The boy was born at 7 pounds, 3 ounces at 5:26 a.m. local time, according to a press release. But the anticipation over what the Duchess will choose as her first royal baby name has been in full swing since she announced her pregnancy in October. Whether the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex will name their royal baby with something conventional by royal standards or something different is up for debate.
Following his son’s birth, Prince Harry told reporters on Monday that he and the Duchess are thrilled. “This little thing is absolutely to die for,” he said. “I’m just over the moon.” The Sussex family made its first appearance together Wednesday, and announced his name soon after.
Though it’s been widely believed that Meghan and Prince Harry are going against convention in their marriage, any notion that their approach to their royal duties breaks tradition is basically false, according to Victoria Arbiter, a royal expert and commentator for CNN. The royal couple doesn’t tend to stray as far from tradition as people may think, she says. “They haven’t broken any rules, but they’re certainly doing things their way,” Arbiter tells TIME.
Still, the naming of this royal child is, in essence, less consequential than the naming of royals who are higher on the line of succession. Meghan Markle’s baby is the seventh heir to the throne, providing a bit more “leniency” to the naming process, Arbiter explains.
The child won’t have an HRH affixed to its name — he will not be called a “prince” — the naming process for Meghan and Harry had even more space for creativity.
As the stakes are a bit lower than they are for HRH-affixed royal names, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was free to call the royal baby something untraditional, according to royal expert, Vanity Fair royal correspondent and the author of Harry and Meghan: Life, Loss, and Love, Katie Nicholl. “There’s a lot of speculation that Meghan’s going to want to go for something quite untraditional, possibly an American name or a modern name. It’s possible,” Nicholl tells TIME.
Though the name Archie was not popular in gambling, according to Ladbrokes, a U.K.-based betting firm, it’s a widely popular boy’s name in Britain, earning no. 18 on the 2017 top 100 boys’ names in England and Wales. It was always likely that Prince Harry would yearn to follow tradition, Nicholl said, because all the other royal children have pretty traditional names, too.
But Arbiter thought that the pair might have looked to the family tree for inspiration. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may honor Prince Philip, just as it was a “given” that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge named their first child Prince George — now the third in line to the throne — after King George VI, Queen Elizabeth II’s father.
It’s not Prince Harry fighting alone for the traditional, though, Nicholl predicts. “I think [Markle] understands and respects the traditional institution that she’s married into.”
At the end of the day, Arbiter says that the name of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s baby is completely up to them. The Queen only plays a small role in naming the child. Parents get to make their own decisions and choose their child’s name. “The Queen is not a dictator by any stretch of the imagination,” Arbiter says.
Still, including the Queen in the naming and making sure she’s notified of the final decision first is definitely a royal custom. “She’s the head of the family, she’s been Queen for over 66 years — really it’s just a mark of respect to the matriarch of the family,” Arbiter says.
If Wednesday’s photos of a smiling Queen and her family is any indication, she seems pretty thrilled with little baby Archie.
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