Royal experts have been left confounded over the christening arrangements of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s daughter Lilibet, with a question mark over whether the baby’s blue-blooded relatives were invited.
Harry and Meghan’s friend Omid Scobie claimed King Charles, the Queen Consort ands the Prince and Princess of Wales ‘declined’ an invitation to attend Lilibet’s christening in California last Friday.
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.
Royal biographer Tom Bower said: ‘My guess is that Meghan and Harry know that Charles won’t give their children princely titles and won’t help them christen Lilibet in Windsor or the Abbey (otherwise they would have waited if they came to the Coronation.
‘So, they are further entrenching themselves in California. It suggests that they are not coming to the Coronation, or back to London any time soon.’
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
Fellow royal author Phil Dampier added: ‘Harry and Meghan can try and claim the moral high ground by letting it be known that they invited the King, Queen Camilla and the Prince and Princess of Wales to the christening but they are just playing games. They know there wasn’t a hope in hell of any of them going.
‘If they genuinely wanted to build bridges and start a healing process why didn’t they come over with their children a couple of weeks before the Coronation and have the christening then?
‘It would have been the perfect excuse to start the reconciliation process.’
Writer Richard Fitzwilliam wrote: ‘The Sussexes do nothing by accident and this is also an opportunity to remind the world that they are an important part of the royal family.
‘King Charles was clearly right in deciding that Archie and Lili should be given what is automatically theirs, whatever difficulties the Palace currently has with their parents.’
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘It would be for The Duke and Duchess to confirm who attended their daughter’s christening.’
Scobie, who is close to the Sussexes, insisted the King, Queen consort, Prince and Princess of Wales were invited to the ceremony but chose not to attend.
It is not known whether any other Royal Family members were present, nor when the British royals were invited – or how the message was sent to the UK.
The Court Circular – Britain’s official record of royal engagements – shows none of the senior royals aside from Princess Anne attended events on the day of the christening last week.
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
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Sussexes included a reference to their 21-month-old as ‘Princess Lilibet Diana’ – revealing for the first time that the couple has decided to invoke their right to use ‘Princess’ for Lilibet, six months since the accession to the throne of King Charles last September. Archie will be called prince.
Harry and Meghan are said to not want to deny their children the chance to inherit royal titles from their father – seeing it as their birthright – but will allow Archie and Lili the chance to decide whether to drop or keep using the royal titles when they are older.
They are understood to have been in contact with Buckingham Palace about the issue.
It comes after Meghan famously told Oprah Winfrey that Archie was not given the title of prince because of his race, but this was disputed by the palace and constitutional experts.
Lili was baptised by the Anglican Bishop of Los Angeles, John Taylor. Afterwards guests and family including Doria Ragland danced to a playlist containing songs from Harry and Meghan’s wedding reception at Windsor Castle. A gospel choir also reportedly performed Oh Happy Day and This Little Light of Mine.
However, when Archie was born seventh in line to the throne to the then Queen in May 2019, he was too far down the line of succession. Rules dictate that 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.
An insider claimed that 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.
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 Princess Lilibet and Prince Archie. It currently refers to Lilibet as ‘Miss Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor’ and her brother as ‘Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor’.
Title rules set out by King George V in 1917 mean Archie and Lili, as the children of a son of a sovereign, automatically became a prince and a princess when Charles became King.
They would also be entitled to an HRH style, but although Harry and Meghan retain their HRH styles, they no longer use them after quitting the working monarchy.
It was previously reported in 2021 that Charles, in a bid to limit the number of key royals, intended, when he became monarch, to prevent Archie becoming a prince.
To do so, he would have to issue a Letters Patent amending Archie’s right to be a prince and Lili’s right to be a princess.
Harry, who stepped down as a senior working royal in 2020 for a new life in the US, criticised his father’s parenting in his controversial autobiography Spare, accused the Prince of Wales of physically attacking him and said the Queen Consort sacrificed him on her own personal PR altar.
The use of the titles has been revealed just days after Harry and Meghan were asked to vacate their UK home Frogmore Cottage, a move sanctioned by the King which further weakens the couple’s ties with Harry’s home country and the Windsors.
And 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.
The Sussexes have yet to confirm whether they will attend the King’s coronation in May, which falls on Archie’s fourth birthday.
The Baptism happened as Charles’ wife Camilla was mourning the death of her brother-in-law of more than 50 years, Simon Elliot, who died last week aged 82.
Harry’s father met the Governor of Western Australia and his wife at Buckingham Palace today
Less than 24 hours after the baptism, Harry spoke with Canadian ‘toxic trauma expert’ Dr Gabor Mate during a live-streamed 90-minute interview to promote Spare (pictured)
Prince William, Prince of Wales and Kate, Princess of Wales, pictured at the Baftas in February, were not at the christening
Harry received an email from the Palace about the coronation 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 memoir Spare – and may have had christening guests staying in his mansion while it happened.
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.
It is not believed that any other current members of the Royal Family have been baptised by the Episcopal Church.
Meghan was a Catholic growing up – before being baptised and confirmed into the Church of England in 2018.
It is also understood Lilibet’s HRH will be ‘held in abeyance’, which describes a state of temporary disuse. Harry and Meghan are no longer HRH after Megxit because they quit as working royals.
The Sussexes at their former home Frogmore Cottahe during their visit to the UK for the Queen’s Jubilee in June, pictured
The couple’s £11million mansion in Montecito, California, where the christening was held
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 not to 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.
LA Bishop who christened Lilibet in Montecito was an ex-reporter who became Richard Nixon’s chief of staff
‘Lili’ was christened by the Bishop of Los Angeles, the Reverend John Taylor
The Bishop who christened the Sussexes’ daughter Princess Lilibet is a former newspaper reporter who was chief of staff for former US president Richard Nixon.
Right Reverend John Harvey Taylor – the Bishop of Los Angeles – baptised Harry and Meghan’s 21-month-old at their Montecito home in California on Friday.
Harry has been outspoken about his hatred of the media and his autobiography Spare makes clear his distrust and contempt for the press, particularly over the treatment of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales.
Bishop Taylor was a reporter and editor for twice-weekly Chula Vista Star News in the 1970s.
Nixon, who died in 1994, was the 37th president of the US and the only one to resign from office, following the Watergate scandal.
A profile in the Los Angeles Times described Bishop Taylor as one of Nixon’s closest confidants in later years and as co-executor of his estate.
He was also director of the Nixon library.
Nixon – a republican – used to call Bishop Taylor ‘our House liberal’.
He was the former president’s researcher and editorial assistant, before becoming his chief of staff between 1984 and 1990 before being ordained as a priest in 2004.
Nixon resigned in 1974 after he was implicated in the Watergate scandal following a cover-up when five men connected with his election campaign team were arrested after a break-in at at the offices of the Democratic Party’s national headquarters.
Bishop Taylor was elected as the seventh bishop of Los Angeles to the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles in December 2016 and took office in December 2017.
He is a father of four and a grandfather of two.
The diocese’s website says he has ‘devoted himself to promoting reconciliation, transparency’.
It adds: ‘In those called to leadership in the church, whether lay or ordained, he encourages the exercise of empathy and curiosity as tools of evangelism, to enrich relationships and build new ones across the barriers of difference and prejudice according to race, language, geography, orientation, identification, age, and socioeconomics.’