When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle celebrated the birth of their firstborn son Archie Harrison last May, the couple decided to forgo the usual protocol surrounding the birth of a royal baby. Not only did the Sussexes schedule Archie's first photo op at St. George's Hall in Windsor Castle instead of the customary flick at St. Mary's Hospital, Harry and Meghan also decided to keep the identity of their son's godparents private, a stark departure from royal tradition.
Eight months after Archie's birth, we've finally learned who Harry and Meghan chose to serve as his godparents. Harry's childhood nanny Tiggy Pettifer is Archie's godmother, and the prince bestowed the title of godfather upon Mark Dyer, a former officer of honour to Prince Charles. Dyer shares the duty with Harry's longtime friend Charlie van Straubenzee.
Archie's godparents will play a huge role in his life, especially in light of this parents' monumental decision to step away from their roles as senior members of the Royal Family. In order to pursue financial independence (and escape harassment from the British tabloids), Harry and Meghan have given up their royal titles and will make their home in different parts of North America as opposed to maintaining permanent residence in Frogmore Cottage; as we speak, the little family is enjoying the peace and quiet of Canada's Vancouver Island.
A source told E! News that Archie's godparents will help strengthen his ties to the United Kingdom even as he and his family live an ocean away. "They were both constants in Harry's childhood and beyond," said the source. "They are fascinating choices of figures in Harry's life that he will hope may keep Archie rooted somehow in the UK, as they relocate to North America."
Meghan and the 23-time Grand Slam winner have been close friends since 2010 when they first met while attending the Super Bowl. Over the course of their decade-long friendship, the women have grown closer, both having personally been the subject of intense public scrutiny. "Our friendship is still exactly the same. We have always supported each other," said Williams said in July. "We've always had a wonderful friendship, and every year for a couple years she comes out to Wimbledon, and has supported me. Now, she's supporting me in a different role."
The Clooneys were also suspected to be named Archie's godparents — Meghan and Amal are good friends, and George and Harry naturally became friendly as a result — but the Ocean's Eleven star squashed those rumours early on. "That would be a bad idea," he said on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at the time. "I am not going to be their godfather. I can promise you that."
Harry and Meghan's decision regarding their son's godparents came months before "Megxit," but it is telling — it means that the couple has been considering taking the giant step away from the Royal Family for quite some time. "The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back, is not one I made lightly,” Prince Harry recently revealed in a speech at Sentebale, the HIV/AIDS charity organization he founded with Lesotho's Prince Seeiso.
“It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges. And I know I haven’t always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option.”
In addition to the support of the Her Majesty the Queen, Harry and Meghan can also turn lean on the encouragement of Archie's godparents in this strategic new chapter of their journey as family.