It’s hard to believe that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle only withdrew from royal life in 2020. So much has since changed since then. But while the couple famously spilled the beans on what it was really like to be part of the royal family, one woman remained largely silent: the late Queen Elizabeth. In true royal style, she let others do the talking. And if one report is to be believed, she had a surprisingly emotional response to Harry and Meghan’s son, Archie.
Not normally emotional
What could have possibly caused such a reaction in the Queen? She was not known for being emotional, after all. Harry, on the other hand? He practically gushed about Archie just after the newborn arrived. Speaking to the media, the prince seemed every inch the proud dad. And there’s no doubt he felt the same when baby Lilibet arrived in June 2021.
After Archie’s birth, Harry said, “I’m so incredibly proud of my wife. And as every father and parent would say, your baby is absolutely amazing. But this little thing is absolutely to die for, so I’m absolutely over the moon.” We bet the Queen was pretty happy at the news, too, but it wasn’t the birth that got her so worked up.
Why Archie got his name
And we have something to tell you: no, Archie isn’t an anagram of Rachel, Meghan’s real first name. Instead, it seems that the little boy was named in tribute to one Major Tom Archer-Burton, an army officer who is affectionately known as “Archie.” Major Tom in fact played a big part in Harry’s military service.
A nod to a friend
Speaking to The Sun, an alleged insider revealed, “It’s well known in Army circles, and Archie’s inner circle, that baby Archie is a nod to him. The two men have stayed in regular contact, and Archie has met most of Harry’s family including Meghan.” The source added that the older Archie was far too modest to accept any credit. Lilibet, on the other hand, appears to have been named after the Queen, who was affectionately called that by her father.
That last name
We’d also like to know what the Queen thought of Archie and Lilibet’s interesting last name. You see, at the time that the monarch began her reign, her late husband, Prince Philip, had wanted their future children to be called Mountbatten. That hadn’t been allowed, however, and it’s said to have left Philip unhappy.
A crucial change
So, the house name of the royal family continued to be Windsor – for a while, anyway. Yes, Prince Philip did gain a concession from the Queen in the end. Perhaps realizing how much the ordeal had hurt him, she made a change before the arrival of Prince Andrew. Now, British royals have the surname Mountbatten-Windsor – just as Archie does. Was it this that provoked the Queen to speak out? Well, no.
The truth behind the titles
For a while, everyone assumed it was Harry and Meghan who’d decided against making Archie a prince. But as Meghan said in the infamous Oprah interview, “They [The Firm] were saying they didn’t want him to be a prince or princess, which would be different from protocol, and that he wasn’t going to receive security.” If this is correct, the original rumor seems to be merely another story that spun out of control in the media.
Archie’s cousins, on the other hand, do have the right to be called prince and princess. That’s why we know Prince George by that name! And Archie, George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis have all been spotted in public at the Billingbear Polo Club near London. But Harry’s son wouldn’t get the chance to mingle much after that. His future would soon take him far away from William’s kids – and the Queen apparently had strong feelings about it all.
No hint of trouble
That was yet to come, though. Following the polo outing, Archie was seen again when his mom and dad released a picture to mark the start of 2020. It was an adorable shot – with no hint of the trouble that was brewing behind the scenes. Then, in only a matter of weeks, Harry and Meghan would drop a bombshell on the world.
Early in January 2020, the couple explained that they wouldn’t be working as “senior royals” anymore. Instead, the duke and duchess – along with their young son – would share their time between the U.K. and Canada. They would provide for themselves financially, too.
Off to California
Harry and Meghan later relocated to California, meaning Archie and his little sister, Lilibet, didn’t get to spend much time with his father’s side of the family. It’s thought that Archie only hung out with his cousins on a handful of occasions, while it would be some time before Lilibet even met them in person
Absent from the christening
And it wasn’t just the kids who didn’t see much of Archie. Despite the fact that the Queen spent time with him a couple of days after his birth, she didn’t get to go to his christening. Unfortunately, she and Philip had another engagement to attend to.
