Even the Royal Family Has Baby Name Drama

Harry and Meghan's lawyers say it's 'false and defamatory' to suggest the Queen wasn't consulted

Illustration for article titled Even the Royal Family Has Baby Name Drama
Image: Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images (Getty Images)

In keeping with their decades-long commitment to making you feel better about your personal family drama because, hey, at least the tabloids don’t pick over every detail, the Windsors are at it again. This time, it’s about baby Lilibet’s name and whether the Queen was properly consulted, and there are lawyers and a good chunk of the British media involved. Makes you feel better already about the pettiest fight your mom ever had with her cousin, I bet!

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced the arrival of Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor on Sunday, June 6, a dual tribute to her grandmother and great-grandmother, using Elizabeth’s lifelong nickname often used by her husband Philip. But it didn’t take long for the British tabloids and various opinionated people on social media to suggest the name was somehow disrespectful. The Telegraph asked: “Yet with relations between the Sussexes and the royals still on a very delicate footing, will the naming of Lilibet bring the family closer together or attract further accusations that Harry and Meghan are cashing in on the very connections they have been so critical of?” The Daily Mail picked up comments by a royal expert who ruled, “I think it’s quite rude to her Majesty the Queen,” and another who accused the Sussexes of cynically choosing it to shore up their brand.

But things really escalated when the BBC got involved.

The Guardian reported:

The BBC’s royal correspondent, Jonny Dymond, reported that the Queen had not been consulted about the name. The BBC did not quote the source for its story directly, but Dymond said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the source had made it very clear that the Sussexes had not asked permission to use the name and that none had been granted.

He said “a good palace source” was “absolutely adamant” that the name had not been run by the Queen.

Harry and Meghan vehemently disagree, apparently. A spokesperson for the Sussexes was adamant that Harry spoke to the Queen before the announcement, and “During that conversation, he shared their hope of naming their daughter Lilibet in her honour. Had she not been supportive, they would not have used the name.” What’s more, the Guardian added, “Lawyers for Harry and Meghan have written to the media asserting that the BBC’s claims are false and defamatory.” (The Telegraph also reported on the lawyers, saying that “media organisations were sent a letter by the Sussexes’ London solicitors warning them not to repeat the allegation.”)

Of course, this is all in keeping with this family’s longstanding and well-documented history of poor communication and old hurts with one another. Another part of the issue here is that none of this is simply the Windsors. First, you must remember all the advisors and assorted flunkies hanging around, who have their own sense of how things should proceed and what’s “proper protocol.” Then of course you have the British tabloids in their self-appointed role as guardians of the Queen. They’re like some nosy neighbor or church acquaintance or third cousin twice removed who hangs around, just waiting for opportunities to provide unwanted advice and/or stir the pot. “Don’t you think that thank you note was a little brusque?” “Oh, I would have demanded to be in the delivery room.” Pick, pick, pick, stir, stir, stir.

Senior Editor at Jezebel, specializing in books, royals, romance novels, houses, history, and the stories we tell about domesticity and femininity. Resident Windsor expert.

DISCUSSION

bayougirlenroute
bayougirl

My sister has chosen my grandmother’s name for her new baby due in less than a month. My sister didn’t consult her, but my dad told her a few weeks after they decided and my grandmother’s only response was to watch out for bullying because kids used to call her things like “Big Belly.” Her name is gorgeous, too (Arabelle) and combined with her maiden name (not Figg), she sounds like a character out of Harry Potter.

I’d say that family sounds exhausting, but this really sounds like it’s fueled by palace staff who have a hate boner for the Sussexes... and maybe 10% by Charles and William.