Meghan Markle: Expert discusses birth certificate change
It emerged last week that the Duchess removed her two first names ‘Rachel Meghan’ from her son’s birth certificate three weeks after it was registered, leaving simply ‘Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex’. It stands in contrast to Prince George’s birth certificate, where the Duchess of Cambridge kept her names ‘Catherine Elizabeth’. Some royal experts claimed the decision to remove Meghan’s given names was a deliberate move to distance the Sussexes from the Cambridges, but Meghan hit back claiming the removal had been “dictated by the Palace”.
Now, a source has told Express.co.uk: “The birth certificate was changed by the former Office of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex to ensure the consistency in the name and title of The Duchess of Sussex with other private documents.”
It is understood that, following her marriage to Prince Harry, Meghan changed all her official documents, including her US Passport, to HRH The Duchess of Sussex.
In this way, she was reportedly only changing her name on the birth certificate to match these other documents.
However, this begs the question as to why Kate was not asked to remove her given names from the birth certificates and implies that she must have kept these names on her other private documents.
READ MORE: Prince George’s birth certificate sparked confusion over Kate’s title
Meghan Markle and her son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor
Newborn Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor
Royal biographer Howard Hodgson suggested that Meghan may have been worried about losing her title or HRH status and so wanted to keep them on official documents.
He argued that she may be “more at risk” than the well-established Kate.
That said, he acknowledged their different approaches to names on private documents may just be a personal preference.
He told Express.co.uk: “It’s an interesting point. I honestly don’t know ‒ other than from personal choice ‒ unless the Duchess of Sussex feared losing her title or her HRH status and wanted to retain them on official documents like a passport.
Harry and Meghan show their son to the cameras for the first time
“Obviously, she may be more at risk in this regard than the more dependable Kate.”
After Meghan and Harry stepped down as senior royals last year they were instructed not to use their HRH status.
In their commercial interests, such as their Spotify podcast, they are known as Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex.
What’s more, Harry was stripped of his honorary military titles, which is said to be a particularly sore point for the Duke, who cherishes this connection.
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A royal biographer has suggested Meghan may have feared losing her title or HRH status
The debate over Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor’s birth certificate has caused considerable upset, with Meghan taking the opportunity to furiously criticise the media.
A spokeswoman for the Duchess said: “This change of name on public documents in 2019 was dictated by The Palace, as confirmed by documents from senior Palace officials.
“This was not requested by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, nor The Duke of Sussex.
“To see this UK tabloid and their carnival of so-called ‘experts’ chose to deceptively whip this into a calculated family ‘snub’ and suggest that she would oddly want to be nameless on her child’s birth certificate, or any legal document, would be laughable were it not offensive.
Meghan Markle baby: Archie’s birth certificate released
“There is a lot going on in the world ‒ let’s focus on that rather than creating clickbait.”
As well as Meghan’s given names being removed, the title of ‘Prince’ was added to Harry’s name.
Michael Rhodes, editor of Peerage News blog and an authority on royal naming conventions, told The Telegraph that royal birth certificates have varied over the years with regard to the “title and style of the mother’s name” and that it is “not set in stone”.
Diana, Princess of Wales, gave her name on Prince William’s birth certificate simply as ‘Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales’.
On both Kate and Meghan’s children’s birth certificates it lists their occupation as “Princess of the United Kingdom”.
However, they should not be referred to as ‘Princess’ because their Duchess titles take precedence.
Archie’s surname Mountbatten-Windsor is a heartwarming nod to Prince Philip, who was desperate for his family name of Mountbatten to be passed onto his descendants.