This Is Why Harry & Meghan's Baby's First Name Isn't Diana, Insiders Say

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·7 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

There was never any question that Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan were going to incorporate Princess Diana's name into the moniker they would choose for their baby daughter. Recently, the duke has been discussing the devastating effect his mother's death, which happened when he was just 12 years old, has had on his life. He has shared his heartbreak and talked extensively about his mother over the past few months in a series of revealing interviews. There was a great expectation in some circles that Baby Sussex, who was born on June 4, would carry on her late grandmother's name and be a "Diana" for the next generation of young royals. But Harry and Meghan chose not to give their daughter the first name forever associated with one of the most beloved royals of all time, instead opting for the surprising choice of Lilibet Diana, which is also rife with meaning. There is one very good reason why Harry and Meghan decided that Diana would be their baby's middle name and not her first. Read on to find out why the Sussexes confounded royal experts and bookmakers alike with their choice of name.

"Diana" is a "heavy mantle" for a child to carry.

Harry and Meghan's daughter could have shared a title and name with the grandmother she'll never know. If Lilibet had been named "Diana" and did take on the title of "Lady"—just like Lady Louise Windsor did as the daughter of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex and granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth—she would have been "Lady Diana."

According to royal law, when Archie (who is known as Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor) and Miss Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor go from great-grandchildren of Queen Elizabeth to grandchildren of the reigning monarch when Prince Charles becomes king, Archie automatically becomes a prince and his sister, a princess. Thus, Harry and Meghan's daughter would then have been known as "Princess Diana."

"Being the next Lady Diana, and then, Princess Diana, would be a heavy mantle for Harry and Meghan's daughter to carry throughout her life," a Palace insider told Best Life. "They would be setting their daughter up for a lifetime of comparisons. This was surely considered when the duke and duchess were thinking about names. We all knew Diana would be part of the baby's name, but having it as a middle name seems a more fitting tribute."

Prince William and Duchess Kate also honored the princess the very same way. Their daughter's full name is Charlotte Elizabeth Diana Mountbatten-Windsor. In 2012, Queen Elizabeth issued a special Letters Patent that allowed all of the Cambridge children to be HRHs, regardless of their sex. She forever changed the line of succession by decreeing the Cambridges' eldest child, boy or girl, to be William's heir. Harry and Meghan's daughter is eighth in the line of succession, one spot behind her brother, who's behind their father.

RELATED: Diana Would've Been "Very Disappointed" in Harry for This Reason, Sources Say.

The name "Lilibet" took everyone by surprise.

Just as they did when Archie was born, Harry and Meghan managed to surprise everyone by giving their daughter a name that no one had even thought of. As reported by People, U.K. gambling site Ladbrokes had Diana and Elizabeth as the top name choices for the baby girl, at 5/1 and 10/1 odds, respectively. The site also reported that the name Philippa was growing in popularity to honor the late Prince Philip. The betting odds at the end of last month on the name were 3/1.

The Daily Mail reported that the Queen was informed by Harry that her eleventh great-grandchild would be named Lilibet, the nickname given to her by her father, King George V, when she was just a toddler and could not pronounce "Elizabeth." Prince Philip used "Lilibet" privately and starting calling Princess Elizabeth by that name when they began seeing each other and continued to use the endearing nickname throughout their marriage. According to the outlet, it is not clear how much notice Her Majesty was given or if she was told about the name before or after Lilibet Diana's arrival.

Although the baby was born on Friday at 11:40 a.m. at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in California, the official birth announcement came on Sunday when it was posted on the Archewell website. There are reports that Buckingham Palace was caught off guard by the timing of the announcement. A congratulatory message from the Queen was posted 90 minutes after the news broke and that was followed by a steady stream of congratulations from other members of the Royal Family.

In Britain, two very different perspectives about the baby's name have emerged.

As has been the case with so many other decisions Harry and Meghan have made since stepping down as senior royals, naming their daughter Lilibet is not without controversy among royal watchers in Britain. Some say the Queen is touched and greatly moved by the gesture, while others claim she's angry and hurt by the couple's choice to use a name deeply personal to her.

Royal biographer Angela Levin said on ITV's Good Morning Britain that using the Queen's very personal nickname as the baby's first name likely upset her. "I think she's desperately unhappy because they were desperately rude about her. I don't think it's a good idea. I think it's quite rude to Her Majesty the Queen," Levin said. "It was a very private nickname from her husband who hasn't been dead for very long. Prince Charles would never dream of referring to his mother as Lilibet. He's never used it; it was a special name, especially for the Duke of Edinburgh."

Journalist Afua Adom, who appeared on the morning show with Levin, strongly disagreed and said, "To say the Queen would be unhappy is frankly ridiculous. It's a bit of a nod to Meghan's mother Doria as well, her nickname for Meghan is flower." Adom added, "It's also a bit of a stretch to say that the Queen is fuming that her great-grandchild is named after her. I think it's a nod of affection."

Russell Myers of the Daily Mirror said on Monday: "I am told Harry had said to the Queen he may name a daughter after her and so he didn't really ask for permission as such, but it was a nice surprise." Piers Morgan, one of the couple's fiercest critics, has said Harry and Meghan choosing to name their daughter after the Queen is "quite ironic" given that the couple has spent the past few months "trashing the Royal Family and the monarchy."

And for more royals news sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

There is hope Lilibet could bring an end to all the tumult that's played out in recent months.

While there may be differing opinions about Harry and Meghan's choice to name their baby Lilibet Diana, some Palace insiders are saying the gesture represents an "olive branch" that could be the first step towards a reconciliation between the Sussexes and the rest of the Royal Family. Myers said the name could "perhaps have these healing powers." He added: "It's been a turbulent time—the truth bombs, all the labeling of the royal family as racist—this seems to be a tremendous gesture."

A Palace insider wondered to Best Life, "Is the name meant to send a message that they very much want to still be considered close family members? Or is it a thoughtless gesture given the Queen is still grieving her husband, who was the only person in the family that called her Lilibet? Those who are hopeful about the future of the monarchy are taking it as a good sign the Queen will finally see Archie and meet her namesake and perhaps even get to know their cousins."

Another source said, "Hopefully the name will soothe 'hurt feelings' and put an end—if only temporarily—to the wretched family drama that has played out publicly for months. That would truly be the best thing to happen for all concerned."

RELATED: Harry&Meghan's Relationship With This Royal Is "Beyond Repair," Says Source.

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.