A claim about the royal line of succession made by Meghan Markle about her son, Archie, has stirred up debate about royal titles within the British monarchy.
Among the many shocking revelations made by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in their sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey was that their son, whose full name is Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, was denied the royal title of “Prince” despite being the grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II.
At the time, Markle implied that the baby’s skin color, given the fact that she is bi-racial, may have played a factor in the decision.
She noted that Archie is “the first member of color in this family not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be.” The children of Harry’s brother, Prince William, were given the royal titles Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
PRINCE HARRY TOLD OPRAH QUEEN ELIZABETH, PRINCE PHILIP WERE NOT PART OF CONVERSATIONS OVER ARCHIE’S SKIN TONE
However, those familiar with royal history have a different explanation for why baby Archie was not given a royal title.
Queen Elizabeth II has nine great-grandchildren, including Archie. They are not princes and princesses, apart from the three children of Prince William, who is second in line to the throne and destined to be king one day.
A decree issued by King George V in 1917 limits the titles of prince and princess to the children of the monarch, children of the monarch’s sons and “the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales” — that’s William’s son Prince George.
Bob Morris from the Constitution Unit at University College London, said the rule was drawn up to trim the increasingly unwieldy number of princely titles.
“Queen Victoria had nine children who were all princes and princesses, and then they had children and so forth, and George V took the view … that something needed to be done to tidy up 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.
MEGHAN MARKLE SAYS THERE WERE ‘CONCERNS AND CONVERSATIONS’ ABOUT ‘HOW DARK’ SON ARCHIE’S SKIN COLOR WOULD BE
Under the George V convention, Archie is not a prince, but will become one as the grandchild of a monarch once current heir to the throne Prince Charles is king.
In her interview, Meghan said she was told that “they want to change the convention for Archie.”
It is unclear what she was referring to, but Morris said Prince Charles has let it be known “that he favors a smaller royal family” when he takes the throne.
Archie was eligible for a “courtesy title” at birth, such as Lord Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. At the time, it was reported that Harry and Meghan had chosen not to give him a title.
But Meghan told Winfrey that “it was not our decision to make.”
Another claim made by Markle in her tell-all with Winfrey was that she feared the lack of a “prince” title would impact whether or not Archie gets security.
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However, a royal title such as prince or princess does not automatically bring security protection. Full-time working royals — including Meghan and Harry before they moved to North America last year — receive taxpayer-funded police bodyguards. Senior royals who have jobs outside the family, such as Prince Andrew’s daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, do not.
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Buckingham Palace has not responded to specific allegations in the interview. In a statement, it said “the issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.