Meghan Markle: Expert discusses birth certificate change
There has been a royal spat playing out in the media over the past week regarding Archie’s birth certificate. It has emerged that the Duchess of Sussex had her given names ‘Rachel Meghan’ removed from her son’s documentation just three weeks after they were registered, leaving just ‘Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex’. It was claimed she had requested it herself, but Meghan insisted the Palace had “dictated” the change.
A source told Express.co.uk yesterday: “The birth certificate was changed by the former Office of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex to ensure consistency in the name and title of The Duchess of Sussex with other private documents.”
However, in some ways, Archie’s birth certificate marks the ending of a royal feud, and that is over the use of the name Mountbatten-Windsor.
The name Mountbatten-Windsor comes from the Duke of Edinburgh’s familial name and the Royal House’s Windsor, which was chosen by George V in 1917.
The Royal Family’s surname had previously been Saxe-Coburg and Gotha but due to anti-German sentiment at the time, it was considered prudent to change this.
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Meghan Markle with her son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor
The Queen and Prince Philip got married in 1947
When the Queen had Prince Charles and Princess Anne, Philip wanted to pass down his surname to his children, as is tradition in British and many other cultures.
However, he met some resistance from the Queen Mother and Queen Mary, who believed the royal surname of Windsor needed to prevail.
When the Queen came to the throne in 1952, Winston Churchill and his Cabinet put pressure on her to continue using Windsor and, although she sympathised with her husband’s feelings, she agreed with the Prime Minister.
She issued a public declaration on April 9, 1952 that “her children will be styled and known as the house and family of Windsor”.
Prince Philip was determined to pass his name on to his children
However, Philip never let the subject go and, in 1960, when the Queen was pregnant with Prince Andrew, she pushed for a compromise on his behalf.
In the end, it was decided that those of the Queen’s descendants not entitled to the HRH style, not a prince or princess, or female descendants who married, could use the Mountbatten name.
However, this situation did not arrive until the birth of Prince Edward’s first child, because Charles and Andrew’s children were HRH, while Anne’s children took the name of her husband Mark Phillips.
Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, decided not to give their children HRH titles, and they subsequently took on Philip’s name.
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Prince Edward, his wife Sophie and children Louise and James
Their decision was seen as an opportunity for their children to have a more normal life;.
Their daughter Louise was the first royal baby to have Mountbatten-Windsor on their birth certificate, followed by their son James.
It was announced by Buckingham Palace on November 27, 2003, that their first child would bear the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.
Their children’s full names are Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary Mountbatten-Windsor and James Alexander Philip Theo Mountbatten-Windsor.
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However, they are styled as the more memorable Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.
Archie was the third royal baby to have Mountbatten-Windsor on his birth certificate, his full name being Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
Philip will likely be overjoyed that his name has survived the generations, because he was said to be “deeply hurt” when he found out his children would not receive his name.
He complained that he was the “only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his children”.
The Duke reportedly shouted: “It makes me an amoeba, a blood amoeba.”
Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor is Meghan and Harry’s only child
It is believed he was particularly aggrieved because he had already had to give up his Greek nationality, renounce his born titles and become a naturalised British citizen.
According to the book ‘Elizabeth the Queen’ by Sally Bedell Smith, the Queen told Harold Macmillian that she “absolutely needed to revisit” the issue of the family name because it had been “irritating her husband since 1952”.
Ms Bedell Smith cited an entry in Mr Macmillan’s diary in which he wrote: “The Queen only wishes to do something to please her husband – with whom she is desperately in love.
“What upsets me is the prince’s almost brutal attitude to the Queen over all this.”
‘Elizabeth the Queen’ was written by Sally Bedell Smith and published by Penguin in 2012. It is available here.