Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Sussex are continuing to balance innovation with the need to maintain traditions in their choice of name for their son.
Hours after the world saw its first glimpse of Meghan and Harry’s new son, the newborn’s name was revealed on their official Instagram account as Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
While there are no rules for choosing names, the British royal family likes to honor those who came before them. Bookmakers had Arthur and Edward, as well as Philip (a nod to Harry’s grandfather), among their top choices for a newborn son. But none of these made the cut.
“Instead of a traditional royal name, they chose a name they loved,” said CNN’s royal correspondent Max Foster. “What they are very much doing is reflecting their generation. They are not looking to history, they are looking to now.”
Archie Harrison may not have any precedent in the royal family, apart from Archibald Douglas, the 6th Earl of Angus who was Scotland’s King James V’s stepfather until Margaret Tudor, the elder sister of England’s Henry VIII, divorced him in the 16th century. But digging further back to 1066, using data from Britannica Academic and the monarchy’s official website, CNN has not found the name Archie or Harrison among the names of any British monarch and their immediate offspring.
Seventh in line to the throne, Archie Harrison does not qualify immediately for the title of prince.
Buckingham Palace told CNN on Wednesday the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have chosen not to use any title at all for their son.
While Archie will have the right to use his father’s second peerage title, Earl of Dumbarton – his parents have indicated they won’t be using it for him.
However, when Prince Charles becomes King, Prince Harry’s son will automatically become His Royal Highness Prince Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
It is not unheard of to decline to bestow titles: Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter Zara Phillips did the same with her daughters Mia Grace and Lena Elizabeth.
Harry and Meghan’s son’s name is not the first trailblazing moment for the new royal couple, following their wedding ceremony last May that seemed to make a statement at every turn.
In a striking image, the outspoken American divorcée walked unescorted part of the way down the aisle followed by her 10 bridesmaids and page boys. The couple then listened to a stirring address by Bishop Michael Curry, the first African-American head of the Episcopal Church in the United States.
His impassioned speech was followed by a performance of the Ben E. King classic “Stand by Me” by The Kingdom Choir, a group of 20 gospel singers.
The couple also announced the royal baby was a boy on their official Instagram page, hours before the ceremonial easel was placed at the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in London.
The bulletin read that Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family were “delighted at the news that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex was safely delivered of a son.”