Prince Harry and Meghan Markle today revealed that they have christened their daughter ‘Princess Lilibet Diana‘ in Montecito – without King Charles, Camilla, William and Kate present.
The Sussexes snubbed a British baptism for their youngest daughter and held a Anglican ceremony at their Montecito mansion for between 20 and 30 friends including her billionaire godfather Tyler Perry.
Harry and Meghan invited King Charles, Queen Consort Camilla and the Prince and Princess of Wales to the California ceremony last Friday but they declined, a source close to the couple told People magazine.
Instead of being in Santa Barbara for the event, Harry’s father met the Governor of Western Australia and his wife at Buckingham Palace. His wife was not there, but it has emerged today that she was mourning the death of her brother-in-law of more than 50 years, Simon Elliot, who died last week aged 82.
A statement by the Sussexes’ referred to the one-year-old as ‘Princess Lilibet Diana’ – revealing for the first time that the couple has decide to invoke their right to use ‘Princess’ for Lilibet since the accession to the throne of King Charles last September.
And the monarch will not stand in their way, Buckingham Palace has revealed, adding the Royal Family’s official website will now be updated to call the children Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet. It currently refers to Lilibet as ‘Miss Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor’ and her brother as ‘Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor’.
A photograph issued by Archewell of Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, after celebrating her first birthday in June last year
The first picture of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s daughter Lilibet was released in a Christmas card on December 23, 2021
Tyler Perry at a Los Angeles airport last Friday, on the day he attended Lilibet’s christening as her Godfather
The christening came just before The Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed they had been invited to the King’s Coronation – but refused to say whether they will be attending.
Harry received an email from the Palace about the event at Westminster Abbey on May 6, a spokesman for the Sussexes said, despite the stream of brickbats they have thrown at the Royal Family.
Less that 24 hours after Lilibet’s christening, Harry hosted an online Q&A to promote his memoirs Spare – and may have had christening guests staying in his mansion while it happened.
‘Lili’ was christened by the Bishop of Los Angeles, the Reverend John Taylor
It comes after the prince launched yet another salvo, telling controversial physician Dr Gabor Mate that he was starved of hugs and attention during his ‘incredibly painful’ childhood.
In an interview with Dr Mate to promote his memoir, Spare, that was streamed live – and cost viewers £19 a ticket – he also lamented his ‘broken-home upbringing’ and how he felt ‘different’ to the rest of his family.
The Mail understands that Harry and Meghan’s former UK home, Frogmore Cottage in Windsor – which the King is said to have taken from them – will be available for them to stay in should they fly to England to attend.
‘Lili’, as she is called by her parents, was christened by the Bishop of Los Angeles, the Reverend John Taylor. He is the most senior member of the California Episcopal church, which is an Anglican domination with links to the Church of England.
Harry’s father met the Governor of Western Australia and his wife at Buckingham Palace on the day of the christening
The couple’s £11million mansion in Montecito, California, where the christening was held
It is also understood Lilibet’s HRH will be ‘held in abeyance’, which describes a state of temporary disuse. Harry and Meghan were no longer HRH after Megxit because they quit as working royals.
Buckingham Palace currently refers to Lilibet as ‘Miss Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor’ – but its website will now be updated to call the the children Prince and Princess.
The title is in line with the precedent created by letters patent issued by George V in 1917 which conferred Prince or Princess on male line grandchildren of the Sovereign.
It is understood 21-month-old Lili’s title of princess and Archie’s title as a prince will be used in formal settings, but not in everyday conversational use by the couple.
At the time of the late Queen’s death, a spokesman for the King had pledged to update Archie and Lilibet’s names on the website ‘as and when we get information’.
The couple’s statement referred to Reverend Taylor as the Archbishop of Los Angeles – but he is actually the Bishop of Los Angeles in the Episcopal Church in the US, which is part of the global Anglican Communion.
The Archbishop of Los Angeles is the Most Reverend José H. Gomez, who leads the US’s largest Catholic community.
Royal journalist Omid Scobie, who is close to the Sussexes, reported that ‘King Charles, Queen Camilla, Prince William, Princess Kate were invited but didn’t attend’. It is not known whether any other Royal Family members were present.
People magazine reported that there were between 20 and 30 guests at the event, including Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland and Lilibet’s godfather Tyler Perry.
The filmmaker had been spotted paying a visit to Harry and Meghan’s Montecito home last Friday and at a airport in Los Angeles where he boarded his private jet.
Harry and Meghan are thought to be keen to not deny their children their birthright, but to allow them the chance to decide for themselves when older whether to drop or keep using the titles.
Meghan said in the couple’s bombshell interview with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey that Archie was not given the title of prince because of his race.
However, when Archie was born seventh in line to the throne in May 2019, he was too far down the line of succession.
Although he was a great-grandchild of the monarch, he was not a first-born son of a future king, so was not automatically a prince.
The news comes as it was revealed Camilla’s brother-in-law Simon Elliot, with whom the Queen Consort was very close, died last week.