Entertainment Celebrity Why Harry and Meghan named their son the unexpected and ‘middle class’ Archie
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Why Harry and Meghan named their son the unexpected and ‘middle class’ Archie

Archie Harrison Mountbatten-WIndsor
Two-day-old Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor in his father Prince Harry's arms on May 8. Photo: Getty
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Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. It’s a name you can imagine belonging to a man who, in 25 years’ time after being cricket captain at boarding school, will be fastening on his dad’s old Rolex Explorer II before dashing off to his desk at a private London bank.

It’s not a name that until now most royals fans would have imagined belonging to the grandson of the future King of England.

Yet here we are, thanks to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry bestowing the surprising moniker on their boy.

Not only that, little Archie is plain ‘Master’, not the expected Earl of Dumbarton.

Is their son’s name a quiet rebellion from the rule-bending Sussexes so they look more ordinary?

“Yes, the name has a distinct ‘We’re people just like you’ sound to it, doesn’t it?” associate professor Giselle Bastin from Flinders University tells The New Daily.

“It’s nice in a way Harry and Meghan feel they can push at the boundaries a bit. Given the newborn’s distance from the throne, however, his parents did have more leeway than, say, William and Catherine in their choices of names.

“There wouldn’t be a palace courtier tearing around to Frogmore saying, ‘Change the name immediately, or else!’”

Senior royals usually pay homage to ancestors in naming their children, and they love to load up the kids with at least three names.

Two, it seems, is a bit common.

For Harry and Meghan to spurn family connections and go for Archie – and not even the graver, grander Archibald – and Harrison is another matter.

Without openly condemning the Sussexes’ choice for their son, some British newspapers were a tad sniffy.

“Middle class” was how The Telegraph put it.

Still, “I think it’s phenomenal,” social media expert and educator Laurel Papworth told The New Daily.

“I would suggest this has something to do with Harry and Meghan’s commitment to egalitarian levelling of structures in society.

“I don’t think they’re sitting down saying, ‘We want to be middle class’ as much as they’re saying ‘There should be no class’.”

Harry Meghan Archie
Turning their back on convention: Harry and Meghan leave their photo call. Photo: Getty

While there has never been a royal Archie, “it is frequently used in the circles Prince Harry moves in,” noted one UK columnist. (Prince George, apparently announces himself to strangers as ‘Archie’.)

Well-known Archies include the 1941 US comic character who now appears in the derivative TV series Riverdale, and Archie Bunker, the racist and misogynistic patriarch who addressed his wife as ‘dingbat’ on 1970s sitcom All In the Family. 

Harrison could be both a nod to Meghan’s Hollywood roots and actor Harrison Ford – Harry is a Star Wars devotee – or to George Harrison, although it’s not known if either of the Sussexes is a Beatles fan.

More likely, it is another example of Harry and Meghan’s love of the literal. A surname dating back to 1355, it means ‘son of Harry’.

As to why the new parents wouldn’t style their son as an earl, “They’re sending a clear signal that they don’t want to envelop him in  royal tradition from his earliest days,” Ms Bastin said.

“They want for him a bit of ‘normality’ first.”

When Prince Charles ascends the throne, Archie “will be entitled to an HRH title,” she added. “Prince Archie if he wants.”

Harry Meghan Archie
The proud parents introduce “our own bundle of joy.” Photo: Getty

While there is confusion about royal surnames, Mountbatten-Windsor is the personal one used by some male-line descendants of the Queen and Prince Philip.

William used it when filing a French lawsuit in 2012 against magazine Closer, although often royals “do not use a surname at all”, according to the Buckingham Palace website.

The palace won’t be giving Harry and Meghan pushback for their apparent desire to carve out a life which is royal but not, Ms Bastin said.

“I don’t imagine the palace tells them what to do much at all. The Queen notoriously leaves her children – and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren – to do what they please.

“She doesn’t like to interfere, and I expect the palace officials take their cue from her.”

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