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Archie not entitled to Prince status despite Meghan Markle claim in Oprah interview

Queen’s relationship with Archie has ’survived’ says insider

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Prince Harry and his wife Meghan made some extraordinary comments in their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey on CBS, especially those regarding their son Archie. Meghan said: “What was happening behind closed doors is we knew I was pregnant, we now know it was Archie and it was a boy, we didn’t know any of that was the time, we can just talk about it as Archie now. “And that was when they were saying they didn’t want him to be a Prince or Princess ‒ not knowing what the gender was ‒ and that he wasn’t going to receive security.”

She added: “This went on for the last few months of our pregnancy where I was going, hold on for a second.”

However, according to the Letters Patent, which decides who inherits which titles, the grandchildren of the Prince of Wales who are not born to their oldest child are not entitled to the Prince or Princess status.

Indeed, the original Letters Patent from George V in 1917 limited these titles to the children of the Sovereign, the children of the sons of the Sovereign and the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, who would be Prince George.

There have been a number of other Letters Patent since that affect title inheritance, including King George VI’s in 1948 just before Prince Charles’ birth.

This was because the 1917 decree excluded the children of the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, from taking a royal title and style.

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The King declared that the children of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh should “hold the style, title or attitude of Royal Highness and titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names”.

In 1996, the Queen issued Letters Patent which removed the title HRH from former wives, meaning Diana, Princess of Wales and Sarah, Duchess of York, were no longer HRH after their divorce.

Finally, in 2012, the Queen declared that all children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales should be HRH, not just the eldest son, which is why Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis have their titles.

This ruling came alongside legal changes to the line of succession, which removed the preferential treatment for males.

However, nowhere in any of these Letters Patent does it say that children of other children of the Prince of Wales should be given a Prince or Princess title.

For example, Prince Edward ‒ who is the Earl of Wessex ‒ has a son who has taken on his secondary title ‒ James, Viscount Severn.

It was reported at the time that the couple had “chosen not to use a courtesy title”.

It was suggested that the couple had made a decision not to give Archie a title so that he could enjoy a more normal life, but Meghan claimed to Oprah: “It was not our decision to make”.

Due to this, Archie was never entitled to hold such a title at birth.

The Queen does sometimes give courtesy titles and Archie could have been given a title that was appropriate for the child of a Duke, given that his father is the Duke of Sussex.

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She added: “Even though I have a lot of clarity of what comes with titles good and bad… that is their birthright to then make a choice about.”

If Letters Patent stay as they are, Archie will become a Prince when Prince Charles becomes King, given that grandchildren of a monarch in the male line are entitled to such a title.

However, Meghan indicated that these protocols might be changed.

She said: “Even with that convention [that allows all grandchildren of the monarch to be princes and princess] they said, ‘I want to change the convection for Archie’. Well, why?”

Prince Charles has long been known to be in favour of a slimmed-down monarchy.

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However, no Letters Patent has been issued so far that would indicate Archie’s right to be a prince when Charles becomes King has been revoked.

Meghan claimed that security would not be paid for Archie without the title of Prince.

Asked whether it was important to her that he became a Prince, she replied: “If it meant he was going to be safe, then of course.”

However, extended members of the Royal Family do not have an automatic right to police security.

It is a decision that is made between the Royal Family, the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police.

Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, despite their titles, no longer have security paid for by the taxpayer.

At birth, Beatrice and Eugenie were fifth and sixth in line to the throne and Archie was seventh.

Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah has come after the couple stepped down as senior royals last year.

They have since moved to the US and agreed to stop using their HRH titles.

The couple are expecting their second child ‒ which they revealed to be a girl ‒ in the summer.

Oprah With Meghan and Harry is on ITV at 9pm on Monday March 8. You can watch the full interview afterwards on the ITV hub.

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