Meghan Markle and Prince Harry became parents in May 2019, when baby Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was born. The public got some glimpses of the little guy after his birth and during his christening, but after that photos of him were scarce. Or they were until now. Archie’s made his first public appearance in the arms of his mother.
Recently Prince Harry and Prince William took part in a charity polo match, and their wives and children came along with them. Kate Middleton brought along Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis to watch their dad and uncle play, and Meghan Markle took Archie. And though Archie may not have a royal title like his cousins, he stole the show.
People got to see the little baby interacting with his cousins for the first time. It was adorable, but what was even cuter was Meghan’s behavior around her newborn child. Many pictures were snapped showing the family being normal and carefree. And the photos of Meghan and Archie will melt hearts.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have fiercely guarded the privacy of baby Archie ever since he first entered the world. Meghan opted to give birth in private and not show the child to the cameras until she and her husband were ready. A few days after Archie was born, the family did a photocall and shared the pictures on social media.
During the photoshoot Meghan and Harry shared their thoughts about their new baby with the media. “He has the sweetest temperament, he’s really calm. He’s been the dream,” Meghan said of Archie. And her husband concurred. “It’s only been two-and-a-half days, three days, but we’re just so thrilled to have our own little bundle of joy,” he said.
Everything that surrounded Archie’s birth implied that Harry and Meghan were going to do things differently as royal parents. Usually the arrival of a new royal is steeped in tradition. This includes new mothers, such as Kate Middleton, appearing for a photoshoot outside the hospital the same day the baby is born.
Even the name “Archie” was a departure from what royals usually name their children. Generally, new royal babies get a name someone else in the family has previously used. Before Archie was named, bookmakers thought he might be named Philip after his great-grandfather. No-one expected the name he actually got.
The media were fascinated by the decision of Harry and Meghan. “Instead of a traditional royal name, they chose a name they loved,” said CNN’s royal correspondent Max Foster on May 8, 2019. “What they are very much doing is reflecting their generation. They are not looking to history, they are looking to now.”
Meghan and Harry also opted to not give their child a royal title. Archie could have been granted the title of Earl of Dumbarton, which is one of Harry’s “lesser” titles. But the Duke and Duchess decided their baby should have more of a normal life, and part of that was growing up without being called “Earl” or the like.
After that first photoshoot with baby Archie, Meghan and Harry set about maintaining his privacy as best they could. The family of three moved to a new house, Frogmore Cottage. Reportedly the building is isolated enough so that no-one will be able to photograph the royals unless they’re specifically invited in.
Harry absolutely meant business when it came to people photographing places where his family might be. In May 2019 the Duke won an apology and a damages payout from Splash News and Picture Agency after they took pictures of an Oxfordshire country retreat owned by Harry and Meghan.
Harry’s solicitor Gerrard Tyrell read out a statement in court. “The property had been chosen by The Duke for himself and his wife given the high level of privacy it afforded given its position in a secluded area surrounded by private farmland away from any areas to which photographers have access,” he said.
It turned out that due to the privacy issue, Harry and Meghan had left the Oxfordshire house altogether. “The syndication and publication of the photographs very seriously undermined the safety and security of The Duke and the home to the extent that they are no longer able to live at the property,” Tyrell said in the statement.
The media has often speculated on Harry’s desire for privacy. Some people have suggested that it’s down to his own childhood experiences. As the child of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, the young Harry definitely had the spotlight on him. And famously, the press were chasing Princess Diana’s car the night she died in a crash.
In 2013, a documentary series called The Royals speculated that both Diana’s sons simply had a strong dislike for the paparazzi. Ingrid Seward, editor of the magazine Majesty, claimed that Harry and William “hated their mother’s celebrity life and they grew to really hate the photographers that were always surrounding her.”
Seward claimed that the relationship between the two princes and the media was a very shaky one. “It’s quite to their credit they are able to be vaguely polite to the press now because they still loathe them,” she said. “They still blame the press for their mother’s death, which they would do.”
Harry’s protective instinct and desire for privacy also came out when he first began dating Meghan. When he saw what the media was saying about his relationship with her, he took the very unusual step of releasing a statement. “Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her,” it read.
It probably won’t be surprising, then, that the christening of Archie was a very private ceremony. On July 6, 2019, the couple baptized their new baby with only a few people present to witness it. For many previous royal christenings, cameras had been there to capture the royals going in and out of the church. Not so in this case.
The only images the public got to see were ones released by Harry and Meghan themselves. They posted a few select shots of the ceremony on social media. “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are overjoyed to share the happiness of this day, and would like to thank everyone around the world for their ongoing support,” a public statement announced.
Indeed, only about 25 people came to the ceremony. This included William, Charles, Camilla, Meghan’s mother Doria and a few others. The Queen wasn’t present due to a prior engagement. The people who were named godparents by Harry and Meghan were also there, but the Duke and Duchess have never revealed their identities to the press.
With all the secrecy, perhaps fans were expecting to see no more pictures of Archie until he was a little more grown-up. They would have been wrong, though. On July 10 Meghan and her baby went to the King Power Royal Charity Polo Day along with the rest of the younger royals, and seemed to have a great time.
