In Depth

The meaning of Archie Harrison’s name

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle break with royal convention for newborn son

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have revealed the name of their baby boy: Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

Their choice “came as a surprise to many” and was never the bookmakers’ favourite, says The Guardian.

The couple have broken with royal convention by opting for just two first names, neither of which is borrowed from previous kings or close relatives. He will also be known as Master Archie, rather than taking the title of Earl or Lord.

So what are the origins of his names?

Archie

The Daily Telegraph notes that royal names are traditionally given in their full, formal form, but Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have chosen to use a diminutive - Archie - rather than the full Archibald. Nevertheless, “Archie is a name widely used in the upper-class circles Prince Harry moves in”, says the newspaper.

The Times explains that Archie is Old High German for “bold”, the ancient Greek for “master” and also “an old American comic-book character famous for his ginger hair”. The name has been around in slightly different forms since Anglo-Saxon times and was the 18th most popular boy’s name in England and Wales in 2017. “Expect that trend to accelerate,” says the paper.

Harrison

“Rather fittingly, Harrison - a name that was originally used as a surname - means ‘son of Harry’,” says the BBC.

Several commentators speculate whether the inspiration came from Harrison Ford, with The New York Times pointing out that the new royal is, after all, “the son of a bona fide Hollywood celebrity”.

Mountbatten-Windsor

The Guardian explains that Mountbatten-Windsor was “a legacy of the Duke of Edinburgh’s deep-rooted desire for his descendants to bear his family name”. This aspiration put him at loggerheads in the early 1950s with Winston Churchill’s government, which feared Prince Charles would become the first king in the House of Mountbatten.

However, says the newspaper, the Queen decided in 1960 that “her descendants – other than her children, or those entitled to use the HRH style, or the descendants of female family members who marry – would bear the surname Mountbatten-Windsor”.

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