Why isn’t Prince Harry’s son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor a Prince too?
If you want to know the perhaps slightly convoluted reason that Archie Mountbatten-Windor doesn’t have a title, then stick around for a few minutes.
This explanation is not a quick “Oh, it’s because he is the great-grandson of the Queen, that’s why.” type explanation. I am going to go deeper than that. Yes, it’s true that he is the great-grandson of the Queen and that is the reason he doesn’t have a title. If that’s good enough for you, then there is no reason to read on, but if you, like me want to know why the Queen’s great-grandchildren don’t get titles, then keep reading! If you don’t want to read a long article, but your curiosity has been sparked, consider watching the video instead:
The Question of an old Rule
You may have heard that it has to do with some old rule that states that the Queen’s great-grandchildren aren’t given the title of prince or princess. But why then are all of Prince William’s children Princes and Princess? Aren’t Harry’s children entitled to the same since he is also the son of the Crown Prince of England?
The reason that Archie Mountbatten Windsor doesn’t have a title relates to a letter patent, some obscure extended royal family members, and the Great War.
I will explain how all of these things correlate and by the end of this article, you will understand exactly why Archie Mountbatten-Windsor doesn’t have a title.
Now it is time for a quick lesson in slightly obscure royal family members who are all, unsurprisingly related to Queen Victoria.
Before I begin, just beware that this next part might get a little confusing and hard to follow, as the royals tend to have an affinity for using the same names over and over again, and most of the people I am going to mention, you have probably never heard of before, but bear with me because they are important to this explanation.
So here goes:
I will start with some more familiar royals and work my way towards the less-familiar.
When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840, she assumed his name being of the house of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. When they had children, they passed that name onto them, and when their sons had children, they passed the name onto their children, and so on. You get the picture.
What is the big deal about that? Well for one thing, the royal family does not go by the name Saxe-Coburg and Gotha anymore, but I will get into more detail about that soon. The point is simply that Albert was of the house of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. His father was the first Sovereign Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Ernest I. Albert had an older brother also named Ernest and the two of them were their father’s only legitimate sons.
So, when Ernest I died in 1844, his oldest legitimate son Ernest became Ernest II of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Are you still with me?
Ernest II, though he was married, was never able to produce an heir, so when he died in 1893 someone had to fill his place. Who be the next Sovereign Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha? The answer was Victoria and Albert’s second-oldest son Alfred, since their oldest son would become the future King of England, Edward VII upon his mother’s death.
So Alfred took his place as the third duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The good news was that he already had a teenaged son who could succeed him when he died. The Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was now secure with a duke and an heir already line up, right? Wrong.
No one is entirely certain of the circumstances leading to Prince Alfred’s son, Alfred’s death. Some say that his health just suddenly broke down, while others claim that he succumbed to consumption. But the most widely-believed story goes that he shot himself right around his parent’s 25th wedding anniversary because of a scandal that he and his mistress were involved in.
He survived the shot and was sent in shame to recover in Meran where he died a few weeks later. He was Prince Alfred’s only son. So when he himself died in 1900, the search for a new Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha once again commenced. This time it landed in the lap of Queen Victoria’s youngest son, Leopold’s oldest son, Leopold, no I’m just kidding. His name was Leopold but he went by his first two middle names Charles Edward.
In case you are a little confused by this point, here is a quick recap:
The Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha went from Prince Albert’s father Ernest I then to Prince Albert’s older brother Ernest II. He was succeeded by his second-oldest nephew Prince Alfred who was succeeded by his youngest brother’s oldest son Charles Edward. I meant it when I said obscure relatives.
Now, lets pause this story at the year 1917. Most of the people I just mentioned are dead, except for Prince Leopold’s son Charles Edward who is still Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. You are going to want to remember him.
Now we are going to take a look at two more obscure royal relatives and then I promise we will get back to Prince Harry and Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
We start once again at Queen Victoria, but this time instead of going down her family tree, we will go up to her grandfather George III, King of the United Kingdom of Britain and Hanover.
When George III died, he was succeeded by his oldest son who became George IV. When he died without an heir, the throne was passed onto his younger brother William who became William IV.
After King William IV also died without an heir, the throne was passed onto his younger brother’s only child. A daughter named Alexandrina Victoria. In 1837 at the age of 18, she became Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland.
According to the Hanoverian rules of succession, however, Victoria could not inherit the throne of Hanover since she was not a man.
So the throne of Hanover went to Ernest Augustus the 5th son of George III. After he died, his oldest son became George V of Hanover and he had a son named Ernest Augustus, who also named his son Ernest Augustus. The two latter names belong to the two other aforementioned obscure royal relatives.
Now back to the year 1917. The Great War rages on and Europe’s kingdoms are forced to oppose one another. Britain is on the allied side of the war, so naturally are the royal family. There is a hitch though. Remember their last name? Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. That’s sounds pretty German doesn’t it?
And it did to the British people too. Scared of what his subjects might think or say or do to him and his family, King George V decided in July of 1917 to change the name of the Royal household from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor, the name that the British royal family still uses to this day.
Now remember those obscure royal relatives?
Charles Edward the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Ernest Augustus Crown Prince of Hanover, and his son Ernest Augustus all swore allegiance to the Germans during the Great War. The problem with this was that all three of them had British titles.
If George V went to the trouble of changing the royal household’s name from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor on the account that it sounded too German, how could be condone having relatives with British titles fighting on the German side of the war?
Enter the Titles Deprivation Act of December 1917.
This act, created by George V basically meant that only the Monarch’s children and grandchildren could bear the titles of Prince or Princess and the oldest son of his oldest grandson, being an heir to the throne, could also bear the title of Prince.
This would limit the chance of having relatives with British titles fighting on opposing sides during wars. Instead of taking the titles away from just these three relatives, George V decided to pear the down the number of Royals with titles in general.
So what does that mean nowadays and why doesn’t Archie Mountbatten-Windsor have a title?
Queen Elizabeth II is the current reigning Monarch of the Uk of Britain and Ireland.
Her children are Prince Charles, Princess Anne, and Princes Andrew and Edward respectively.
Their children are the Grandchildren of the Queen and therefore can also bear the titles of Prince or Princess, should their parents choose this for them (Princess Anne chose that her children shouldn’t be Prince and Princess)
Now, the Queen’s grandchildren’s children, except for Prince William’s oldest son do not qualify for this as outlined in the Titles Deprivation Act of 1917.
So why are Charlotte and Louis Princess and Prince, too?
This has to do with an amendment that Queen Elizabeth II made to the Titles Deprivation Act which made it possible for all of her oldest Grandson’s children to bear a title.
Archie Mountbatten-Windsor is not the son of the oldest grandson of the Monarch, therefore he and all of the Queen’s other great-grandchildren with the exception of Prince William’s children are not allowed to bear a title.
So in short, the reason that Archie Mountbatten-Windsor doesn’t have a title is because a Great-Grandson and two twice Great-Grandsons of a former Monarch of the UK of Britain and Ireland fought on the wrong side of the War during World War One.
So yes, the reason that Archie Mountbatten-Windsor doesn’t have a title relates to racism, but has nothing to do with him or his parents personally. It goes back over 100 years in the past to one of the bloodiest wars in history. It was an act of anti-German sentiment.
Thank you so much for reading this article. I hope you found its contents enlightening and entertaining.
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