The House of Sussex is once again embroiled in controversy — this time over whether Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sought Queen Elizabeth’s permission before giving their newborn daughter the middle name ‘Lillibet,’ after Harry’s grandmother.
The nickname Lillibet grew out of a young princess Elizabeth’s inability to pronounce her own name properly. Her father, King George V, dubbed her the mispronunciation and it became regularly used within the family. The Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, who passed away on April 9, also reportedly used the moniker as an affectionate pet name. The Queen herself has been known to use it on several occasions, including to sign the funeral card of her mother and her close friend, the Earl of Mountbatten.
On June 9, the BBC’s royal correspondent and news presenter Jonny Dymond tweeted that a “Palace source tells BBC that the Queen was not asked by Meghan and Harry over the use of her childhood nickname; reports suggested Harry had sought permission from Queen to call newborn ‘Lilibet’; but Palace source says the Queen was ‘never asked’.” Dymond’s claim made it into BBC reporting later the same day.
But the Duke and Duchess denied the reports to CNN, with a spokesperson saying, “The Duke spoke with his family in advance of the announcement. In fact, his grandmother was the first family member he called. During that conversation, he shared their hope of naming their daughter Lilibet in her honor. Had she not been supportive, they would not have used the name.”
The Sussexes’ law firm, Schillings, called the BBC’s reporting “false and defamatory” and has sought to quash its further spread by sending a letter to news broadcasters and publishers warning that the report “should not be repeated.”
The incident represents the latest salvo in the ongoing war between the Sussexes and the British press after Harry released a statement last month about U.K. media’s treatment of his mother, Diana, in the 80s and 90s:
Our mother was an incredible woman who dedicated her life to service. She was resilient, brave and unquestionably honest. The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life.To those who have taken some form of accountability, thank you for owning it. That is the first step towards justice and truth. Yet what deeply concerns me is that practices like these — and even worse — are still widespread today. Then, and now, it’s bigger than one outlet, one network, or one publication.
The reports also come after a fraught period in the royal family, following on the heels of Harry and Meghan’s explosive March interview with Oprah Winfrey in which they alleged Meghan was subjected to racist comments from other members of the family and indifference to suicidal thoughts she was experiencing as a result of the pressures of royal life. The couple have since officially left royal service and taken up residence in California where they have entered into deals with American media companies like Netflix and Spotify.
Buckingham Palace has declined to either confirm or deny reports that Harry and Meghan did not seek permission to use ‘Lilibet.’ And while the BBC has updated its story to now include the Sussexes’ denial, it is sticking by its original reporting that the Duke and Duchess “never asked” to use the name.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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