Charles won't let Archie be a prince: Prince of Wales's plan not to include grandson among slimmed-down, lower cost frontline royals is revealed as row that ignited Oprah outburst
- Prince Charles made it clear Archie will have no place among frontline Royals
- The move incensed the Sussexes and is thought to have prompted their outburst
- A grandchild of the sovereign has long had the right to be a Prince
- Charles wants to change legal documents in order to limit the number of Royals
By KATE MANSEY FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY
PUBLISHED: 22:00, 19 June 2021 | UPDATED: 02:49, 20 June 2021
Prince Charles is to ensure that his two-year-old grandson Archie will never be a Prince, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
The heir to the throne has made it clear that Harry and Meghan's son will have no place among frontline Royals as he plans a slimmed-down Monarchy after he becomes King.
The move has incensed the Sussexes and is thought to have prompted the series of bitter accusations the couple have levelled at Charles and the Royal Family from across the Atlantic.
A grandchild of the sovereign has long had the right to be a Prince, but Charles is determined to limit the number of key Royals, believing the public does not wish to pay for an ever-expanding Monarchy.
Charles has told the Sussexes that he will change key legal documents to ensure that Archie cannot get the title he would once have inherited by right, according to a source close to the couple.
The decision, which follows months of fraught discussion behind the scenes, has plunged relations between Harry and his relatives to a dangerous new low.
'Harry and Meghan were told Archie would never be a Prince, even when Charles became King,' confirmed the source.
The revelation comes amid a series of explosive claims by respected Royal biographer Robert Lacey whose newly revised book Battle Of The Brothers states:
Meanwhile, The Mail on Sunday has learned that Harry demanded the right to approve at least one writer or journalist to work alongside the usual 'press pack' of Royal reporters at the unveiling of the statue to Princess Diana next month, so deep is his distrust of the British media.
The full details of Charles's plan for a slimmed-down Monarchy have never been revealed, but it has been speculated that only heirs to the throne and their immediate families will receive full titles, financial support from the public purse through the Sovereign Grant and police protection funded by the taxpayer.
Charles and his younger brother, the Duke of York, have already been at loggerheads about what security Andrew's daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie should receive in future. Now Harry and Meghan have found themselves caught up, too.
Insiders suggest they hadn't seen the move coming, and were shocked to find that Charles will take the active step of changing legal instruments known as the Letters Patent in order to exclude Archie and others.
The loss will be all the more galling as the Sussexes havemade a point of refusing to use another, lesser title for their son, who is technically the Earl of Dumbarton. They took that decision safe in the knowledge that Archie would become a Prince in due course. Or so they thought.
Earlier this year, a source close to the Sussexes confirmed they did indeed expect Archie to be named a Prince when Charles, Archie's grandfather, acceded to the throne. Their spokesman at the time was even instructed to remind journalists of that 'fact'.
The Sussexes finally learned that would not be the case just before sitting down with Oprah Winfrey for their first bombshell interview in March.
Insiders suggest the issue was still raw at the time of the recording – which might help account for the devastating criticisms they unleashed on the show, including the damaging implication that an unnamed senior member of the Royal Family had referred to Archie in a racist way.
It also throws a spotlight on one section of the interview which had raised eyebrows at the time. Speaking to Oprah, Meghan recalled how, when she had been pregnant, 'They [the Royal Family] were saying they didn't want him to be a Prince or a Princess'.
She continued: 'You know, the other piece of that convention is, there's a convention – I forget if it was George V or George VI convention – that when you're the grandchild of the monarch, so when Harry's dad becomes King, automatically Archie and our next baby would become Prince or Princess, or whatever they were going to be… But also it's not their right to take it away.'
This puzzled Royal watchers, who reminded the Sussexes they had very publicly declared that they didn't want a title for their son, who would be known as Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
Some pointed out that a son of Prince Harry's – a great-grandchild of the Queen – had no automatic right to be titled a Prince, or receive a security allowance. But that was to ignore the real drama taking place behind the scenes. Because Meghan was actually referring to the secret news that Archie would never become a Prince, not even when Charles was King.
A source said: 'This is what nobody realised from the interview. The real thing was that Charles was going to take active steps to strip Archie of his ultimate birthright.'
The existing rules for Royal titles were established in Letters Patent dated November 20, 1917.
In these, King George V, the Queen's grandfather, allowed the title of Prince and Princess to be given to the children of the sovereign, the children of the sovereign's sons and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales – in this case, Prince George.
Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, William's daughter and younger son, received their titles not by right but as gifts of the Queen, who issued new Letters Patent to that effect in 2013. Similarly, when King, Charles will have the power to change George V's Letters Patent how he sees fit – and so streamline The Firm.
An insider said: 'Charles has never made any secret of the fact that he wants a slimmed-down Monarchy when he becomes King.
'He realises that the public don't want to pay for a huge Monarchy and, as he said, the balcony at Buckingham Palace would probably collapse.'
