“It is with great joy that Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, welcome their daughter, Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, to the world. Lili was born on Friday, June 4 at 11.40am,” the duo shared in a message of thanks on the Archewell website.
“She weighed 7lb, 11oz (3.5kg). Both mother and child are healthy and well, and settling in at home.”
Lilibet, after all, is Her Majesty’s private nickname, which was used by her parents and grandparents as well as Prince Philip and Princess Margaret. It was bestowed upon her by her father King George VI at a young age because she had trouble pronouncing Elizabeth.
Royal watcher Angela Levin tells us that while she can fully understand the decision to use Diana as a middle name, she is baffled as to why they would take something so personal as a pet name away from the Queen at this time.
“[Had she not agreed] the choice [might be seen as] an invasion of the Queen’s privacy,” Angela explains.
“Lilibet was the loving nickname the late Duke of Edinburgh used for his beloved wife, and not something to pass on. I wonder if she is completely happy. The Queen also [might be] concerned about her intimate name [receiving so much attention].”
Just days after Lilibet’s birth, Harry threatened legal action against the BBC following reports the Queen had not been asked by her grandson about using the name.
“… his grandmother was the first family member he called,” a spokesman for the Sussexes said at the time, adding that had the Queen not been supportive, they would not have used the name – a claim some palace insiders reject.
Despite this, Angela notes that it is also a strange choice, considering both Harry and Meghan have spent a good amount of their time shaming the royal family since they relocated to the US. Harry in particular recently questioned both the Queen and his father Prince Charles’s parenting.
“Why name a daughter after someone you have criticised and decided to move away from their influence?” Angela says.
“There’s no doubt Lilibet will stand out from other children and [will often be in the spotlight, particularly when her parents are keen on [it].”
Fellow royal author Penny Junor agrees, telling Royals Monthly she was shocked when she heard the couple had chosen the name Lilibet.
“I expected Diana to be one of the names, and I think to have called their daughter Elizabeth would have been a lovely gesture to Harry’s grandmother, but I was very surprised and, if I’m honest, slightly shocked by Lilibet,” Penny explains.
“It is always flattering to have a child named after oneself, but my guess is the royals might have felt more comfortable if they had given her the full name, Elizabeth.”
While some royal watchers believe the name is in some way an olive branch after recent family feuds, Penny is not so convinced.
“This could be seen as either a peace offering – although there have been no signs that either Harry or Meghan regret the things they’ve said about the royal family in the last few months – or, more cynically, as a means of making sure that their daughter, with or without a title, unmistakably goes through life as the Queen’s great-granddaughter.
“I would hate to attribute any motive to Harry and Meghan’s choice of names but I think being called Lilibet, even if she is known as Lili, will ensure this child stands out from the crowd. The Sussexes stepped back from royal duties to protect their privacy and that of their family, but they have done nothing but court publicity in the last year, and now, in choosing Lilibet as a name, they have attracted yet more media attention. And arguably, because of the name, Lili will continue to be of media interest as she grows up.”
Penny adds that it would also have been nice to see Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland, who spends a lot of time with her daughter, represented in some way.
“I suspect they chose Diana because she is no longer alive and Doria is – but it might have been nice to have included Doria or her second name Loyce in the list.”
Meanwhile, the Queen’s biographer Sally Bedell Smith believes Her Majesty actually felt she had no choice but to allow Meghan and Harry to use her moniker.
“In today’s tense climate, when everyone is walking on eggshells with Harry and Meghan, I can’t imagine that the Queen had any choice but to accept the name they presented to her,” Sally told Vanity Fair.
Despite this, members of the royal family have once again put on a united front, congratulating the Sussexes on their newest addition.
“The Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have been informed and are delighted with the news of the birth of a daughter for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex,” a palace statement read.
Prince William and Kate Middleton also shared a separate congratulatory message on their official Instagram account, posting, “We are all delighted by the happy news of the arrival of baby Lili. Congratulations to Harry, Meghan and Archie.” They are also believed to have sent Lilibet a special gift.
While visiting a Mini car factory in Oxford on June 8, Prince Charles said the birth of his fifth grandchild was “such happy news”.
And despite her frosty relationship with Meghan, during a recent panel discussion with First Lady Jill Biden, Kate kept it classy when asked about her new niece.
“I wish her all the very best,” the duchess said. “I can’t wait to meet her. We haven’t met her yet. I hope we will soon.”
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