Archie And Lilibet's Potential Titles Lie In The Hands Of King Charles

Immediately following the death of British monarch Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 8, 2022, her eldest son ascended the throne as King Charles III with his wife Camilla, Queen Consort of the United Kingdom (via BBC News). "The death of my beloved mother, Her Majesty the Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family," Charles said in a statement (via Sky News). "We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherish Sovereign and a much-loved mother."

Now that Charles is king, certain changes have already begun within the British monarchy. Titles have changed among the immediate heirs to the throne. Prince William, for example, has inherited his father's previous title, the Duke of Cornwall, as well as maintaining his current title as Duke of Cambridge, per BBC. Archie and Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor have also inherited new titles. In addition, the children of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, have now moved up the line of succession to be sixth and seventh in line to the British throne (via The Royal Family's official website).

But what are their new titles, and could their grandfather change their titles as he is now king?

Archie and Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor now have new titles

As soon as King Charles III succeeded the title of British monarch, his grandchildren Archie and Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor were automatically given the right to use prince and princess titles under the 1917 Letters Patent, issued by King George V (via The Guardian). According to the Royal Musings Blog, the patent states that "only the children of the Sovereign, the grandchildren in the male line, and the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales were entitled to Royal Highness."

Obviously, the restrictions regarding gender in the patent changed once Princess Charlotte was born in 2015. Three years before her birth, Queen Elizabeth II amended the last clause of the patent "to [include] all of the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales," as royal historian Marlene Koenig told the Express, which was completed as "the new gender equal succession legislation was about to become law."

However, the queen didn't amend the use of royal titles for the children of Prince Harry, the second son of Charles.

It's up to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle whether their children use their royal titles

That's not to say Archie and Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor weren't refused the use of other titles before Charles became king. Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex were permitted to use one of Harry's titles — the Earl of Dumbarton — for Archie and the title of Lady for Lilibet. But the couple revealed during their interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021 (via Oprah Daily) that using these titles "was not our decision to make." Meghan shared her dismay at "the idea of the first member of color in this family not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be" (via Daily Mail).

For now, though, Harry and Meghan can choose whether their children will adopt the titles of prince and princess. But rumors swirled in 2021 that King Charles III was considering a "slimmed-down monarchy" (via Tatler), which could include writing another amendment to the 1917 Letters Patent to potentially state that his youngest grandchildren may not be permitted to use the royal titles of prince and princess.