Even now, not all grandchildren of the Queen are titled Prince or Princess. As she is a daughter, not a son, of the sovereign, Princess Anne's children had no automatic right to the title but out of choice she also declined lesser titles for her children Peter and Zara.
The Queen's youngest son, Prince Edward, thought it prudent not to name his daughter and son as Princess and Prince. Instead, they are titled Lady and Viscount respectively.
A Royal source said last night: 'We are not going to speculate about the succession or comment on rumours coming out of America.'
Sitting side by side, leafing through a photo album, William and Harry are sharing cherished memories of their mother. Their conversation is easy, unconstrained, charming. It is a rare window on a fraternal dynamic and evidence, if it were needed, of an unshakeable bond.
That was four years ago, the occasion a TV documentary on the 20th anniversary of Diana's death. Today, with the publication of a book revealing extraordinary new details of their toxic rift, the gulf between the brothers seems unbridgeable. Quite how it has come to this seems bewildering.
In less than two weeks, on what would have been Diana's 60th birthday, the brothers will reunite for the unveiling of her statue, but what should have been a simple, unfussy act of commemoration will doubtless turn into something altogether different.
Take Harry's approach to the event. The Mail on Sunday has learned that the Duke of Sussex now wants his own journalist to cover the day.
Harry and Meghan have long decried the coverage they receive from the British media, claiming it is UK-biased and lacks diversity. Not wishing to leave the statue unveiling at Kensington Palace to the official 'Royal Rota' of journalists, they are now expected to 'appoint' at least one approved writer to work alongside them.
It is just the kind of imperiousness that rankles with the Duke of Cambridge.
The Times reported yesterday that a blistering row between the Duke and his brother over bullying claims led to them splitting their households, with a friend of the future King noting: 'William threw Harry out.'
Previously, it was assumed that Harry precipitated the separation.
The account of how William and Harry fell out appears in the paperback edition of Battle Of Brothers by historian and biographer Robert Lacey, which is being serialised in The Times.
The newspaper revealed in March how Jason Knauf, communications secretary to the Cambridges and Sussexes, claimed in October 2018 that Meghan had been bullying members of staff. Lawyers for the Sussexes have denied the allegations.
After William heard the bullying allegations, he rang Harry, according to Lacey. The conversation was heated and Harry 'shut off his phone angrily' so William went to speak to him personally.
Lacey writes: 'The Prince was horrified by what he had just been told about Meghan's alleged behaviour, and he wanted to hear what Harry had to say. The showdown between the brothers was fierce and bitter.'
Separately, The Mail on Sunday has been told there have been other, equally intense clashes. None more so, according to a source, than on the eve of Harry's wedding. Details are sketchy but this row was said to have been particularly ferocious.
The Princes had already fallen out before Harry and Meghan's engagement after William had expressed doubts about the speed at which their relationship was progressing. Lacey writes that William believed Meghan was following an 'agenda' and Kate, too, according to a friend, was wary of her from the outset.
The author quotes one Kensington Palace staffer as saying: 'Meghan portrayed herself as the victim, but she was the bully. People felt run over by her.
'They thought she was a complete narcissist and sociopath – basically unhinged.'
According to the book, jealousy is at the heart of the brothers' rift. Or at least that is how Harry sees it. The Duke views his triumphant October 2018 return with Meghan from their Australian tour as a defining moment in their deteriorating relationship.
William, of course, would reject any notion that he and his wife resented the Diana-like popularity Meghan enjoyed at the time. In any case, the book says, the brothers were no longer on speaking terms before the Sussexes set off for Australia, owing to William's anger over the bullying allegations.
PR man Knauf, 34, was concerned by stories of mistreatment brought to him by colleagues and resolved to set down the facts, as he saw them, for the record.
In an email to William's private secretary, Knauf wrote: 'I am very concerned that the Duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year.'
His office had received 'report after report', he wrote, from people who had witnessed 'unacceptable behaviour' by Meghan towards this member of staff.
As early as 2017, around the time of the couple's engagement, according to a report in The Times, a senior aide had spoken to the couple about the difficulties caused by their treatment of staff. 'It's not my job to coddle people,' Meghan was said to have replied.
It is significant that it was Knauf – whose PR expertise Meghan valued and who was one of her most senior advisers – that raised the issue. Until this point, Lacey says Texas-born Knauf had taken 'considerable stick from some of his non-royal contacts' who criticised him for being overly protective of the Duchess.
But numerous colleagues were bringing stories of what they said they had suffered at Meghan's hands, including emotional cruelty and manipulation, and he could not remain silent.
The Times reported that several people maintained they had been 'humiliated' by the Duchess, and that criticism also extended to Harry. 'I overheard a conversation between Harry and one of his top aides,' one Kensington Palace courtier told Lacey. 'Harry was screaming and screaming down the phone. Team Sussex was a really toxic environment. People shouting and screaming in each other's faces.'