No Christmas with the Queen
While most of the royals made the trek up to Sandringham — one of the Queen’s U.K. residences — Harry, Meghan, and Archie didn’t spend Christmas 2019 with the Queen. They chose instead to stay in Canada during the festive period. And while we sadly don’t know exactly what went on behind palace doors, we bet that the Queen would have liked to have had one last visit before the young family jetted off for good.
Regretted not seeing Archie
In any case, it appears that the monarch regretted not seeing more of her great-grandson and great-granddaughter. In 2020 an insider told The Sunday Times, “[The Queen] will be very sad to have barely seen Archie and that he will miss out on growing up with his cousins and wider family.” Even after Harry and Meghan revealed that they were heading off for pastures new, Archie stayed in Canada with his mom. That meant that the Queen couldn’t say goodbye in person at the time.
A cherished meeting
Fortunately, Lilibet was able to meet her great-grandmother, alongside Archie, when the family traveled to the U.K. for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. What’s more, Charles met his granddaughter in person for the first time during the same visit. In a statement following the Queen’s passing, Harry wrote, “I am forever grateful for all of our first meetings... I cherish these times shared with you, and the many other special moments in between.” It was a touching tribute.
Meghan and Harry’s little ones can look forward to seeing their grandfather Charles on occasion, though. He reportedly loves his nickname of “Grandpa Wales.” The new king apparently enjoys meeting up with William and his wife and kids, too — meaning that there’s plenty to keep them busy.
Still, the lack of time that Charles has been able to spend with Archie – and now Lilibet – has apparently left him feeling disappointed. “Where will Archie’s heritage and roots be? What about Diana’s family, the Spencers?” an insider said to The Sunday Times in 2020. “Harry and William know all too well how damaging an unsettled childhood can be.”
Close to her granddaughter
Even with Archie and Lilibet out of the day-to-day picture, the Queen still had a large family to spend time with. She’s said to have been very close to her granddaughter Zara Tindall, for instance, as they were apparently able to relax in each other’s company. And as one insider pointed out, the Queen reportedly enjoyed a giggle as much as anyone.
New royal revelations
Since the Queen’s passing, though, all eyes have been on Harry and Meghan once again. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are often making headlines, and despite being among the most famous people in the world, there’s still a lot to learn about them. In an interview with New York Magazine, Meghan made waves with some new royal revelations.
On the face of it
She’s one of the most admired individuals on the planet but, having said that, Meghan doesn’t appear to take her status as a glamorous celebrity too seriously. Hubby Harry, contributing to the interview with asides, mentioned how The Cut’s profile shoot led to an intriguing exchange. From what he said during the talk, she didn’t see the session the way he did.
Maternal instincts and model features
Meghan may have featured on many magazine covers but, when the subject of modeling came up, she played down the role. She doesn’t think of herself that way, according to Harry. In fact, Meghan told him she was a mother. He disagreed, saying the two roles weren’t mutually exclusive! Not your typical exchange between couples… but an eye-opening one all the same!
Meghan and her children
It wasn’t just Harry who got involved in the interview. The couple’s children, Archie and Lilibet, were around for the piece also, which naturally led Meghan to reflect on her motherly role and how she looks after her kids day-to-day in California. This self-proclaimed non-model picks them up at the school gate, just like everyone else, and The Cut went along for the ride.
The school run in California
That was when Meghan talked about the stresses involved regarding media attention. Not a new topic for her by any means, yet an important one. The duchess said her aim was to protect Archie and Lilibet, rather than satisfy a craving for anonymity. Plus there was another vital consideration: the potential for abuse, which she and other family members had previously suffered.
Meghan collects Archie
“Why would I give the very people that are calling my children the N-word a photo of my child before I can share it with the people that love my child?” she asked at one point. Speaking of love and family, The Cut mentioned how Archie rushed towards her enthusiastically for a hug once he got out of school.
Snakes and property ladders
This next one is pretty surprising. Harry and Meghan live in Montecito, calling a large and impressive property home. A price tag of $14.65 million is mentioned — so far, so unsurprising for a couple of their status. What’s interesting is that the house was out of their price range. Estranged royals have a price range? You heard it here first!
