Tuesday 22 October 2019

From the meaning behind Archie to Meghan's post-partum style: the biggest talking points around the royal baby

Your definitive guide of everything you need to know about the new royal baby

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle hold their baby son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor as Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and Doria Ragland look on. Picture: Chris Allerton/@sussexroyal
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle hold their baby son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor as Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and Doria Ragland look on. Picture: Chris Allerton/@sussexroyal
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose with their newborn son during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle on May 8, 2019 in Windsor, England. The Duchess of Sussex gave birth at 05:26 on Monday 06 May, 2019. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, attend the Queen's Birthday reception at the British ambassador's residence on May 07, 2019 in Berlin, Germany
Mammy’s little prince: Harry with his adoring mother Princess Diana in 1988
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Berkshire
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Berkshire
Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex are seen with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle, in Berkshire, Britain May 8, 2019. Dominic Lipinski/Pool via REUTERS
Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex are seen with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle, in Berkshire, Britain May 8, 2019. Dominic Lipinski/Pool via REUTERS
Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex are seen with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle, in Berkshire, Britain May 8, 2019. Dominic Lipinski/Pool via REUTERS
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

It's been hard to keep up with all of the Baby Sussex updates in recent days - here is everything you need to know about Meghan and Harry's beautiful new baby son.

The name

After several hours, Meghan and Harry confirmed they named their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor; purposely choosing not to announce it until after they shared the news with Queen Elizabeth.  It's a shortened version of Archibald, meaning "genuine", "bold" and "brave" with German origins.

Due to his birth order, little Archie wouldn't naturally inherit a title unless it was requested and the new parents' decision not to confirms their desire to raise him as normally as possible. Archie was an unusual choice, while Harrison was a fitting tribute to his father as it literally means "son of Harry." Mountbatten-Windsor is the personal surname used many of Elizabeth and Philip's descendants.

They shared the news with a precious photo of them as a family with Elizabeth, Prince Philip and Meghan's mother Doria Ragland on the Sussex Royal Instagram account.

The announcement

It has been reported by multiple outlets that Meghan had hoped for a home birth but was instead sent to hospital as she was one week past her due date, but the details were kept so secretive that many senior royals didn't even know about the labour. This allowed the couple private time together before announcing the birth (on Instagram), but also causing some confusion among royal reporters as it was initially detailed that Meghan was in labour when in fact their son was safely born several hours earlier.

Harry decided on an impromptu press conference from Windsor Castle, supposedly blindsiding ITV and BBC, while Sky News was randomly selected to distribute the footage and the chaotic way in which the news trickled out caused Britain's biggest broadcasters to miss its deadlines and flub on-air reporting. The Sussexes’ communications chief Sara Latham described it as a “colossal tech failure’’.

Social media

It's no coincidence that Meghan and Harry launched their own independent Instagram account a few weeks before the birth of their child as social media savvy Meghan knows it's the most impactful way to directly interact with followers around the world. They first announced the news of the arrival on the medium, while comparatively Kate and William opted for a news release to traditional media outlets, reflective of the duty bound protocols expected of them as England's future king and queen.

It will likely be a tool they will use for their major announcements and private moments going forward.

 

The big reveal

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Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex are seen with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle, in Berkshire, Britain May 8, 2019. Dominic Lipinski/Pool via REUTERS
 

Meghan and Harry chose to introduce their baby son on the grounds of Windsor Castle, where they now live in the newly refurbished Frogmore Cottage. They held a photocall with a tiny press pool  of four selected to syndicate words, imagery and visuals, comprising of one reporter from the Press Association, a Sky camera crew, a photographer and controversially, an American camera crew.

The decision to include representation from stateside has been met with widespread disdain by royal reporters, dutifully noting that the Susssexes' lifestyle is part funded by the taxpayer, but not taking into consideration the fact that Meghan is American and her child has automatic citizenship rights.

Meghan's look

To analyse a woman's appearance fresh from giving birth goes against the ethos for which Meghan stands (and mine), but it would be remiss of me to ignore the interest in her first public appearance in two months. After quietly withdrawing from public life to embark on her maternity leave and the fever pitch excitement around the birth, the former actress looked expectedly radiant.

