Royals at war: inside Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s clash with the BBC over new daughter Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana’s name, and why Buckingham Palace is keeping silent

Have Meghan and Harry annoyed the Queen with their new baby name? Photos: PA/AFP

In their ongoing war with the British press, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have now also clashed with the BBC over the version of events that led to the naming of their daughter.

Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, younger sister of the Sussexes’ two-year-old son Archie, was born at 11.40am (10.40am GMT) on Friday, June 4, at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in California, weighing 3.5kg.

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The Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital where Meghan Markle gave birth to her and Prince Harry’s second child, Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor. Photo: Reuters
Her name, they said, was a tribute to Harry’s grandmother, the queen, whose family nickname was Lilibet, while it also honoured his late mother, Princess Diana.

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The Sussexes vs the BBC

Was the BBC right to say the Sussexes hadn’t consulted the queen before naming their baby? Either way Buckingham Palace isn’t getting involved. Photo: AFP

It has been widely reported that Harry and Meghan consulted the queen before the naming of their baby, but an article on the BBC’s website claimed palace sources had said the queen was not asked by the duke and duchess about naming their daughter Lilibet.

A spokeswoman for Harry and Meghan said their daughter’s name was mentioned in a conversation with the queen, and the couple’s lawyers have since written to the corporation.

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She said: “The duke spoke with his family in advance of the announcement. In fact his grandmother was the first family member he called.

“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.”

Happier times: Harry and Meghan Markle with their first child, the queen, the late Prince Philip and Markle’s mother Doria Ragland. Photo: @sussexroyal/ Instagram

The Times newspaper reported that the couple’s lawyers, Schillings, have sent a letter to the BBC warning the story is “false and defamatory”.

Lawyers for the duke and duchess have also sent a letter to some media organisations, saying the BBC article was false and defamatory, and the allegations should not be repeated. Contacted by Reuters, the BBC had no immediate response to the letter.

The story by one of the BBC’s royal correspondents remains on the corporation’s website.

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The royal family don’t want to get involved

Buckingham Palace has declined to comment on the matter, making things even more awkward.
Despite rumours of the two couples falling out, William and Kate nevertheless congratulated Harry and Meghan on the birth of Lilibet on their official Instagram page. Photo: AFP
Publicly, the queen has issued a statement saying she was delighted at the news of the birth, as did Harry’s brother Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, whose relationship with the US-based couple is believed to have deteriorated in recent years.

In a speech on Tuesday, June 8, Harry’s father Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, simply said it was “happy news”.

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It’s not the BBC’s only royal row

It’s not the first time the BBC has fallen foul of the royals. A recent inquiry into the BBC’s treatment of Princess Diana in a 1995 Panorama concluded it had been deceitful. Photo: @oprahdaily/Instagram
The row comes just weeks after Lord Dyson’s report into the 1995 Panorama interview with Harry’s mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

It concluded that journalist Martin Bashir used “deceitful behaviour” to land the world exclusive, and that an internal BBC investigation a year later had covered it up.

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The ongoing family rift

The Sussexes have faced heartbreak and division after they quit as senior working royals last year and plunged the monarchy into crisis with their bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview in March.
Harry made more controversial comments about his family in the weeks following the interview, and also seems to still be in the midst of a long-running rift with his brother William.

But he has always spoken warmly about his grandmother and late grandfather, and the queen has referred to her grandson and his family in sympathetic terms.

Meghan and Harry are no strangers to controversy, most recently thanks to their bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview, which William and Kate were reportedly disappointed by. Photo: AP

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Lilibet is the queen’s family nickname and the choice pays tribute to the monarch at a challenging time for the Windsors, who are still mourning the loss of the Duke of Edinburgh.

The new baby is the queen’s 11th great-grandchild, and the first to be born since Philip’s death.

But with the Sussexes living in California, it is not known when or if the new addition will meet the queen and the rest of the royals any time soon.

Even Meghan and Harry’s first baby Archie reportedly caused consternation to certain members of The Firm, who reportedly raised concerns over how dark his skin might be. Photo: @meghanmarkle_official/ Instagram

The show must go on

The row with the BBC did not stop Harry announcing the latest host country for his Invictus Games, revealing in a social media video that Germany will be next to stage the event in 2023.

“It’s time to spread the news something big is coming to Germany,” the duke said in the clip that featured Germany’s Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

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  • The pair chose Queen Elizabeth’s nickname, Lilibet, for their newborn daughter, but the BBC contends that they didn’t consult the British monarch first
  • The BBC fell foul of the royals most famously in 1995 with Martin Bashir’s controversial Princess Diana interview