What’s it like inside Meghan and Harry’s house?
Still, funding the house doesn’t appear to have been a struggle as such. A hefty deal with Netflix (apparently $100 million) and a Spotify deal — again in the millions — changed the game and gave them a place to lay their hats. Actually, many hats! The Cut uses the word “marshmallowy” to describe the interior at one point. A little strange, maybe, but it makes sense.
Getting on the wick
The air is scented, thanks to a Soho House candle. We’re sure the company was glad of that bit of free publicity! For those wondering what type of music Meghan enjoys around the house, then “flamenco-inflected guitar” is the answer. Whatever trials and tribulations may have been involved in securing the property, it all seems to have been worth it. The Cut’s piece is titled “Meghan of Montecito.”
Lush locations feature prominently in the couple’s lives. For his royal duties, Harry traveled extensively, as well as seeing the rougher side of the planet during his military service. As for Meghan, she was — indeed still is — an actress. While showbusiness can often be less glamorous than you might think, she’s probably seen her fair share of the best the world has to offer.
Why are we talking about locations? Well, they provide great backdrops for social media content. And that brings us to our next juicy morsel from The Cut’s article: the duchess is about to launch a new Instagram account. Away from the baggage of her royal account, Meghan is apparently going to provide new insights into her life on the popular platform.
A return to social media
It’s important to point out that Meghan volunteered this information herself, albeit in a tone that reportedly would have befitted a spy movie. Her eyes were described as “alight and devilish” as she delivered this noteworthy revelation. It’s not a shock to discover that a well-known face wants to return to Instagram: all the same, this particular face will be watched more than most.
The actress and the duchess
Another detail that emerges during the course of the interview concerns Meghan’s status as a famous actress compared with life as a working royal. Both jobs involve presenting different faces to the public, so the two areas overlapped in many ways. It appears the business of acting in a certain fashion was seen as an advantage by Meghan, in a family with strictly defined roles.
So many questions but few answers
Yet for the duchess her performance skills only got her so far. Throw in her natural curiosity and it resulted in an apparently troubled mix. The British royal family are expected to do their duty without asking questions, at least according to Meghan and in reference to her own experience. She tied this to her identity as “an American”, more than that of a “black American”.
How are things with the royal family these days?
She may have felt like an outsider in that environment, but does this rule out Meghan reconciling with the family and its institutionalized approach? She stated she has “really made an active effort” to forgive, although whether other parts of the family have reached out to her isn’t clear. Either way, the events of September 8, 2022, have overshadowed the story.
Queen Elizabeth II RIP
Queen Elizabeth II passed away aged 96, and her son is now King Charles III. He is also Meghan’s father-in-law. She can now refer to herself, should she so wish, as the daughter of a King. Bearing in mind her turbulent relationship with members of her own family, such as father Thomas Markle, this probably makes matters even more complex.
The duke and duchess’ movements
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are in the U.K. at time of writing. According to news reports, a decision was made for Harry to go alone to Balmoral in Scotland, with his wife remaining in London. They will presumably next be seen together at Elizabeth’s funeral, set to take place on September 19. The world will most definitely be watching.
Her new podcast
Meghan has talked about the sense of freedom she feels being away from the royal family. A major part of this is being able to say what she wants, something she’s been doing via her Archetypes podcast on Spotify. To say it’s drawn mixed reviews is an understatement. Still, for the duchess this is probably a vital outlet to have her and others’ voices heard.
What did people make of Archetypes?
The critical response to her podcast has definitely been on the negative side. The first episode focused on Serena Williams, another ground-breaking but polarizing figure. The interest in Archetypes has been strong, though doubts have been raised about where the production could go in future. Will it hold listeners’ attention, and what of Harry and Meghan’s other media projects with Netflix?
Harry’s upcoming memoir
Attention is also being paid to another family release, this time from Harry. The supportive husband has a book coming out. This is a memoir detailing his life to date, and commentators can’t help but wonder what he’ll say and how candid he’ll be about his family and his marriage. And he may well appear on Meghan’s podcast to promote it! This wouldn’t be the first time that the pair have been candid with the public, however — and their 2021 interview with Oprah was a particularly revealing exchange.
