Prince Charles is planning to ensure that his grandson Archie will never be given the title of Prince – as part of his plans for a slimmed-down monarchy, according to a report by The Mail on Sunday
Prince Charles is to ensure that his two-year-old grandson Archie will never be a Prince, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
The heir to the throne has made it clear that Harry and Meghan’s son will have no place among frontline Royals as he plans a slimmed-down Monarchy after he becomes King.
The move has incensed the Sussexes and is thought to have prompted the series of bitter accusations the couple have levelled at Charles and the Royal Family from the United States of America.
A grandchild of the sovereign has long had the right to be a Prince, but Charles is determined to limit the number of key Royals, believing the public does not wish to pay for an ever-expanding Monarchy.
Charles has told the Sussexes that he will change key legal documents to ensure that Archie cannot get the title he would once have inherited by right, according to a source close to the couple.
The decision, which follows months of fraught discussion behind the scenes, has plunged relations between Harry and his relatives to a dangerous new low.
‘Harry and Meghan were told Archie would never be a Prince, even when Charles became King,’ confirmed the source.
The revelation comes amid a series of explosive claims by respected Royal biographer Robert Lacey whose newly revised book Battle Of The Brothers states:
The full details of Charles’s plan for a slimmed-down Monarchy have never been revealed, but it has been speculated that only heirs to the throne and their immediate families will receive full titles, financial support from the public purse through the Sovereign Grant and police protection funded by the taxpayer.
Charles and his younger brother, the Duke of York, have already been at loggerheads about what security Andrew’s daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie should receive in future. Now Harry and Meghan have found themselves caught up, too.
Insiders suggest they hadn’t seen the move coming, and were shocked to find that Charles will take the active step of changing legal instruments known as the Letters Patent in order to exclude Archie and others.
The loss will be all the more galling as the Sussexes have made a point of refusing to use another, a lesser title for their son, who is technically the Earl of Dumbarton. They took that decision safe in the knowledge that Archie would become a Prince in due course. Or so they thought.
Earlier this year, a source close to the Sussexes confirmed they did indeed expect Archie to be named a Prince when Charles, Archie’s grandfather, acceded to the throne. Their spokesman at the time was even instructed to remind journalists of that ‘fact’.
The Sussexes finally learned that would not be the case just before sitting down with Oprah Winfrey for their first bombshell interview in March.
Insiders suggest the issue was still raw at the time of the recording – which might help account for the devastating criticisms they unleashed on the show, including the damaging implication that an unnamed senior member of the Royal Family had referred to Archie in a racist way.
It also throws a spotlight on one section of the interview which had raised eyebrows at the time. Speaking to Oprah, Meghan recalled how, when she had been pregnant, ‘They [the Royal Family] were saying they didn’t want him to be a Prince or a Princess’.
She continued: ‘You know, the other piece of that convention is, there’s a convention – I forget if it was George V or George VI convention – that when you’re the grandchild of the monarch, so when Harry’s dad becomes King, automatically Archie and our next baby would become Prince or Princess, or whatever they were going to be… But also it’s not their right to take it away.’
This puzzled Royal watchers, who reminded the Sussexes they had very publicly declared that they didn’t want a title for their son, who would be known as Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
Some pointed out that a son of Prince Harry’s – a great-grandchild of the Queen – had no automatic right to be titled a Prince, or receive a security allowance. But that was to ignore the real drama taking place behind the scenes. Because Meghan was actually referring to the secret news that Archie would never become a Prince, not even when Charles was King.
A source said: ‘This is what nobody realised from the interview. The real thing was that Charles was going to take active steps to strip Archie of his ultimate birthright.’
The existing rules for Royal titles were established in Letters Patent dated November 20, 1917.
In these, King George V, the Queen’s grandfather, allowed the title of Prince and Princess to be given to the children of the sovereign, the children of the sovereign’s sons and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales – in this case, Prince George.
Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, William’s daughter and younger son, received their titles not by right but as gifts of the Queen, who issued new Letters Patent to that effect in 2013. Similarly, when King, Charles will have the power to change George V’s Letters Patent how he sees fit – and so streamline The Firm.
An insider said: ‘Charles has never made any secret of the fact that he wants a slimmed-down Monarchy when he becomes King.
‘He realises that the public don’t want to pay for a huge Monarchy and, as he said, the balcony at Buckingham Palace would probably collapse.’
Even now, not all grandchildren of the Queen are titled Prince or Princess. As she is a daughter, not a son, of the sovereign, Princess Anne’s children had no automatic right to the title but out of choice she also declined lesser titles for her children Peter and Zara.
The Queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, thought it prudent not to name his daughter and son as Princess and Prince. Instead, they are titled Lady and Viscount respectively.
A Royal source said last night: ‘We are not going to speculate about the succession or comment on rumours coming out of America.’