Why Does Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor Have a Last Name and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Don’t?

Last week, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle finally met their bundle of joy. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son was born on Monday, May 6, 2019, at 5:26 A.M. BST. And, contrary to their initial plans of waiting to share the news, the new parents wasted no time in telling the public. “I am very excited to announce that Meghan and myself had a baby boy early this morning,” Prince Harry told members of the press outside of his Windsor Estate home. “Mother and baby are doing incredibly well,” he added.  

Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor | DOMINIC LIPINSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Following his announcement — and after a couple of days of alone time as a family of three — Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and Baby Sussex made their first official appearance at Windsor Castle on Wednesday. Afterward, took to social media to share their son’s name. “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are pleased to announce they have named their first born child: Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor,” they shared alongside a photo of the royal baby meeting Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip for the first time.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s baby’s name

After sharing the news with the world, many were surprised by the royal baby’s name. Archie was low on the list of top contenders (most had their money on Arthur, Alexander, Spencer, Charles, and Philip) and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex only chose one middle name for their bundle of joy — breaking away from the tradition of two to three names. But, perhaps what was most surprising was Baby Sussex’s last name: Mountbatten-Windsor.

Archie Harrison’s last name

Why does Baby Archie have a last name and his parents don’t? As with most everything in the royal family, it all comes down to tradition, rules, and royal titles. Unlike Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, Archie didn’t receive an official royal title upon birth.

While the reason isn’t entirely known, it could come down to the fact that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle want their son to grow up in a normal setting and likely turned down Queen Elizabeth’s offer to make him Prince Archie of Sussex.

However, according to the royal family rules, only the monarch’s children and grandchildren can receive prince and princess titles. Given their place in the royal family and line of succession, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis all likely received royal titles from their great-grandmother as an exception to the rule. As seventh in line to the British throne, it’s possible that Queen Elizabeth didn’t see it necessary to make Baby Archie a prince.

What does all of this have to do with last names? In the royal family, official royal titles take precedence over surnames. Those that hold a His or Her Royal Highness title — like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — don’t require a last name, but those that don’t have such status must use the royal family’s last name, Mountbatten-Windsor.

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