The rivalry between Meghan and Kate was a tabloid invention
For a long time there were rumors that Meghan and her sister-in-law were “feuding.” And while it seems they were never actually besties, neither were they ever enemies. Meghan said she thought Kate was “a good person” and went on, “I think so much of what I have seen play out was this idea of polarity, where if you love me you don’t have to hate her, and if you love her, you don’t need to hate me.”
A narrative of a hero and a villain
Oprah pointed out to Meghan how many newspaper headlines showed Kate being praised for the same things for which Meghan had been vilified. One headline cited by Oprah read, “Meghan can’t keep her hands off baby bump for pride or vanity,” while Kate was celebrated for cradling hers. Meghan mused, “I can see now what layers were at play there, and again, they really seem to want a narrative of a hero and a villain.”
The royals isolated Harry financially
When they stepped down from the royal family in 2020, Harry and Meghan announced in their statement that they wished to be “financially independent.” They seemed fine with no longer receiving public money. Yet it also appears that Harry expected to still receive support from members of his family, until they stopped the flow of cash.
Remembering Diana’s experience
Harry told Oprah, “My family literally cut me off financially.” But he still had money that had been left to him by Princess Diana, and he used that to fund his and Meghan’s new life. He explained, “All I wanted was enough money to get security and keep my family safe,” and also added, “I certainly felt [Diana’s] presence throughout this whole process.”
The Queen wasn’t blindsided by Harry and Meghan leaving
When the news first broke that Harry and Meghan would be stepping down from the royal family, the British newspapers seemed appalled on the Queen’s behalf. For example, the Daily Mirror ran the headline “They didn’t even tell the Queen.” But according to Harry himself, the Queen actually did know what was happening.
All PR spin
Harry told Oprah, “No, I never blindsided my grandmother. I have too much respect for her.” He believed the unfavorable tabloid newspaper headlines “probably could have come from within the institution” – as in, the senior staff and PR people who work for the royal household, rather than the Windsors themselves.
Meghan had important items taken from her
We know that some of the royal rules seem pretty absurd to those outside what some insiders jokingly refer to as “The Firm.” No colored nail varnish, no wedge shoes… oh, and wait, no passport? That’s what Meghan claimed in the Oprah interview. She said, “When I joined that family, that was the last time – until we came [to America] – that I saw my passport, my driver’s license, my keys.”
Left feeling isolated
The Duchess of Sussex went on, “All that gets turned over. I didn’t see any of that anymore.” She’s still traveled to other countries while a member of the royal family, but understandably someone taking all those important documents away could leave a person feeling isolated. Meghan also said it also wasn’t like she ever could “call an Uber to the palace.”
The Palace actually hosts parties for tabloid journalists
During the interview Harry revealed one very interesting detail about the palace-media relationship. He told Oprah that every year a palace party is thrown for tabloid journalists which sets up an unspoken “invisible contract between both parties.” The prince explained, “If you as a family member are willing to wine, dine, and give full access to these reporters, then you are able to get better press.”
Reliant on the media image
Harry added, “Everyone needs to have some compassion for them [the royals] in that situation.” Oprah asked the prince, “Who is controlling who?” The Duke of Sussex answered, “The institution survives based on that [media] perception... one lives and thrives because the other exists.” Meghan added, “There’s a construct that’s at play there.” And it sounds exhausting.
The Australian tour didn’t go down well
Remember the Princess Diana-Prince Charles Australian royal tour in 1983? It was detailed in The Crown, including the bit about Charles resenting his wife for stealing the spotlight. And apparently, Harry and Meghan’s Australian tour also soured things at Buckingham Palace, except this time around it wasn’t because the royal marriage was strained.
Bringing back bad memories
Harry remembered in the interview that his family were “welcoming” of Meghan but then “it really changed after the Australia tour.” The prince added, “It was also the first time that the family got to see how incredible she is at the job. And that brought back memories.” Yes, he confirmed, he was talking about the antipodean tour of his parents in the 1980s. And tellingly he added, “I just wish that we would all learn from the past.”
