The children of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will now be referred to as prince and princess after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made public that they are claiming the royal titles.
The announcement came after the christening of Princess Lilibet in California, where the Sussexes live now that they are no longer working members of the royal family.
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“I can confirm that Princess Lilibet Diana was christened on Friday, March 3 by the Archbishop of Los Angeles, the Rev. John Taylor,” a spokesperson for the couple said on Wednesday, using the full title of “Princess Lilibet” for the first time.
Under royal rules, the monarch’s grandchildren can become princes or princesses of the realm. This means that Harry’s children, Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1, have been eligible to use the titles since their grandfather became king last September.
Until now, it was unclear if Harry and Markle wanted their children to be referred to as prince and princess.
The interest in Harry’s children’s titles comes after his relationship with his father, King Charles, hit rock bottom following the release of his tell-all memoir earlier this year. The book included numerous negative allegations against the royal family, including a claim that his older brother, Prince William, had been physically violent with him.
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Just last week, it was revealed that King Charles had evicted Harry and Markle from their U.K. residence Frogmore Cottage, a day after the book was published.
On the royal family’s website, Archie and Lilibet continue to be referred to as “master” and “miss.” A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said the royal website would be updated to reflect the title changes in “due course.”
Modern rules about who can style themselves as prince and princess in the British royal family come from a precedent set by King George V, who in 1917 issued a letters patent intended to shrink the size of the monarchy. He limited the use of such titles to children and male line grandchildren of the sovereign.
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Queen Elizabeth II then tweaked the rules to confer titles to all children of the Prince of Wales.
When Archie and Lilibet were born, they were great-grandchildren of the then-reigning Queen Elizabeth II, meaning they were not eligible to use the titles.
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Markle said in an interview two years ago that the British royal family refused to make her son Archie a prince and had conversations about how dark his skin might be.
The ever-widening rift between the Sussexes and the Royal Family could mean they may skip out on the coronation of King Charles III on May 6.
Harry and Markle have received an invitation, but declined to say if they would attend. The coronation is set to fall on Archie’s fourth birthday.
— With files from Reuters
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