She wore a white sleeveless trench coat-style dress by Wales Bonner, proudly showing off her postpartum bump and a pair of the royal go-to heel: a nude court shoe.

Arguably, her most telling piece of clothing was a pair of nude tights, as preferred by the Queen for all official engagements. And frankly if anyone could question the integrity of a woman so devoted to respecting her husband's grandmother that she would throw on flesh coloured tights two days after giving birth needs to have their head checked.

How things differ with William and Kate

William and Kate are obliged to take part in the post-birth photocall as their children are direct heirs to the British throne, but in recent years, the response to Kate standing on the steps of the Lindo Wing in high heels with a fresh blow-dry just hours after giving birth has been met with more pity than support. The idea of waiting more than a few hours to introduce their baby to the world (which is exactly what the Cambridges did after the birth of Prince George in 2013) isn't so much rebellious as it is protecting new parents' sanity and sending a message that their baby is not public property.

They took to St George's Hall in Windsor Castle, a throwback to their wedding day last May, and arrived with their little bundle of joy to a handful of select media.

They also gave a brief interview about the joy of parenting, unlike William and Kate who obliged for pictures with hundreds of photographers instead of this more intimate selection where they shared heartwarming quotes about parenting and their "bundle of joy".

Baby Sussex's outfit

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, during a photocall in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Berkshire. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
 

Meghan is exceptionally savvy with her sartorial choices, choosing brands which align with their ethos during public engagements (she put vegan runner brand Veja on the map after wearing them in Australia last year), so her newborn baby was always going to be dressed to perfection for his big reveal to the world.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis were all wrapped in white lace made by the Nottingham lace shawl company in keeping with a tradition first established by Queen Elizabeth in 1948 after giving birth to Prince Charles. Little Archie was wrapped in the same type of cream shawl as preferred by the tradition set by his great-grandmother.

The reaction

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Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, attend the Queen's Birthday reception at the British ambassador's residence on May 07, 2019 in Berlin, Germany
 

A statement issued by Buckingham Palace on Monday stated that Meghan's mother Doria Ragland was at home with her daughter, assisting in her recovery, which stated she was "overjoyed" about her first grandchild. She has been given pride of place in all the familial coverage.

Prince Charles, who is in Germany on official royal business, said: "We couldn't be more delighted at the news and we're looking forward to meeting the baby when we return."

Meghan's father Thomas, from whom she is estranged, issued a statement saying: "I am proud that my new grandson is born into the British royal family and I am sure that he will grow up to serve the crown and the people of Britain with grace, dignity, and honour."

Queen Elizabeth was "delighted" by the news and beamed as she joined her husband Prince Philip in a rare public outing yesterday.

George Clooney, a close friend of the couple joked about sharing a birthday with the royal baby. "It was a little irritating, because that kid really is stealing my thunder! This was my day! I was sharing it already with Orson Welles and Sigmund Freud!"

Harry's tribute to his mother

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Mammy’s little prince: Harry with his adoring mother Princess Diana in 1988
 

The announcement issued by Buckingham Palace also was sure to acknowledge his late mother Princess Diana, stating that her siblings Lady Jane Fellowes, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Earl Spencer were told of the news in the same sentence as Prince Charles and Camilla and Kate and William.

What's next

It's believed that the Sussexes will embark on a tour of Africa with their infant son in just a few months' time, but not for the two year stint that was initially reported.

 “They are thinking about the future,” a source told Vanity Fair. “Harry was always referred to as the spare, but he’s not the spare any more. This is about him and Meghan finding meaningful roles for the future. It’s about Harry redefining his role and him and Meghan finding a new role in the royal family and creating their own place in the institution.”

It's a surprising decision given they had postponed a planned trip to the US and Canada as their baby would be too young, but at least a few private trips are expected in 2020. After Meghan held a controversial baby shower in New York to see her friends before giving birth, it's likely they'll make a discreet visit stateside to do a more formal introduction with her most trusted American confidantes.

Online Editors

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