Great Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, reportedly nixed the idea of giving their son Archie the title of Earl of Dumbarton because it contained the word “dumb.”
The title was bestowed upon Lord George Douglas in the Peerage of Scotland in March 1675 for fighting in the Franco-Dutch War. The title became extinct in 1749 after the death of his only son, then was resurrected in the U.K. Peerage by Queen Elizabeth for Harry when he married Markle in 2018, The Telegraph notes.
Harry “was also created Baron Kilkeel. His son is the heir to the earldom but when he was born in May 2019, the couple insisted that he would simply be known as Archie Mountbatten-Windsor,” the outlet reports.
“They didn’t like the idea of Archie being called the Earl of Dumbarton because it began with the word ‘dumb’ [and] they were worried about how that might look,” one source told The Telegraph. Another source echoed, “It wasn’t just Meghan who pointed out the potential pitfalls; it also bothered Harry.”
The Daily Mail reported that Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, wants a slimmed-down monarchy, and among the effects of such a move would be the elision of Archie from the frontline royals:
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 across the Atlantic. … 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 Telegraph said sources claimed Harry and Meghan “never raised an issue” about Archie not being a prince until their Oprah Winfrey interview. The Telegraph added, “Harry was said to be ‘adamant’ that Archie, now two, ‘should be raised without titles like his cousins Peter and Zara Philips.’”
Markle told Winfrey, “They didn’t want him to be a prince or princess, not knowing what the gender would be, which would be different from protocol, and (said) that he wasn’t going to receive security. … In those months when I was pregnant we have in tandem the conversation of, you won’t be given security, not gonna be given a title and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.”
“A spokesperson for Debrett’s etiquette school said: ‘In 1917, King George V ordered that only the grandchildren of the monarch would be entitled to use the style of prince or princess and HRH, the only exception to this order was that the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales would also be entitled to be use the style HRH and Prince,” News.com.au reported. “In accordance with the 1917 order, Archie could now use his father’s title of the Earl of Dumbarton and could be referred to as Lord Dumbarton.”