Why Harry's Son Is Not A Prince

The Duke of Sussex has just presented his newborn son to the world. And the name made a stir in the discussion table of royal observers. Archie sounds very informal for a tradition-laden naming of royal babies, and Harrison is very American, which led to many speculations that Harry's wife, Megan Markle, an American TV starlet before marrying the sixth in line to the throne, has a dominant hand in choosing the name.

The Duke of Sussex holding his infant son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor

Even before their marriage in 2018, Harry and Meghan had already broke many royal customs, things that raised eyebrows from the conservative circle of royalists. So it's not surprising they'll pick an odd name for their son, who is seventh in line of succession to the British throne, pushing Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, one step lower from the throne.

Archie Harrison, is deliberately unconventional for a name of a British prince but let it sinks to our mind from now on. The Sussexes are up for some oddity.

But unlike his cousins, the Cambridges, Archie wouldn't be known as prince while his grandfather, Charles, the Prince of Wales, is not yet on the throne. He will be known as Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

It's also a tradition in the British nobility to let the eldest son carry the second title of his living father, like the son of Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex. Viscount Severn is the second title of the Earl of Wessex which is currently carried by his son, James.

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Queen also came to see their great grandson. Meghan Markle's mother was also there.

So Harry's son might be known as Lord Dumbarton, taken from his second peer title, Earl of Dumbarton, an ancient nobility title in Scotland. Officially, British royals rarely used their Christian names in formal occasions, it's always the courtesy titles. So we might never hear too often about Archie in papers but Lord Dumbarton instead.

This title protocol of not calling Archie a prince is based on "The George V Convention" established in 1917 by the Queen's grandfather, King George V. It can be overturned, anyway, if the Queen wishes to. But as of now, while there's no letters patent issued, it will be followed.

So what's this George V Convention? 

In 1917, following the changing of the royal house name of the British royal family, from Saxe-Coburg Gotha to Windsor, King George V decided to limit royal titles within the royal family members. He declared that prince and princess titles must only be bestowed to the children of the reigning sovereign, to the sovereign's grandchildren on the male line and to the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales. 

In 1960, before the birth of Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth II added a provision to the decree, stating that any grandchildren and great grandchildren of her who wouldn't be carrying titles of a prince and princess would carry the surname, Mountbatten-Windsor, combined family names of Prince Philip (The Duke of Edinburgh was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark but in 1947 before his marriage to Princess Elizabeth he gave up his Greek royal title and adopted his maternal grandfather's anglicized surname of Mountbatten) and the British ruling family (Windsor). Obviously, Prince Harry's son falls under this decree.

The infant boy will not be known also as His Royal Highness while Prince Charles is not yet a king. When Charles ascends the throne someday, Archie will most likely known as HRH Prince Archie of Sussex, just like the Queen's cousins, Prince Richard of Gloucester and Prince Edward of Kent, during the reign of King George V.

Still intrigued with the unconventional names of Prince Charles's third grandson? According to other sources, the infant's names actually have some touches of history. Archie is an informal nickname of Archibald, a popular name of medieval knights and kings which means "the bold" or "the brave". Harrison means "son of Henry". Prince Harry's complete name is Henry Charles Albert David. So his son's name means "the brave son of Henry". 😊

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