What’s in a (royal baby) name?
A whole lot, especially if the name is Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, aka the name given to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s now nearly-1-year-old baby. Recently, Meghan and Harry made a shocking and unexpected reveal about where the first name "Archie" came from. Here, we break down exactly how the Sussexes chose their baby boy's moniker.
On April 6, British paper The Telegraph broke the news that Meghan and Harry's new nonprofit venture would be dubbed "Archewell." To get ahead of this news, the Sussexes made a comment to the paper about the decision, knowing the speculation between their new charity's name and their son's birth name would run rampant if they didn't act fast.
They told the paper that evening: “Before SussexRoyal, came the idea of ‘Arche’—the Greek word meaning source of action. We connected to this concept for the charitable organization we hoped to build one day, and it became the inspiration for our son’s name. To do something of meaning, to do something that matters.”
So, which came first: the nonprofit or Archie? From that statement, it seems the idea for the charitable organization was born before their baby. Interesting...
We previously speculated that perhaps Megs and Harry are huge Riverdale fans (kidding), and also that Archie has Germanic origins and means “master,” “genuine” and “precious,” according to BehindtheName.com. The Greek meaning for "Arche" (pronounced "AR-hee" in Greek), as Meghan alluded to, means "beginning," "a primal element" and "an actuating principal, as a cause," according to Merriam-Webster.
The name Archie has been very popular in the U.K., and ranked 18th for the most popular British baby names in 2017. (Fun fact: Archibald was actor Cary Grant’s birth-given name, and Archie is the name of Amy Poehler and Will Arnett’s 10-year-old son.)
Since little Archie is the firstborn son of a duke, royal tradition dictates that he would inherit his father’s title of Earl of Dumbarton. However, the royal parents reportedly decided to break with tradition and declined to give their baby any titles (a very modern move and probably Meghan-approved). Therefore, the royal baby will just be called “Master Archie.”
In a sweet nod to the baby’s father, Harrison is traditionally used as a surname and literally translates to “son of Harry” (aww).
Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and Prince Charles all carry the last name Mountbatten-Windsor (a combination of Elizabeth and Philip’s last names). For any non Crown fans in the room, that name is passed on to all the male-line descendants of the queen and Duke of Edinburgh, except for those with royal titles and styles. Markle and Harry have decided to not use their titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex as their son’s surname. This may be because the “Sussex” title is a substantive title, meaning it’s passed down through the royal family to other members (it was previously used by Prince Augustus Frederick in 1801), but the baby will always be a Mountbatten-Windsor.
So, what’s in a name, you ask? A lot of history, a charitable endeavor and a little bit of pop culture... (No pressure, little Archie.)