Archie Harrison (Harry’s son) meets the Queen

The adoration of the Magi: Yesterday’s recreation of the scene when the wise men pay homage

What’s in a name? An awful lot judging by the reaction this morning to the adorable Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, aged three days, as he was introduced to his royal great granny.

So, now we know. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have named their baby son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

A surprise choice: Archie was not among the bookmakers’ favourites of Alexander, Arthur and Albert.

“I don't think anyone of us saw either of these names coming,” says Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty royal magazine. As far as he is aware, Archie does not have any British royal connotations — and Harrison, too, is a totally new name for the royal family.

The UK papers are delighted this morning. “Aaaah, It’s Archie the Adorable,” says the Daily Mail in its Magical Royal Baby Special. The same beautifully composed nativity scene (that we are showing above) adorns every front page.

The backdrop, soft focus, a renaissance painting in gilt frame, signalling the history that Archie can’t escape. To the left, the paterfamilias, the Duke of Edinburgh, aged 97, son of Princess Alice of Battenberg, representing a long line of royal blood.

In the background, the proud dad Prince Harry, completing the a triangle of Windsors, with the most powerful of them all — the Queen of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth — wearing baby blue for a boy.

On the right, the new blood some say the monarchy so desperately needs. Archie’s granny, Doria Ragland, social worker, granddaughter of a bellhop and an elevator operator, respectively. And mum, of course, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

The American press is thrilled too. Archie MUST be a reference, says The New Yorker, to “the only Archie that counts” — that is Archie Leach, the boy from Bristol, who grew up to be Cary Grant. “What better spirit to hover above the cradle than the ultimate man of the world?”

(Let’s hope it’s not the spirit of Archie Rice, the seamy song-and-dance man who is The Entertainer in John Osborne’s great 1957 play.)

And Harrison. Surely the only Harrison that springs to mind is Harrison Ford, swashbuckling Raider of the Lost Ark, and a likely hero in Meghan and Harry’s world. Perhaps Harry met Harrison Ford during his and William’s cameos as Stormtroopers in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Archie means “genuine”, “bold” or “brave” — and is more popular in Britain than in the US. It was originally a shortened form of Archibald, but is now often used as a name on its own.

It was the 18th most-popular boy’s name in England and Wales in 2017, with 2,803 baby boys called Archie that year, and has been in the top 50 consistently since 2003.

Harry and Meghan are breaking with convention by giving their son a diminutive, Archie, rather than the full Archibald. Royal names, by convention, are given in their full, formal form, even if the diminutive or nickname is used day-to-day. Prince Harry’s name is, strictly speaking, Henry.

What’s in a name?

Montague? Capulet? Juliet’s famous question in Romeo and Juliet aims to persuade Romeo that a name doesn’t matter. “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” And there are acres of modern semantic evidence to show that the meaning of a word is purely a function of how it is used.

And yet. It’s hard to shake the feeling that our names do shape us. The differences may at first seem subtle, but names help forge who we are in a million tiny ways. They influence the teacher meeting us on our first day of school, the admissions tutor looking at our university application, and the employer reading our CV. Our names are woven into who we are.

You Decide

  1. Has your name shaped your personality?
  2. Will a choice of a non-traditional royal name help rejuvenate the monarchy?

Activities

  1. Pick your own favourite names for a baby — one for a boy and one for a girl. Now list under each of them the qualities that they suggest to you.
  2. Research nominative determinism using the Expert Links. Prepare notes for making a strong case either for or against the idea.

Some People Say...

“Years ago, I thought up the name Queen. It’s just a name. But it’s regal, obviously, and sounds splendid.”

Freddie Mercury

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Prince Harry’s full first names are Henry Charles Albert David. Prince William’s are William Arthur Philip Louis. And Prince Charles’s are Charles Philip Arthur George. Prince George is George Alexander Louis. Princess Charlotte is Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. Prince Louis is Louis Arthur Charles.
What do we not know?
Where Meghan and Harry got the Archie idea from. Other famous Archies include Archie Panjabi, who starred in The Good Wife; Archie Andrews in Archie comics in America, and also the Netflix show Riverdale; and Archie Mitchell, a villain in EastEnders.

Word Watch

Paterfamilias
From the Latin, it means the male head of a family or household
Bellhop and an elevator operator
Doria Ragland’s grandparents were a lift-operator and a bell-boy at the whites-only Hotel St. Regis on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio in America.
Cary Grant
An English-born American actor, known as one of classic Hollywood’s definitive leading men.
Semantics
The linguistic and philosophical study of meaning.

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