The charity polo match took place in honor of the late Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. The soccer mogul died in a helicopter crash in October 2018, and Kate and William were among the people who attended his memorial. The match was held to raise money for various charities.
The occasion was an exciting one for royal fans, and for several reasons. It was the first time the Sussex and Cambridge families had been seen together since Archie was born. There had previously been rumors of a rift between Kate and Meghan, but they seemed to be getting along just fine at the polo match.
Baby Louis got a lot of attention at the match. Like his little cousin Archie, the playful toddler isn’t seen in public a huge amount. He appeared enthralled with the sunglasses his mother Kate was wearing and ended up grabbing them, putting them on his own face, and flashing a big smile at Meghan.
Harry and William played on opposite sides at the polo match, but that didn’t appear to stop the family cheering on both men. However, Kate and Meghan also had their hands full trying to keep up with the children. The Cambridge kids, who are all old enough to walk now, played while their mom looked on.
Writer and royal follower Juliet Rieden was at the match, and she observed how Meghan coped with taking her baby out into such a public place. “That was lovely to see, we didn’t know beforehand that the Duchess of Sussex was going to come with Archie,” she told TV station Nine News Australia.
Meghan mostly stayed under a tree in the shade while with baby Archie. Perhaps she didn’t want him exposed to too much sun? She may have taken other precautions too. “I noticed there was that suncream, that pot of suncream in the car, so I think she was pretty nervous taking baby Archie out.” Rieden said.
For many people keeping an eye on the royals, the best moments of the day came when Meghan poured affection on her new baby. “She was doting on him, there’s no doubt about that,” a match attendee told People magazine. “She was kissing and stroking him and bouncing him up and down.”
Naturally, Prince Harry caught up with his wife and child after the polo match was done. He actually lost the match, but that didn’t seem to dampen his spirits in any way. Harry walked to the parking lot and, with Meghan, smiled down at the baby wrapped in his blanket. It was another sweet moment of the day.
Meghan’s outfit at the match also drew some attention, as tends to be the way with all her outfits; she wore a Lisa Marie Fernandez khaki dress. And Archie may be becoming a baby fashion icon before he’s even said his first word. On fashion websites, people questioned what blanket Archie was wrapped in.
However, some people who were watching Meghan during the match were doing so seemingly just to carp. Quite a few people turned to social media to complain that Meghan was holding baby Archie wrongly. “She can’t have any maternal instincts at all. Archie’s neck and whole body not supported by her at all,” one person wrote. They also mentioned that Archie had no hat on, apparently not having noticed the sunscreen.
One Twitter user even tried to blame Meghan’s mother Doria, who wasn’t there, for the Duchess’s apparent lapse. “Archie’s shoulders are treated like a cushion for [Meghan’s] left arm for a long time…Meghan Markle’s mother was supposed to teach Meghan how to hold a baby, including during prenatal care,” they wrote.
The media denounced this as “mom-shaming.” And other people on social media decided they weren’t having it. “All this shaming of Meghan Markle is getting beyond pathetic. Whatever she does is wrong in the eyes of some,” one person wrote. And others pointed out that Kate Middleton didn’t receive nearly as much scrutiny.
Meghan’s way of holding a baby is actually not a wrong one, either. Parenting expert Lucy Shrimpton confirmed this to website Yahoo! Style. “While parents will adopt their own styles of holding and comforting their babies in a range of ways, the way Meghan is pictured holding Archie is actually a commonly recommended hold,” she said.
Shrimpton went on, “[Meghan] is supporting the majority of Archie’s body with her right arm while he rests his head on her chest. Babies are comforted by this position and hearing mom’s heartbeat too. So long as the face is to one side, which Archie’s is, this is a wonderfully soothing way to hold a baby.”
Meghan has actually been heard commenting on the criticism she gets. In July 2019, when she and Harry attended a premiere for The Lion King, singer Pharrell Williams told her, “So happy for your union,” and “We cheer you guys on.” Meghan was overheard answering, “Thank you. They don’t make it easy.”
Luckily, Meghan may have lots of critics but she has a lot of fans too. They love seeing her be a mother to Archie. “I applaud Meghan for being out and about with a young baby, which I figure must be much more stressful than being out on your own at the same stage post partum,” wrote a commenter on the website What Meghan Wore.
Obviously there is plenty more still to come for Meghan, Harry and their little boy. Before long, Archie will be old enough to walk and talk. After that Meghan and Harry will have to decide, if they haven’t already, to which school they intend to send him. They may buck with tradition once more and enroll him in an American school.
As Archie grows up there may be more issues with privacy just like the ones Harry faced as a child. However, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex appear more than equipped to deal with it. At every turn they’ve demonstrated how much they love their new baby boy. And they always seem very happy to be parents.
In July 2019 an anonymous source spoke to People magazine about how Harry and Meghan were doing. “They are basking in the glow and enjoying each day,” the royal insider claimed. “As most new parents are, they’re just so excited. There’s something new every day. They’re just really happy.”