What’s in a name? Apparently a lot when it comes to royal babies. After Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, announced they were pregnant with a girl during that infamous Oprah interview, speculation began over both the name and the due date.
Earlier this week, royal watchers received their answer. Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor was born on Friday, June 4 at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, weighing in at 7 pounds and 11 ounces, according to an announcement on Harry and Meghan’s Archewell website. A fine name if you ask me, especially considering how the first name is a direct homage to Queen Elizabeth II, Harry’s grandmother. As the story goes, the queen reportedly had difficulty pronouncing her own name as a child, and thus the moniker “Lilibet” was given by her father, King George V, according to the BBC. And the second name is in honor of Harry’s late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, who was killed in a car crash in 1997.
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A touching tribute, indeed, and one that has been received with mixed reactions. While Buckingham Palace issued a statement saying the queen is “delighted” by the news of her 11th great-grandchild, others are claiming the name Lilibet is “disrespectful” because it’s a “private nickname,” says royal biographer Angela Levin. There’s also confusion as to whether the queen gave her blessing for the name to be used and yet others who believe this supposed olive branch is not enough to undo the damage Harry and Meghan allegedly caused during their tell-all interview earlier this year. Furthermore, people are insinuating that the royal couple is somehow attempting to profit off the institution they’ve worked so hard to distance themselves from.
Give me a break. I’m not a royal expert, but I find it quite hard to believe anything gets past the queen without her knowing. So it’s fair to say Harry and/or Meghan probably gave her a heads up about the name. Plus, the Oprah interview and subsequent interviews on Harry’s part would have us believe that the couple is in good standing with the queen. So why are people seeking to create drama where there probably isn’t any? This is a rhetorical question; we all know the answer.
Little Lili has been alive for less than a week and is already the subject of undue scrutiny, much like her mother, Meghan. At this point, the duchess could come up with the cure for Covid-19, and people would still find a reason to hate her.
The Brits have found fault with nearly everything Meghan says or does since she first arrived on the scene. There were the implications that she made Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, cry around the time of Meghan and Harry’s wedding when we all learned during the Oprah interview that it was actually the other way around.
And then the week before said interview an all-out smear campaign was launched against Meghan with allegations of bullying. The timing was more than a bit suspect, and I still find it hard to believe that Meghan is the only royal to have received complaints (hello, Prince Andrew).
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Let us not forget that people also chastised Meghan for not traveling overseas well into her high-risk pregnancy to attend Prince Philip’s funeral two months ago. And I can’t help but wonder if the same standards would be applied to Kate. In summary, everything Meghan does is scrutinized, so why wouldn’t the name of her daughter be subject to the same critique?
Of course, this cross-examination isn’t unique to the royals. Nearly every parent in the history of the planet has likely had a well-meaning loved one question the name of their children. But more often than not, that commentary doesn’t take place on a global stage.
Harry and Meghan simply wanted to honor two of the most important women in their lives (although it is fair to question why Grandma Doria, Meghan’s mom, was left out of the equation, but that’s neither here nor there).
Either way, I’m glad Harry and Meghan have officially stepped away from the pressure of royal duties and are raising their children on their own terms. I remember when Meghan rejected the centuries-old royal tradition of emerging from the labor and delivery ward looking #flawless, a power move on her part and one that definitely ruffled a few feathers as she did not perform pregnancy in the way that royals before her did.
It is refreshing to see Black women reclaim their power and control their narrative. As Allison Gaines wrote in her ZORA piece about Naomi Osaka, choosing yourself is revolutionary. And both Naomi and Meghan have delivered a master class on the subject.