What’s in a name? An awful lot, it turns out, if you’re a newborn royal, who’s been born into the thick of a massive family row. Last week, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced the arrival of their second child, a daughter they have named Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor. In a statement, they revealed, “Lili’s nicknamed after her great- grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet. Her middle name, Diana, was chosen to honour her beloved late grandmother, the Princess of Wales.”
Unsurprisingly, Lili’s name provoked immediate debate and fierce reaction on every side. Supporters of the couple said it was a fitting choice, considering Harry’s historical closeness with the Queen, and also argued that it was a timely olive branch, given the recent tensions that have been brewing between the Sussexes and the royals.
Meanwhile, others viewed it as a ploy to curry favour with the Queen as rumours grow that Harry and Meghan could lose their royal titles, which would risk damaging their brand. It was also pointed out that Lilibet was a deeply personal nickname, used only by a handful of the Queen’s close family members, including her beloved husband Philip, who would have turned 100 last week.
But what made matters even more dramatic last week was the much-disputed claim that the couple had asked Her Majesty for permission to use the name, which Harry and Meghan insist they did. They even issued a legal warning, after the BBC quoted a senior Palace source who claimed that Queen Elizabeth had “never been asked” or informed ahead of time. According to insiders, Harry and Meghan are outraged by the cynicism surrounding their daughter’s name.
CHECK OUT Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's relationship from the start
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met in London in July 2016.
“They insist these names were decided a long time ago, but that’s not stopped a lot of eye-rolling,” says an insider close to the Sussexes, who have made increasingly shocking allegations against the royal family in recent months, starting with their Oprah interview in March, in which they claimed that an unnamed member of the family had questioned how “dark” their first child’s skin would be, and said that Meghan’s pleas for help with her mental health had been ignored.
Harry also accused his family of “neglect”, and said he’d been raised in a “cycle” of suffering in his recent documentary series – prompting royal followers to demand that the couple lose their titles. “For Harry and Meghan, being stripped of that honour would be an open declaration of war from the palace, and they’re really hoping it doesn’t come to that,” says our source. “Despite Harry’s strained relations with his father and brother right now, he is still extremely attached to his grandmother.”
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As heat has told you, Meghan’s been making efforts to dial down their vocal criticism of the royals – she’s even secretly reached out to her sister-in-law Kate Middleton to help mediate. And judging by the royals’ reaction to the baby news – the Cambridges, Prince Charles and Camilla, and the Queen all welcomed Lilibet and congratulated the couple on social media – her efforts could be paying off. According to our insider, Harry and Meghan, who are also parents to two-year-old Archie, feel they have said enough – for the moment. Now, it’s all about building bridges and taking those to task who question their motives.
We’re told, “The best they can do is keep their side of the street clean and hope they’re allowed to keep their titles.”
Read more in the latest issue of heat magazine – OUT NOW.