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4-min read

'Why Archie'? World Wants to Know Mystery Behind Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's 'Royal Baby' Name

To the dismay of many, however, the fashionably radical Duke and Duchess of Sussex who have a penchant for breaking tradition, announced that the baby will be called Archie Harrison. But, why Archie?

Rakhi Bose | News18.com@theotherbose

Updated:May 9, 2019, 4:10 PM IST
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'Why Archie'? World Wants to Know Mystery Behind Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's 'Royal Baby' Name
Archie Harrison with his parents, the duke and Duchess of Sussex | Image credit: Reuters
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What's in a name? While the great Bard may have you believe that it's not that much, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor is proving otherwise in just 48 hours of existing.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Dutchess of Sussex, gave birth to their first on May 6, the seventh in line to the royal British throne. As soon as the blue-blooded baby entered the world, the latter wanted to know what it would be called. After all, that name could someday take the throne. To the dismay of many, however, the fashionably radical Duke and Duchess of Sussex who have had a penchant for breaking tradition, announced that the baby will be called Archie Harrison. Yes, just that. Archie. (The mouthy 'Mountbatten-Windsor', official last name of the royals, would probably be relegated to paperwork, ceremonial occasions and the hands of conscientious copywriters).

The name instantly evoked insipid reactions from British citizens, already in flux about their identities as Brits in post-Brexit (well, almost) UK. Many said that the name was "too American". Jokes and memes flew instantly about the royal baby's American heritage. Xenophobic voices in the UK again complained about the outside influence that Markle was bringing into the royal family was undue and unbecoming.

However, the American flavour of the name is probably the precise reason for it being chosen. The fact that Markle and Prince Harry represent a royal power couple like none other in the UK probably does not escape them. They are feminists - at least they claim to be. They are unscrupulous in their apparent "disregard" for royal tradition. In just revealing their firstborn to the world, the couple seems to have broken a number of customs including skipping the 'Lindo Wing photo-op' - the accepted format in which generations of royal couples have revealed the first look of their babies - outside the Lindo Wing hospital.

Not these two. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex chose to reinvent by conducting the photo-op in Windosr Castle, two days after the birth of the baby. Meghan and Harry sure know how to cash in on the social media hoopla.

And now, with the non-titular Yankee name, the couple seem to be indicating further potential to stray even further, much to the horror of the English orthodox. Because the couple named their firstborn Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. Not Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, Earl of Dumbarton, which is his Harry's honorary subsidiary title and subsequently his. The fact that the name was announced sans-title could mean that the the child is forsaking the royal title and thus would never be part of "royal engagements, duties and patronages", TIME reported Marlene Koenig, resident expert on British royalty, as saying.

And that just might be what the couple are going for. After all, Archie is part-American on his mother's side and the first biracial member of the British royalty, already ruffled by the induction of an American actress into their pecking order. The world would definitely be watching how this one turns out. The fact that Harry and Meghan chose a simple, non-royalty name could probably lie in a potential yearning for 'the simple life' for their kids. A life which is not all royal but also ordinary. A life not just like the one his father Prince Harry has led from birth but also like the one his 'ordinary' mother led as non-royalty in the US. Of course, Hollywood is its own royalty but that's another debate.

It could also be a diplomatic move. Archie could build bridges between British and American culture, in turn making UK feel a little more like home for Meghan and fusing a dash of English chai to the American black coffee. He could even open inroads for political diplomacy. Who knows what Archie Harrison could do?

Essentially, according to many, Archie is a shortened form of Archibald, nice strong English name that dates back to medieval times and implies something to the effect of 'true and bold'. However, while uptight adherents of the monarchy would find solace in that, internet was quick to notice the pop-culture gold mine that the name suggested.

'Archie' is back in American imagination after Netflix resurrected the popular and lovable comic book character Archie Andrews in the luridly popular show 'Riverdale'. In fact, the show even gave a shout out to the royals for picking their protagonists's name. Archie could also be a nod to Archie Bunker from the hit 70s American sitcom 'All in the Family'. And Harrison? Again the reference could be both British and American. Harrison Ford continues to inspire millions of Americans in the form of Indiana Jones, the explorer of lost worlds and keeper of wondrous treasures. Or it could be George Harrison, the Beatle. Who knows, maybe Harry and Meghan prefer George to all the other Beatles! After all, they're different!

And coming from Markle, who made her fame with the US TV show Suits, it is hardly surprising that she would choose a name that is relatable to both her royal subjects in the UK as well as fans back home. Would Archie, who is set to have quite an unusual life (even for a royal) bring together the best of both worlds? As long as the Queen says yes!
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