that of race, are worrisome. While some memories may vary, they are taken very seriously and the family will take care of them privately. “