(CNN) When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had their first child, Archie, he was not granted a royal title. It is not clear if one was offered and declined by Queen Elizabeth II, or not offered at all. But it raised eyebrows.
That’s because it would have been customary for the monarch to offer a title like earl to someone so high in the line of succession. Many assumed Prince Harry and Meghan turned down a title in order to allow their new son to lead a more normal life, away from the limelight and official duties.
A royal source at the time didn’t elaborate, but did point out to CNN that Archie would automatically become a prince if his grandfather took the throne. Our hypothesis at the time was that all of the Sussexes’ children would take their royal titles when the time came.
When Lilibet Diana was born in 2021, little fuss was made about her lack of an official title. But over time, as tensions between the Sussexes and the rest of the royal family escalated, it wasn’t clear if they still wanted to entrust their children to the institution or perhaps let the kids do it when they were older.
This week we found out. Confirmation that both Sussex children will use their royal titles was subtly included in a brief statement from a spokesman for the couple, which read: “I can confirm that on Friday March 3rd Princess Lilibet Diana died of the (Bishop) of Los Angeles was baptized. Rev. John Taylor.”
Lilibet and her brother Archie became entitled to the titles of princess and prince when their grandfather ascended the throne. But it was recognized for the first time this week.
Buckingham Palace did not officially comment on the ensuing media frenzy, which questioned why the titles have now been reconfirmed. Some wondered why the Sussexes would want their young children to take the titles when they have been so critical of the monarchy since moving to the States.
A spokesman for the couple told CNN on Thursday that the titles were the children’s “birthrights,” before adding that “the matter has been settled in accordance with Buckingham Palace for some time.”
Meanwhile, a palace source tells us that Lilibet’s new title aligns with the precedent set by the 1917 Letters Patent issued by George V, which confers the title of prince or princess on the sovereign’s male grandchildren.
The implication here is that King Charles III. was aware of this and his grandchildren approved of their titles. In theory, if the king had not approved the move, they could have stripped their titles – although doing so would have required him to issue a new patent to replace the historic guidance. Despite some previous reports, there has never been any indication from the palace that they intend to do so, and quite frankly it would only have exacerbated already strained family relations.
Archie and Lilibet’s titles were subsequently updated on the royal family’s website. Under the line of succession, the references “Master” and “Miss” were replaced by “Prince Archie of Sussex” and “Princess Lilibet of Sussex” in the rundown at number six and seven, respectively, confirming the United States is the home of the newest princes and princesses of the world.
Prince Edward has taken on many responsibilities previously held by Prince Philip, including developing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards.
Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet’s titles weren’t the only updates on the monarchy’s website this week. Buckingham Palace announced on Friday morning that the King had bestowed the title of Duke of Edinburgh on his youngest brother, Prince Edward, for the prince’s 59th birthday.
The title, previously bestowed on her father, Prince Philip, will remain with Edward throughout his life and revert to the crown upon his death. Although technically still the Earl of Forfar, Edward will now use the title of Duke of Edinburgh as he is older.
Edward’s wife Sophie now becomes Duchess of Edinburgh, while their son James, Viscount Severn, assumes his father’s other previous title, Earl of Wessex. For the couple’s daughter, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, nothing changes due to the centuries-old primogeniture which put male heirs ahead of females.
Like the recognition of Sussex’s children’s titles, Prince Edward’s new title isn’t entirely unexpected. When he and Sophie married in 1999, it had been announced that the duchy would pass to him upon Philip’s death. However, the lack of exercise in the two years since his father’s death sparked speculation as to whether it would actually happen.
Prince Edward reflected on his father’s legacy in a conversation with us at St James’ Palace in 2021.
In the royal diary
Charles and Camilla arrive at Westminster Abbey for last year’s Commonwealth Day service ceremony.
The royal family will make their way to Westminster Abbey on Monday for the annual Commonwealth Day service. As Head of the Commonwealth, the King will be joined by the Queen Consort and other senior royals, including the Prince and Princess of Wales, the new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, and Princess Anne and her husband, Vice Admiral Tim Laurence.
After the service, the royals return to Buckingham Palace to welcome the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, High Commissioners, Foreign Secretary and other members of the Commonwealth community to the traditional Commonwealth Day reception.
what else happens
Coronation holy oil dedicated in Jerusalem.
The sacred oil used to honor King Charles III. to anoint at his coronation on May 6 was dedicated at a Christian holy site in Jerusalem. The “Christian oil” was made from olives harvested from two groves on the Mount of Olives, a ridge east of Jerusalem’s Old City that is of religious importance to Christians. According to Buckingham Palace, olives were pressed from the Convent of Mary Magdalene and the Convent of the Assumption just outside Bethlehem, where Christians believe Jesus was born. Read more about this story here.
The chrism oil was consecrated in a special ceremony held by the Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Anglican Archbishop of Jerusalem.
photo of the week
Catherine, Princess of Wales, helps Lance Corporal Jodie Newell tend to a ‘wounded soldier’ during an exercise during her visit to the Irish Guards on Salisbury Plain, southern England. The Princess of Wales paid a visit to the 1st Battalion of the Irish Guards for the first time since being appointed Colonel of the Regiment to learn about the work at the Salisbury Plain Training Area.
Check out this interactive content on CNN.com
The Duke of Sussex sent a message to mark the 40th anniversary of the Terrence Higgins Trust – an HIV and sexual health charity he has been involved with for a number of years and with which Princess Diana previously worked closely. Harry added, “While my mother has not lived to see the success of today’s treatments, I am very proud to be able to continue her advocacy with you.”