Harry and Meghan’s son was born in May 2019 — although the happy occasion was overshadowed by their pursuit of privacy. After the couple decided not to welcome Archie into the world in the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, which is the usual royal route, they were allegedly considering a home birth in Windsor. Then on May 6, Buckingham Palace released a statement in the afternoon confirming that Meghan had gone into labour “in the early hours of the morning”.
However, another announcement released just 20 minutes later said the Duchess of Sussex had already delivered a son at 5.26am.
When his birth certificate was made public, it showed that Meghan had given birth at The Portland Hospital in London rather than at home as planned.
However, Harry and Meghan’s meeting with the media two days later was perfectly orchestrated, and the couple seemed very happy.
Although confusing for royal fans, it was not the birth which rattled Prince William.
Prince William, Prince Harry and Archie
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry presenting Archie to the world a few days after his birth
According to royal commentators, it was the way the Sussexes handled their christening for Archie in July.
Royal biographer Robert Lacey claims in his new book, ‘Battle of Brothers’, that the Church of England christening process is a fundamental event for members of the Royal Family.
Godparents, otherwise referred to as sponsors, advise and watch out for the newborn and therefore could have a significant impact on the royal.
Yet, just three days before the christening, Buckingham Palace announced: “Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor will be christened in a small private ceremony by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday, July 6.
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Prince William and Kate Middleton presenting Prince Louis to the world just hours after he was born, at St Mary’s Hospital
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex look forward to sharing some images taken on the day by photographer Chris Allerton.
“The [names of the godparents] in keeping with their wishes, will remain private.”
This final clause reportedly left William incredibly confused.
Mr Lacey explained: “‘Friends’ tried to keep the temperature down by suggesting [he was perplexed] — that the future king, only five places clear of Archie in the order of succession, could not comprehend how such a basic matter of constitutional principle had been misunderstood.
“How could any new Windsor royal be christened in a meaningful sense without the newcomer’s sponsors being known, if not present?”
The biographer continued: “It is an ingredient of Britain’s representative monarchy that Brits should have the right to know who is giving moral guidance to their possible future king or queen.”
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Meghan and Harry want to raise their son as a “private citizen”
Prince Charles, Prince Harry and Archie at Archie’s christening in July 2019
Harry is still sixth-in-line to the throne while Archie is seventh, but the Sussexes presumably felt they were far enough away from the crown that they could afford anonymity for their son’s sponsors.
Mr Lacey noted: “Precedent, protocol and practice all collided headlong with Harry and Meghan’s firm insistence on their privacy — and that of their new baby.”
The Sussexes are keen to raise their young son as a “private citizen” and many believe this was a driving force in their dramatic decision to leave royal life behind and move to California.
On top of this, the date of the christening had already been an issue.
It had to accommodate the Archbishop of Canterbury, Prince Charles, Camilla, William and Kate.
In the end, it was so hastily arranged that the Queen’s Holyrood Week duties in Scotland meant she and Prince Philip were absent for the occasion.
The Duke of Cambridge’s body language for the official photographs — released at a later date — was also scrutinised, with many deciding that William looked reluctant to be there.
Archie is the Queen’s eighth great-grandchild, but she is believed to have not seen him since November last year.
The young royal went with Harry and Meghan during their long sabbatical in Canada and did not return to the UK when they carried out their final duties.
He stayed in the care of their friends before flying over to the West Coast with his parents, where they have stayed since.
‘Battle of Brothers: William, Harry and the Inside Story of a Family in Tumult’ by Robert Lacey was published by Harper Collins Publishers and is available to pre-order here.