Meghan Markle has been embroiled in a birth certificate row this week. The Duchess of Sussex’s given names, Rachel Meghan, were removed from her son Archie’s birth certificate in June 2019 – so it read “Her Royal Highness Duchess of Sussex”. The change occurred 19 days after Archie’s birth certificate was registered on May 17, 2019. The Duke’s name was also changed to insert the word “Prince”, which had been left out of the original.
After some reports suggested Meghan was responsible for changing the name, a spokesperson for the Duchess blamed royal protocol, instead.
The spokesman said: “The 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 by The Duke of Sussex.”
Buckingham Palace has denied the Duchess of Sussex’s claim, describing her use of the word “dictated” as “unfortunate”.
A royal source diplomatically suggested there had been a misunderstanding by her new US-based staff, with the detail “lost in translation”.
As the clash deepens, another royal birth certificate row has emerged.
After the birth of Prince Charles and Princess Anne in 1948 and 1950 respectively, Prince Philip initially intended to give the royal children his surname but his determination set him on a collision course with his mother-in-law, the Queen Mother, and his wife, the Queen.
Philip’s desire to name his children Mountbatten sparked a lengthy family feud as his wishes were shot down when former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Queen Mary and the Queen Mother all decided “no, this is not going to be the way”.
This was confirmed when the Queen issued a public declaration on April 9, 1952, that “her children will be styled and known as the house and family of Windsor” prior to her coronation on June 2, 1953.
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According to reports at the time, “that hurt Prince Philip deeply” as he felt like “just a bloody amoeba” within the royal household, leading to a feud that lasted for almost a decade.
2012 book “Elizabeth the Queen” by royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith claims Philip refused to let the matter drop and, when the Queen was pregnant with Prince Andrew in 1960, she told then Prime Minister Harold Macmillan that “she absolutely needed to revisit” the issue of the family name because “it had been irritating her husband since 1952”.
In the biography, 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.
“I shall never forget what she said to me that Sunday night at Sandringham.”
Mr Macmillan passed the problem onto his deputy, Rab Butler, and the Lord Chancellor Lord Kilmuir.
Mr Butler told Mr Macmillan in a telegram that the Queen had “absolutely set her heart” on making a change for the Duke’s sake.
Ms Bedell Smith wrote: “By one account, Butler confided to a friend that Elizabeth had been in tears.”
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On February 8, 1960, 11 days before the birth of Prince Andrew, a compromise was reached as the Queen made a new declaration in Privy Council saying that she had adopted Mountbatten-Windsor as the name for all her descendants who do not enjoy the title of His or Her Royal Highness or female descendants who marry.
The surname first appeared on an official document on November 14, 1973, when Princess Anne chose to sign marital documents with “Mountbatten-Windsor” when she wed Captain Mark Philips at Westminster Abbey.
On the wedding of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999, the Queen decided, with their agreement, that any of their future children should not be styled His or Her Royal Highness.
Consequently, the birth of their daughter in 2003 marked the first emergence of the Mountbatten-Windsor surname on a birth certificate.
Their daughter was named Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary Mountbatten-Windsor, although she goes by the courtesy title of Lady Louise Windsor, her father being the Earl of Wessex.