Prince Harry: I did ask the Queen on Lilibet

·4-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex today hit back at claims that they had not asked the Queen before naming their daughter Lilibet in her honour.

A fresh war of words between the couple and the BBC broke out after the corporation this morning quoted a senior Buckingham Palace source saying the monarch was “never asked” about its use.

Lilibet has been the Queen’s family nickname since her childhood and the choice was initially seen as an olive branch after the “Megxit” crisis.

However, the name is now at the centre of an increasingly bitter row that threatens efforts to heal the rift, with the latest fallout said to have caused disquiet at the Palace.

A spokeswoman for Harry and Meghan, now based in California, said: “The Duke spoke with his family in advance of the announcement, in fact his grandmother was the first family member he called.

“During that conversation, he shared their hope of naming their daughter Lilibet in her honour. Had she not been supportive, they would not have used the name.”

The row comes at a sensitive time for the BBC which is dealing with the impact of the report into how Martin Bashir behaved when he interviewed Princess Diana after the collapse of her marriage to Prince Charles.

Meghan gave birth to her second child at 11.40am on Friday at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in California and the Queen is believed to have been introduced to her namesake over a videocall shortly after she was brought home.

Naming their daughter after her great-grandmother was seen as an attempt by the couple to build bridges with the Palace after they quit as working royals last year and gave a bombshell interview to Oprah Winfrey.

Harry made further comments in the following weeks including references to the “pain and suffering” that growing up in the royal family left him with.

There have been reports of a long-running rift with his brother, but William and Kate’s Twitter account was one of the first to welcome the new arrival, posting a message saying: “We are all delighted by the happy news of the arrival of baby Lili. Congratulations to Harry, Meghan and Archie.”

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The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall’s account also welcomed “baby Lilibet Diana”.

The monarchy’s official Twitter account shared an image from Harry and Meghan’s wedding day, celebrated the arrival, and noted that the baby was the Queen’s 11th great-grandchild.

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An earlier statement from a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “The Queen, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted with the news.” In a message on their Archewell website, Harry and Meghan said: “On June 4, we were blessed with the arrival of our daughter, Lili. She is more than we could have ever imagined, and we remain grateful for the love and prayers we’ve felt from across the globe.

“Thank you for your continued kindness and support during this very special time for our family.”

Harry and Meghan are now on parental leave and have asked well-wishers to support organisations helping women — Girls Inc, Harvest Home, CAMFED or Myna Mahila Foundation — rather than send gifts.

The couple revealed they were expecting a girl in March in their interview with Winfrey. It was a lighter moment in a broadcast that left the monarchy in crisis. Meghan accused an unnamed member of the royal family — not the Queen or Prince Philip — of racism, saying they expressed concern before Archie was born about how dark his skin tone might be. The duchess also criticised the institution for not helping her when she was suicidal.

The Queen responded by saying the issues were taken “very seriously” but “some recollections may vary” and the matter would addressed by the family privately.

Just as Archie is not entitled to be a prince or an HRH, the Sussexes’ daughter is not permitted to be a princess or an HRH due to rules set down by George V. The baby is eighth in line to the throne, after Archie, and before the Duke of York, who is now ninth.

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