Row over whether Prince Harry told Queen before naming daughter Lilibet

IANS File Photo

IANS File Photo

London, June 9 (PTI): Prince Harry was on Wednesday forced to issue a statement in reference to naming his new-born daughter Lilibet, a nickname of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, after a Buckingham Palace source claimed that the 95-year-old monarch was not consulted about the decision.

The palace source told the BBC that the Queen was not asked by the couple about the name and disputed reports that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, had spoken to the Queen before the birth in reference to the name.

The couple have also issued legal warnings following the BBC report, with letters to UK media stating: The article is false and defamatory and the allegations within it should not be repeated.

Lilibet Lili Diana Mountbatten-Windsor was born in Santa Barbara, California, where the Sussexes are now based, on June 4, with an official announcement of the birth made on Sunday.

"The Duke spoke with his family in advance of the announcement in fact his grandmother was the first family member he called, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said.

"During that conversation, he shared their hope of naming their daughter Lilibet in her honour. Had she not been supportive, they would not have used the name," the spokesperson said.

Lilibet Diana, the Queen's 11th great grandchild and eighth in line to the British throne, was revealed as the name of Harry and Meghan's second-born child as a tribute to the Queen and Harry's late mother Princess Diana.

The nickname Lilibet was coined when then-Princess Elizabeth was just a toddler and couldn't pronounce her own name properly. Her grandfather King George V would affectionately call her Lilibet, imitating her attempts to say her name. It stuck and the Queen's late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, also called her by the nickname.

After the birth of Lilibet Diana, sister to two-year-old Archie, Buckingham Palace said the Queen and other senior royals had been informed and were "delighted with the news".

On Tuesday, Harry's father Prince Charles made a reference to the happy news of his new granddaughter during a royal visit to the production plant for Mini cars at Cowley in Oxford.

"The development of technology like electric vehicles, or green hydrogen for that matter for heavy transport, is vital for maintaining the health of our world for future generations, something I'm only too aware of today having recently become a grandfather for the fifth time, said Charles, the Prince of Wales.

"And such happy news really does remind one of the necessity of continued innovation in this area, especially around sustainable battery technology, in view of the legacy we bequeath to our grandchildren," he said.

In recent interviews, Harry has alluded to a difficult relationship with his father but maintained that he has a "really good" relationship with his grandmother, the Queen, and they spoke regularly over video call since he decided to step back as a frontline royal last year.

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