It is unclear whether Knauf brought his dossier to William personally or whether it was submitted via an aide. Either way, the troubling stories astonished and horrified the Duke, who knew and liked all the individuals named in the dossier. After all, they were his staff too.
Taking their cue from the Queen, William and Kate had always treated their staff like family. What William heard, or possibly read, crystallised a long-held suspicion –that Meghan was fundamentally hostile towards the Royal system.
This interpretation, said Meghan, was wholly wrong.
In a statement issued to The Times early in March this year, her lawyers denied all allegations of bullying as inaccurate and defamatory and the product of what they called a 'smear campaign'.
The Duchess wished to fit in and be accepted, they insisted. She had left her life in North America to commit herself to her new role.
Lacey stresses that his account of this period is based on Knauf's written accusations and 'William's personal account of these events to one of his friends, who then spoke to this author'.
He writes that while the showdown between the brothers was fierce, William's pre-engagement questioning of Meghan's suitability had been quite reasonable. Some of William's reservations chimed with the allegations in Knauf's dossier. Lacey says William felt that Meghan was 'undermining some precious principles of the Monarchy if she really was treating her staff in this way'.
Not only that, she seemed to be stealing his brother away from him. Courtiers would later coin a hashtag – #freeHarry.
William felt deeply wounded. 'Hurt' and 'betrayed' were the two feelings he described to his friend. The elder brother had always felt so protective. He had seen it as his job to look out for Harry.
'At the end of the day, the British Crown and all it stood for with its ancient traditions, styles and values – the mission of the Monarchy – had to matter more to William than his brother did,' writes Lacey.
Fiercely combative in his wife's defence, Harry meanwhile was equally furious that William should believe the accusations against Meghan. Whether claims of racism surfaced during these heated discussions is not known.
But Harry made clear to the world in his interview with Oprah Winfrey that he considered his family's response to Meghan to have been essentially 'racist'.
Lacey writes: 'William, for his part, felt just as strongly about Meghan and the need for her subversive 'agenda' to be removed from the operations of the British Monarchy, which she did not appear to understand or respect.
Harry made clear to the world in his interview with Oprah Winfrey that he considered his family's response to Meghan to have been essentially 'racist'
'He certainly wanted Meghan removed, for a start, from the hitherto harmonious joint household that he and his brother had operated together for the best part of a decade. William simply did not want her or Harry around any more.'
It is little surprise, then, that Meghan will not accompany Harry to the statue unveiling. Indeed it is far from clear when she will return to these shores.
There was some speculation that Archie would travel with his father but that it not now expected to happen.
The statue, created by Ian Rank-Broadley, has been years in the making. William and Harry, who were just 15 and 12 when their mother was killed in a car crash in Paris, announced the idea in 2017.
At the time, a Palace statement said that it was 'hoped' that the statue would be 'unveiled… before the end of 2017'. Questions over the design and where it should be displayed led to delays.
Later that year, when the Princes announced that Rank-Broadley had been chosen as the sculptor, the Duke of Cambridge tweeted that the statue was 'expected to be unveiled in 2019'.
The brothers convened a committee to oversee the project and sought funds from private investors. Those with a key role on the committee included trusted adviser Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, the Princes' former private secretary and Prince George's godfather; Diana's sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Julia Samuel, a close friend of their mother.
Gerry Farrell, co-owner of London's Sladmore Contemporary gallery, was brought in as an artistic adviser. Towards the beginning of the process, he described it as a 'challenging commission'.
It would take another two years and many more transatlantic discussions between the brothers before the statue would finally be made public.
Mr Farrell said: 'The Princes remember her as a mother, and publicly she meant so many different things to different people. It was important for the princes to convey the depth of her character and variety of her interests.'
There were other concerns, too.For William, and particularly young Harry, the public reaction to their mother's death baffled them.
William felt deeply wounded. 'Hurt' and 'betrayed' were the two feelings he described to his friend. The elder brother had always felt so protective. He had seen it as his job to look out for Harry
In a recent documentary series on Apple+ with Oprah Winfrey, Harry spoke of being unable to 'process' his mother's death. Speaking about walking behind his mother's coffin at the funeral, he said: 'Sharing the grief of my mother's death with the world, for me the thing I remember the most is the sound of the horses' hooves going along the mall. The red brick road.
'By this time, both of us were in shock. It was like I was outside of my body and walking along just doing what was expected of me. Showing one tenth of the emotion everyone else was showing.
'I was like, 'This is my mum. You never even met her.'
Worried that the statue might draw crowds and a sea of flowers, the Princes agreed to erect it in the Princess Diana Memorial Garden at Kensington Palace, where the Princess of Wales lived until her death and where Harry and Meghan announced their engagement.
The Princes are understood to be 'impressed' with the finished design.
Whether they will ever be able to find common ground on the issues that divide them is another matter entirely.