Tatler's Royal Baby Watch: Archie Harrison, First Child Of Prince Harry And Meghan Markle
Even before he was delivered, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first-born has been shrouded in mystery. Against royal tradition, the Sussexes chose to keep the details of Meghan’s pregnancy and delivery private from the public, only sharing the baby’s public moment after they've first celebrated as a family.
After months of speculation over the birth of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal baby, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was finally born, albeit slightly overdue. The Buckingham Palace announced on May 6 at 6:30am (GMT+1) that the Duchess of Sussex had gone into labour at the early hours of the morning, and confirmed one hour later that the baby boy was safely delivered at 5:26am, weighing 7lbs. 3oz. at birth.
A beaming Harry appeared live from the Windsor Castle, sharing that the “little thing is absolutely to die for” and that it has “been the most amazing experience [he] could ever possibly imagine”. The Sussexes then appeared for a photocall two days later to present the royal family's latest addition.
Since the public appearance, Prince Harry has continued to be fiercely protective of his child’s privacy, extending to the Sussex baby’s christening on July 6, which was an intimate affair at a private chapel in Windsor Castle.
Here’s everything we know about Archie so far.
The royal christening
While royal christenings have always been private, the press is usually given access to photograph royal members and other guests as they enter the church. This wasn’t the case for baby Archie’s baptism, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex choosing to release the images via their Instagram three hours later.
Officiated by Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, Archie was baptised using holy water from the Jordan River and the Lily Font, which has been used for the christening of royal babies since 1840. A gilded silver bowl decorated with lilies, ivies, and cherubs, it was designed by Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert and is estimated to be worth £11,000 (about S$18,747.52).
In royal tradition, Archie was also dressed in a handmade replica of the royal christening gown, which was first commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1841 and worn by royal infants for generations, including the Queen herself and her descendants. The original gown was last worn by the Queen’s granddaughter Lady Louise Windsor in 2004 before being retired.
Just a small group of 25 friends and family were invited to the ceremony, which included Prince Charles, Camilla, Doria Ragland, Prince William, and Kate Middleton. Princess Diana’s sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes, as well as Prince Harry’s former royal nanny Tiggy Pettifer, were also in attendance.
Who are Archie’s godparents?
In an Instagram post expressing joy and gratitude for the celebration, the caption noted that “Their Royal Highnesses feel fortunate to have enjoyed this day with family and the godparents of Archie.” While the names of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis’ godparents were all made public, the Sussexes have once again chosen to keep things private. But that hasn’t stopped royal fans from taking their guess.
Prince Harry's school friend Charlie van Straubenzee, in particular, has been named as one of Archie’s godfathers by The Sunday Times. Meanwhile, Meghan’s close friends, fashion stylist Jessica Mulroney and tennis star Serena Williams have also been speculated to be the royal baby’s godmothers.
When will Archie be in public next?
Fans of the cherubic royal will see him as part of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s tour to South Africa this autumn. As an Instagram post on @SussexRoyal announced, “this will be their first official tour as a family”.
The tour is likely taking place in October, which puts Archie at about five months old—the youngest royal to ever go on a royal tour. However, it is not confirmed if the baby will be making any official appearances.
The origins of Archie's name
Names that punters were betting on included traditional names like Albert, Arthur, Alexander, James, Phillip, Henry, Frederick, Thomas, and Edward—though the Sussexes surprised everyone with a name that's completely different.
On the afternoon on May 8, Harry and Meghan announced the name of their baby—Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. Archie, which is a variation of Archibald is of German origin. The name is derived from the Germanic elements ercan and bald, which means "precious" and "bold", and is quite popular amongst British baby names. As for his middle name, it literally means son of Harry.
Mountbatten-Windsor is a surname used by male descendants of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip who do not have a royal title, and also by members of the Royal Family when a surname is required.
The where and how
When the Sussexes made their move to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, royal watchers predicted that they would choose Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey—15 miles from their new home—instead of the luxurious Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, where Princess Ann, Princess Diana, and most recently Kate Middleton have chosen to deliver.
It was later rumoured that Meghan planned to have a natural home birth at the Frogmore Cottage, reportedly appointing her own all-female delivery team to oversee her child’s birth, instead of the Royal Household gynaecologists.
With a recent release of Archie's birth certificate, it was confirmed that Meghan had delivered the baby at Portland Hospital instead.
Will Archie be a prince?
Unlike Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louise, the latest royal baby will not be made a prince—unless the Queen decides to make him one. This is because Baby Sussex, who is now seventh in line to the throne, is too far down the line of succession.
Instead, he could become the Earl of Dumbarton, one of the subsidiary titles the Queen bestowed upon Harry on the morning of his wedding, as a courtesy.
Harry and Meghan, however, have decided to style him as Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, in accordance with their wishes that he can grow up as a private citizen.
This is a developing story. Watch this space for updates on the royal baby.