Meghan and Harry, the Duchess and Duke of Sussex, confirmed via a spokesperson that they welcomed their second child on Friday, June 4. The baby, a girl, was born at 11:40 a.m. and weighed 7 lbs, 11 oz. Meghan Markle gave birth at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in California, where the couple has lived since leaving their roles as senior members of the royal family. The baby girl is the second child for Markle and her husband who are already parents to 2-year-old Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
The couple named their new daughter Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, but she will be called by the nickname Lili. Most people can guess where the baby’s middle name comes from. She’s named after Princess Diana, Prince Harry’s beloved mother, who tragically died in a high-speed car chase with paparazzi in Paris in 1997. Prince Harry has spoken often of his love for his mother and the personal struggles he experienced after losing her when he was just 12 years old. The mental health work he has since done to deal with his grief has led to a newfound career in the wellness space.
Avid watchers of The Crown are more likely to know the baby’s first name, and this is where it gets interesting. Lilibet is the royal family’s nickname for Queen Elizabeth II, Harry’s grandmother, Lili’s great-grandmother, and the current monarch. The Queen’s late husband Prince Philip, who died in April of this year, is said to have been the last person in the family to call the Queen by her childhood nickname. Town & Country reported that the Queen placed a letter to her late husband on his coffin during his funeral, and eagle-eyed viewers noticed that she had signed the letter Lilibet.
Naming their daughter after Prince Harry’s grandmother may seem like a logical choice; however, following the couple stepping down as senior royals, moving to California, and their bombshell interview with Oprah, the decision is confusing to some. During the interview, they claimed that a member of the royal family had openly worried about the color of Archie’s skin, that it is questionable why Archie was not given a title to ensure he gets security from the Firm, and that the royal family did not help Markle when she was experiencing suicidal ideation while pregnant with Archie. Additionally, Markle and Prince Harry's revelations to Oprah cast a pall over the monarchy, so Lilibet’s moniker could be another source of contention. On the contrary, the couple has put thousands of miles between themselves and Harry’s family, and the name could be an attempt to mend the rift and show their respect for the Queen.
Following the Oprah interview, the royal family released a 61-word statement professing their love and support for the couple. Lili already has a connection to her cousin Princess Charlotte — daughter of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge — whose full name is Charlotte Elizabeth Diana Mountbatten-Windsor. Tying their daughter to the Queen and Lili’s cousin for life could be the Duke and Duchess’s way of showing they will always respect his grandmother and brother, and that the divide in the family is not as large as the public thinks.