Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, have christened their 21-month-old daughter, Lilibet Diana, at their home in Montecito, Calif., a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed Wednesday.
“I can confirm that Princess Lilibet Diana was christened on Friday, March 3, by the Archbishop of Los Angeles, the Rev. John Taylor,” the spokesperson wrote in a Wednesday statement to The Times.
According to People, which was first to report the christening, members of the royal family, including Harry’s father, King Charles III; stepmother, Queen Camilla; brother, Prince William; and sister-in-law, Catherine, were invited to the small and intimate ceremony but did not attend.
After months of confusion about their children’s royal titles, the Sussexes’ announcement marks the first time their second-born child has publicly used the princess title. Lilibet, who was born in June 2021, was technically not a princess at birth because she was not the granddaughter of the monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, at the time. However, when her son Charles acceded the throne after the queen’s September death, Lilibet gained the right to the title, the BBC reported. King Charles III’s ascension also placed Harry fifth in the line of succession, following his elder brother, Prince William, and William’s three young children.
According to Newsweek, Buckingham Palace also confirmed that Harry and Meghan are entitled to describe Lilibet as a princess and their 3-year-old son, Archie, as a prince since their grandfather became King Charles III. However, the royal family’s website listing the line of succession has not yet been updated to reflect the new titles, instead listing the children by their full names: Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor and Miss Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor.
While fans of Harry and Meghan applauded the “casual,” mic-drop use of the princess title, criticism was just as swift given the couple’s 2020 decision to step back as senior royals and their subsequent revelations about the royal family in their bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview, Netflix docuseries and Harry’s merciless memoir “Spare.”
Dan Wootton, a host on GB News and a high-profile critic of the Sussexes, tweeted that it was “baffling” that the couple referred to their daughter as a princess in the announcement.
“They hate everything about the institution of the monarchy and are trying to bring it down, yet still want to push it on their very Californian daughter,” Wootton wrote.
The spokesperson did not comment on the criticism of the Sussexes’ use of the title when reached Wednesday by The Times.
During their March 2021 interview with Winfrey, the former “Suits” star, who was pregnant with Lilibet at the time, revealed that they had upsetting conversations with the royal family about the titles and the extension of security for the couple and their biracial son, as well as concerns about the color of his skin.
Relations have continued to appear contentious since, further exacerbated by the Sussexes’ candor and the palace’s reactions.
Just last week, Harry and Meghan were “requested to vacate their residence at Frogmore Cottage” in Britain, suggesting a further fraying of ties with the royal family amid preparations for the May 6 coronation of his father, the Associated Press reported.
The cottage is on the Windsor Castle grounds west of London and was the couple’s main residence before they gave up royal duties and moved to Southern California. The Sun tabloid reported that Charles started the eviction process Jan. 11, the day after the publication of Harry’s merciless memoir.