Decoding Archie Harrison: The Meaning Behind Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Baby Name

They debuted their son to the world and to Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday, after which they revealed the child's name.

By Corinne Heller May 08, 2019 4:28 PMTags
Watch: Meghan Markle & Prince Harry Share First Pic of Royal Baby

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry went with an unusual, non-traditional name for their first child, Archie.

The 37-year-old Duchess of Sussex gave birth on Monday, May 6 to their baby boy and she and her husband, 34, debuted him to the world and to Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday, after which they revealed the child's name: Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

Let's decode the name.

Archie: According to "Archie is a boy's name of German origin meaning 'truly brave." Archie was the 18th most popular name for boys in England and Wales in 2017, according to the U.K. Office for National Statistics.

Despite speculation, the couple has not confirmed whether the name is a formal name of a nickname of Archibald. Harry's late mother Princess Diana has an ancestor named Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll of Scotland.

The name Archie also may have a special meaning for the royal family.

In January, a woman told the U.K. newspaper The Sun that she saw Meghan and Harry's nephew and Prince William and Kate Middleton's eldest child, Prince George, 5, was out playing with sister Princess Charlotte, 3, and their maternal grandmother Carole Middleton near her family home. The woman said she was walking her dog and George started petting it, so she asked him what his name is. She told the newspaper, "To my astonishment, he said, 'I'm called Archie.'"

"This is a most unusual choice [of name], but I am not surprised because I have said that they would go out of the box," royal historian Marlene Koenig told E! News. "There are no Archies or Archibalds in the family. I have said a few times that the parents of non-royals seem to have more leeway, more freedom."

See Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Royal Baby's First Photos

Harrison: This one's literal. According to "The name Harrison is a boy's name of English, Aboriginal origin meaning 'son of Harry.'"

Mountbatten-Windsor: This has been the last name of the queen's male-line descendants who do not have royal styles and titles, and is a combination of her surname and and husband Prince Philip's adopted surname of Mountbatten. William has used the name, as have his and Harry's uncle Prince Andrew, Duke of York and and aunt Anne, Princess Royal.

The Mountbatten family is a branch of the German house of Battenberg.  The House of Windsor is the reigning royal house of the U.K. and the rest of the Commonwealth.

Meghan and Harry revealed their son's name to the queen before announcing it to the world. Traditionally, the reigning monarch has to sign off on the name. The queen, Koenig said, "is not like her grandfather, King George V, who vetoed Ann Margaret for Elizabeth's younger sister so the Duke and duchess of York went with Margaret Rose."

Chris Allerton/SussexRoyal

Days before the big reveal of Meghan and Harry's child's name, many predicted the famous couple would opt for something along the lines of Arthur, Alexander and Albert.

William and Kate had given their eldest son and daughter names that have been used by the British royal family over the past few centuries. Their youngest child, son Prince Louis, 1, also has a royal name. Unsurprisingly, Meghan and Prince Harry broke tradition, as they are known to do.

When it comes to picking a name, many royals have paid tribute to their lineage. For example, King George VI was Queen Elizabeth II's father. King George IV's only child was Princess Charlotte of Wales. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's daughter's name is Charlotte. Her middle names are Elizabeth and Diana, which is an homage to the queen and William and Harry's late mother, Princess Diana.

However, it's common that the closer you are to the throne, the more traditional your child's name must be. Archie stands seventh in line.

What about a royal title?

The couple has reportedly chosen not to use a courtesy title for their boy. According to Keonig, Harry and Meghan's son could have been known as the Earl of Dumbarton, but his title will instead be "Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor."

"Very untraditional," she said. "But not surprised as Harry and Meghan want a 'normal' life for their kids."