Harry feels let down by his father
“What relationship does Harry have with his father now?” has been a question asked by the media and royal family fans alike for a while now. And in the interview the prince finally gave an answer. It was, unsurprisingly, a complicated situation. He said, “I feel really let down because he’s been through something similar. He knows what the pain feels like.”
Hope for healing
But there was still hope on the horizon for the relationship. Harry went on, “At the same time, I will always love him, but there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened and I will continue to make it one of my priorities to try and heal that relationship.” Everyone will just have to wait and see how it all turns out.
Meghan feels she was silenced
You’d expect that royals can say what they like, within reason. But no, they absolutely can’t. They’re not even supposed to express political opinions. Meghan said in the interview, “I’ve always been outspoken, especially about women’s rights, and that’s the sad irony of the last four years; I’ve advocated for so long for women to use their voice.”
When Oprah asked Meghan, “Were you silent, or were you silenced?” she answered, “The latter.” And then she revealed she was “given a very clear directive from the moment the world knew Harry and I were dating to always say, ‘No comment.’” Not only that, but her friends and family were reportedly told to do the same.
The Palace didn’t want Archie to have a title
When Archie was born, the palace announced that his official title would be Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor – no Prince or Earl in front of his name. And it was reported in the newspapers that this was Harry and Meghan’s choice. Except apparently it wasn’t, and they were in reality not happy at all about their son not getting a title.
A sense of separation
Meghan said that although Archie’s title was not his parents’ “decision to make” she was worried about his not being entitled to security protection since he wasn’t a prince. In addition to that, the actress-turned-royal said, “The idea that the first member of color in this family not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be” was an upsetting notion.
Kate made Meghan cry, not the other way around
One very persistent story in the media was that Meghan had made Kate cry during a dress fitting for the Sussex wedding. But, Meghan told Oprah, it was in fact the opposite situation. Kate had been the one to upset Meghan. And also she had apologized and made amends afterwards.
A false media narrative
Meghan said, “There wasn’t a confrontation and… I don’t think it’s fair to her to get into the details of that because she apologized, and I’ve forgiven her. What was hard to get over was being blamed for something that not only I didn’t do, but that happened to me.” And at the time Palace officials did nothing to correct the media narrative.
Meghan received death threats
Unfortunately receiving death threats is just an unpleasant part of royal life. In the past, members of the royal family have been shot at both metaphorically and in some cases literally. Meghan said she received death threats upon marrying Prince Harry and many of them had to do with her race. But it was the Palace’s reaction which horrified her.
Please keep Harry safe
Meghan remembered that even though she was sure protection of her and Archie was “not a priority” she begged the royals to at least protect her husband. She remembered writing a letter saying basically, “I see the death threats. I see the racist propaganda. Please keep [Harry] safe. Please don’t pull his security and announce to the world when he and we are most vulnerable.” But they did so anyway.
Harry and William need “space”
After Harry left the royal family, much was made of his relationship with his brother William, now the Prince of Wales. The pair had always seemed so close, so were they really going to tear themselves apart? Harry discussed this in the interview and said, “The relationship is ‘space’ at the moment. And time heals all things, hopefully.”
We’ve been through hell
The Duke of Sussex went on, “I love William to bits, he’s my brother. We’ve been through hell together, we have a shared experience, but we were on different paths.” The ‘hell’ part is likely referring to how the siblings weathered the sudden death of their mother when they were still just children.
Tyler Perry got involved
One of the more surprising things to come out of the interview was Harry and Meghan referencing actor Tyler Perry. It turned out the billionaire entertainer had offered them help when things got tough in Canada. Having lost their royal security but still receiving threats, and fearful that they couldn’t cross any borders due to lockdown, the couple were worried until Perry stepped in.
A generous offer
Perry offered the couple a house in southern California – with security, no less – and the couple stayed there for a bit. Meghan told Oprah that Perry’s generosity “gave us breathing room to try to figure out what we were going to do.” Interestingly Oprah herself might have been involved or at least already known about that, since she and Perry are very close.
