During their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey last year, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle discussed the reason their son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, was not given a royal title upon his birth. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex refuted claims it was their decision to forgo a title for Archie.
“They didn’t want him to be a prince or a princess, which would be different from protocol,” Meghan said at the time. “It was really hard. This went on for the last few months of our pregnancy where I’m going, ‘Hold on a second. How does that work? If he’s not going to be a prince, he needs to be safe.’"
The former working royals added that they were given “no explanation” for the palace's decision to withhold royal titles from Archie. “I heard a lot of it through Harry and other parts through conversations with family members," Meghan continued. "It was a decision they felt was appropriate.”
Though Harry and Meghan insist they had no say in whether or not Archie was given the title of "prince," there is another royal title the parents did choose not to pass on to their son—Earl of Dumbarton. This title was bestowed upon Harry by Queen Elizabeth as a wedding present. Archie is now the heir to that title.
“[Archie] could have taken the title [of] the Earl of Dumbarton, which is an honorary title, but [Harry and Meghan] decided against that because they felt that the word ‘dumb’ in the word ‘Dumbarton’ would have been used as mockery when Archie went to school,” royal biographer Andrew Morton told Us Weekly. Harry and Meghan have not responded to Morton's claims.
Morton also addressed the issue of Archie not being named a prince upon is birth. "There was, as they both were well aware of, no chance of getting a title until Prince Charles takes over because they’re only given the title of prince or princess [as] the son or grandson of the reigning sovereign and Archie was a great-grandson of the reigning sovereign," Morton explained.
Another palace insider reiterated Morton's claims, saying Buckingham Palace was following royal tradition by not naming Archie as a prince. Under royal protocol established by King George V, only those in the direct line of succession to the throne get the titles [of] prince or princess," the source divulged.
It seems likely that the issue will be revisited when Prince Charles one day becomes king. Royal historian Robert Lacey believes Charles will allow Archie and Lili to assume titles, should they want them, when he's the sovereign. "I don't think he will make the unpopular and hostile move of removing the royal status of his grandchildren," Lacey told People. Lacey also believes Charles will have a more personal issue to attend to once he's king—he wants to upgrade his wife's title from the agreed-upon Princess Consort to Queen Consort.