The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s daughter, Lilibet, has been christened with her royal title of “Princess” used formally for the first time.
Lilibet, who is aged 21 months, was christened at an intimate ceremony at the couple’s Montecito home in California. A spokesperson for the couple confirmed, via People magazine, that “Princess Lilibet Diana” was christened on Friday 3 March by the bishop of Los Angeles, the Rt Rev John H Taylor.
The announcement is the first confirmation that Harry and Meghan intend to use the titles of prince and princess for their son Archie and daughter Lilibet.
The magazine reported that invitations had been extended to King Charles, Camilla, the Queen Consort, and the Prince and Princess of Wales, but they were not in attendance.
After their grandfather acceded to the throne, the couple’s children automatically became prince and princess under the rule established by King George V in 1917 that read: “ … the grandchildren of the sons of any such sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have and enjoy in all occasions the style and title enjoyed by the children of dukes of these our realms.”
It is understood the titles will be used in formal settings, but not in everyday conversational use by the couple. Harry and Meghan are understood to be keen not to deny their children their birthright, but to allow them to decide for themselves when older whether to drop or keep the titles.
Until today, however, they were referred to on the royal family’s website as Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor and Miss Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor. A source indicated that as the Sussexes had now confirmed their wish to use the titles, the website would be updated.
The issue over whether their children would receive titles has been one of intense speculation, fuelled when Meghan suggested in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that her son Archie was denied his birthright of the title of prince by the palace because he was mixed race and that the decision went against protocol. However, when Archie was born, he was a great-grandchild of a monarch, and not the firstborn of a future king, so was not automatically a prince at that time.
Archie and Lilibet will not be entitled to use the style HRH. The use of the style would come through their father, and the Duke of Sussex’s HRH is in abeyance.
There were reports previously that the king was considering a letters patent to remove the titles, but this seems not to have been the case judging from Wednesday’s statement from the Sussexes.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex’s children were also entitled as male line grandchildren to use the titles of prince and princess, but their parents decided they did not wish them to be known as such.
People magazine reported there were between 20 and 30 guests at Friday’s christening, including Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, Lilibet’s godfather, Tyler Perry, and an unnamed godmother.
After the ceremony, guests were treated to an afternoon of food and dancing, with Archie enjoying a dance with his little sister, it is reported. Perry was reported to have flown in with a 10-person gospel choir that sang Oh Happy Day and This Little Light of Mine … which was sung at the Sussexes’ wedding.
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