Meghan suffered mental health issues
After entering the royal family, Meghan’s mental health started to deteriorate. Individuals suffering mental anguish is nothing new to British royals; indeed Princess Diana went through the same sort of thing. But Meghan said that whenever she asked for help, she was denied it. She really only had her husband to help her through it.
Nothing we can do
Meghan said, “I went to the [Palace] institution and I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help. And I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution. They said: my heart goes out to you because I see how bad it is, but there’s nothing we can do to protect you because you’re not a paid employee.” So Meghan was apparently left without the resources she needed.
Archie’s skin color was discussed
According to Meghan and Harry, while they were expecting Archie members of the royal family discussed what the baby’s skin color would be. Meghan told Oprah there were “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.” And Harry said, “It was awkward. I was a bit shocked.”
An unnamed individual
Notably, Harry refused to name the individual who made the inquiry about Archie’s skin tone. He told Oprah, “That conversation, I’m never going to share.” But Oprah herself later told the media that she knew from private conversations with the couple that the person in question hadn’t been the Queen or Prince Philip, and Harry had told her she could share that information. Who it actually was, we may never know.
Charles stopped taking Harry’s calls
Harry discussed something that made it clear how far the situation had deteriorated. Charles, his own father, had stopped answering the phone to him at one point. The Duke of Sussex said that upon stepping down from the royal family, “I had three conversations with my grandmother, and two conversations with my father before he stopped taking my calls.”
Taking matters into their own hands
When Oprah asked why, Harry said, “By that point I took matters into my own hands, it was like, I needed to do this for my family… It’s really sad that it’s got to this point, but I’ve got to do something for my own mental health, my wife’s and for Archie’s as well.” Charles did eventually start taking his calls again, though.
The new baby is a girl
Meghan was of course pregnant when the interview took place, and Oprah wanted to know the gender of the baby. Meghan waited for her husband to join her and then they revealed it was a girl. Harry said that he was “just grateful” because “to have a boy and then a girl, I mean what more can you ask for?”
A complete family
It was even greater good news since Meghan had suffered a miscarriage before, something she had spoken about to the media prior to the interview. Harry said, “Now we’ve got our family, we got the four of us and our two dogs.” The couple plan to have no more children once the little girl is born, with the duchess telling Oprah, “Two is it.”
Meghan had no bad words for the Queen
One thing Meghan wanted to make clear in the interview was that she bore no grudge against the Queen. She said, “There’s the family, and then there’s the people that are running the institution. Those are two separate things and it’s important to be able to compartmentalize that, because the Queen, for example, has always been wonderful to me.”
Media commentators were quick to discuss what the interview meant for the relationship between Harry and his grandmother. Royal historian Robert Lacey told The Guardian newspaper after it aired, “[The Queen] has a view of what the institution demands and she has her personal sympathy with Harry. It’s quite clear that ambivalence was present in all her conversations with him.”
Harry and Meghan secretly got married early
One bombshell Harry and Meghan dropped was a slightly confusing one. Apparently, their legal wedding in front of the cameras wasn’t the only ceremony they had. The duchess told Oprah, “We called the archbishop and we just said, ‘Look, this thing, this spectacle is for the world, but we want our union between us,” and pledged themselves to each other privately before the big day.
Was it legal?
The media hastened to uncover the legality of all that. One Reverend Canon Giles Fraser told the website Insider, “It wasn’t a wedding. It can’t have been… They got married legally at Windsor.” Yet the vows from the private ceremony are, according to the couple themselves, the ones they have displayed on their wall.
Harry thinks his family are “trapped”
Despite everything, Harry seems to really want to fix his relationships with the rest of the royals. One thing he said indicated he wanted to save them from their own situations. The prince explained, “I was trapped but I didn’t know I was trapped. Like the rest of my family are, my father and my brother, they are trapped.”
Harry wants to patch things up
The Duke of Sussex continued, “They don’t get to leave and I have huge compassion for that. For the family, they very much have this mentality of: ‘This is just how it is. This is how it’s meant to be. You can’t change it. We’ve all been through it.’” But Harry, along with Meghan, appears to really want to finally patch things up.