The Duke and Duchess of Sussex chose their @SussexRoyal Instagram account to reveal they had named their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, shortly after posing with their newborn at Windsor Castle.
Then came the news that he will simply be known as “Master Archie”. As the first born son of a duke, he could have become Earl of Dumbarton – one of Harry’s subsidiary titles – or have been Lord Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
The decision fits in with Harry and Meghan’s desire to give their son as normal a life as possible despite his royal heritage.
Harry, who has admitted he once “wanted out” of the royal family, has spoken in the past of how he was always more comfortable being Captain Wales in the army than being Prince Harry.
Royal author Penny Junor said: “It’s exactly what I would have expected from Harry.
“He would have dearly liked to have been a normal boy growing up and found his title very difficult.
“I think that his choice for his son is to let him have the kind of life that he didn’t have.”
The duke has always stressed the importance of wanting to be seen as normal. He confessed in 2017 that being “just Harry” during his time in the forces was “the best escape I’ve ever had”. He said: “I felt I wanted out but then decided to stay in and work out a role for myself.”
The duke is close to his cousins Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, and may have taken their experiences on board.
Ms Junor added: “He looked at his cousins and it was so much easier for them than for him. He was constantly the centre of attention. His friends were targeted whenever he did anything wrong or misbehaved in any way.
“We knew nothing about Zara or Peter Phillips when they were growing up because they were ordinary children going to ordinary schools and were not being treated in any special way.”
Zara, who was Miss Zara Phillips and not entitled to be an HRH since she was born in the female line as the offspring of the daughter of a sovereign, has said not having a title was a blessing. “I’ve been very lucky. My parents didn’t give us titles, so we’ve been able to have a slightly more normal upbringing. As soon as you’ve got a title, it’s very difficult to shed it,” she said.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex’s daughter Lady Louise Windsor and son Viscount Severn, as the children of the son of a monarch, were allowed to be known as princess and prince. Edward and Sophie, with the Queen’s permission, decided to use the courtesy titles of an earl instead.
But Harry and Meghan have gone even further by personally deciding their son should simply be Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor – demonstrating how they are making their own more modern way within the royal family. The baby will be entitled to be an HRH or a prince when the Prince of Wales accedes to the throne. But the Sussexes could decide that Archie will not use the title prince, just like the Wessexes did.
A royal source said the couple had chosen not to give him a courtesy title “at this time”. Eventually he will also be entitled to succeed Harry as the Duke of Sussex.
The choice of the name Archie has been hailed as one of the “biggest surprises in royal betting history”, with bookies offering 100/1 odds on the choice.
Just £100 was staked from 60 bets on Archie, according to Ladbrokes, while Coral said the name drew just a handful of punters. Both considered Archie to be a huge outsider, with Alexander the 4/1 favourite with Coral, closely followed by Spencer, Arthur and James. Alex Apati, from Ladbrokes, estimated that more than £1 million will be won on all royal baby markets, which also included gender and due date. The odds are 4/5 that Harry and Meghan will announce a second child is on its way in 2020.