Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's two children Archie Harrison and Lilibet Diana are expected to receive their respective prince and princess titles when their grandfather Prince Charles takes over the British throne, but the future King reportedly has different plans in his mind.
A grandchild of the sovereign has long had the right to have a Prince/Princess title, but the Prince of Wales's plans of a slimmed-down monarchy won't have a place for his two grandchildren through his younger son Harry. An insider told Mail Online: "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."
The heir apparent might even change legal documents in order to limit the number of senior royals ensuring that Archie does not get the title, and he has informed the Sussexes about these plans. "Harry and Meghan were told Archie would never be a Prince, even when Charles became King," a source close to the couple claimed.
The report comes months after Harry and Meghan's tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, where they claimed Buckingham Palace prevented Archie from getting the prince title because of his mixed-race heritage. It is believed that Meghan hinted at Charles's plans in the interview, as she said: "They were saying they didn't want him (her unborn child) to be a prince or a princess. You know, the other piece of that convention is....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."
A source said about the Duchess's remark: "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."
However, royal biographer Robert Lacey told the Times that Charles may not go through with this. He said: "It is possible that Prince Charles may try to remove royal status from the Sussex children when he comes to the throne but that does not seem likely."
"His priority then will be to gain popular support for upgrading the status of Camilla from princess consort to queen consort, and he is not likely to court unpopularity by removing HRH status from Archie and Lili," Lacey explained.
Meanwhile, palace insiders told the outlet that the future King does not even hold the power to stop his grandchildren from becoming a prince/princess as of now, since Archie and Lili will automatically gain the title upon the death of their great-grandmother the Queen. The only person who can ensure this is the Queen herself if she decides to change the rules.
"It is clear to me that the Queen and her advisers have discussed this issue at the highest level, and that the future royal status of Archie and Lili is not in jeopardy in her lifetime," Lacey said about the possibility.
William and Kate's three children, George, Charlotte and Louis, already hold their respective prince/princess titles, but it was not by right but as gifts of the Queen who issued new Letters Patent to that effect in 2013. Though Archie and Lili are expected to receive theirs when their grandfather takes to the throne, even now not all grandchildren of the current British monarch are titled Prince or Princess.
Princess Anne's children had no automatic right to the title even as she was a daughter of the sovereign, though she was offered lesser titles for her children Peter and Zara, which she refused to ensure their freedom. The Queen's youngest son, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie Wessex, also declined Prince and Princess titles for their daughter Louise and son James, who are instead titled Lady and Viscount. Lady Louise Windsor, 17, and James, Viscount Severn, 13, have the right to choose prince/princess titles when they turn 18.
According to Robert Lacey, Harry and Meghan who quit royal life in 2020, could follow in the footsteps of the Earl and Countess of Wessex by not styling their children prince or princess when Charles becomes King, but Archie and Lili would be able to make a different choice when they turn 18.