The truth about Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor's name

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle welcomed their first child, a son, in the early morning hours on May 6, 2019. Shortly after the royal boy was born, the new father briefly spoke with the press. After sharing his admiration about his wife, parenthood, and his new son, Harry confirmed that he and Meghan were still thinking on a name for their little one.

With feminine names likely out of the running, we all got to narrowing down our favorite boy names. Would they choose a traditional name like many experts speculated? You may have thought Meghan and Harry would end up picking a royal favorite like Albert or Arthur or perhaps a strong historic name like Alexander. Although there were certainly plenty of A- names in the running, it was near impossible for anyone to have guessed what Meghan and Harry would actually decide to name the baby.

In an Instagram post on May 8, 2019, the couple finally revealed their son's full name: Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. It's a name that seemed to come out of left field, for sure, but we've learned just how Meghan and Harry picked the untraditional name. Here's everything you should know.

Archie: the first of his name

It goes without saying that we were all pretty stunned when we first heard the name of Meghan and Harry's baby. Prior to Archie's birth, royal expert Katie Nicholl confirmed to Time that there was "a lot of speculation" that Meghan would want to opt for something untraditional, but the expert assumed Meghan would choose a familial name. However, after the child's name was announced, CNN World reported that Archie "is believed to have little precedent within the modern British royal family."

To our knowledge, there haven't been any other Archies in royal family history. Though, there was once an Archibald, the name from which Archie is derived. According to the Encyclopedia of Britannica, the ninth Earl of Argyll was a Scottish Protestant leader named Archibald Campbell. The 17th century earl met an untimely end as he was beheaded for opposing the Duke of York's Roman Catholic beliefs. Since members of the royal family are of the Anglican Protestant faith, you could argue that Archie was named in the earl's honor or that there is a bit of royal precedent behind the young royal's name.

This is how Meghan and Harry really decided on Archie

Although the ninth Earl of Argyll, Archibald Campbell, died defending his faith, that doesn't really appear to be why they chose to call their son Archie. Royal expert and correspondent Emily Andrews revealed on Twitter, "I'm told that [Harry and Meghan] chose names for [baby Sussex] that they liked." She continued, writing, "They said they liked the symbolic meaning of "brave" and "source of action" for Archie." That's right. Sometimes all there is to a baby name is that the parents simply like it! We suppose at least these royals are just like us.

The baby naming site nameberry.com reveals that Archie is a name of German origin and translates to mean not just brave, but "truly brave." Although a strong name, it's not very popular in the United States. Well, not anymore, that is. Nameberry revealed that Archie dropped in popularity by the late 1980s, likely because of the negative connotation with the patriarch Archie Bunker from the 1970s sitcom All in the Family. The name has remained a favorite overseas, though. In 2017, it ranked in the top 20 boy names at number 18 in England and number 19 in Scotland.

The almost anagram

In addition to Meghan and Harry liking the symbolic meaning behind their son's name, others have speculated that they may have chosen the moniker for another reason. Addressing Good Morning Britain anchor Piers Morgan who was critical of the royal baby's name, one woman named Rose tweeted, "Given that Meghan's first name is actually Rachel, have you thought that Archie is the closest real name to an anagram of Rachel, one letter different...?" Rose wasn't the only person to come to this conclusion. Another person added, "A reach but Archie is almost an anagram of Rachel..." 

According to Express, many fans have since become "convinced" of this first name theory. However, naming the baby after Meghan's first name isn't the only conclusion some fans have drawn. One Twitter user supplied the formula for her similar, yet further-reaching, theory. "Rachel + Charles = R.C., pronounced 'Archie," read the tweet. Hmm.

Prince George called it

The name Archie surprised us, but it wasn't the first we'd heard of the name in a royal context. In January 2019, The Sun ran the headline "Call Me Archie." According to the article, Prince William and Kate Middleton's son George and daughter Charlotte were taking a walk with their grandmother when the young prince noticed a dog walker and came over to pet the woman's dog. "Just to be friendly I engaged in a bit of small talk and I asked George what his name was, even though obviously I knew it," the dog walker, who wished to stay anonymous, allegedly told the publication. "To my astonishment he said 'I'm called Archie' with a big smile on his face," she explained. "I don't know why he calls himself Archie..."

Meghan was already pregnant by this time so an argument could be made that George somehow learned of the prospective name or, perhaps, he just came up with it on his own and Meghan and Harry liked the sound of it. We may never know for sure, but it's interesting nonetheless.

The story behind Archie's middle name

If you don't think Harry and Meghan would've opted for an anagram for a first name, Archie's middle name may prove otherwise. In addition to liking the "symbolic meaning" for the name Archie, the couple also liked the meaning of the name Harrison which is, as royal expert Emily Andrews revealed, "son of Harry."

One person took to Twitter to help others connect the dots. "Listen, someone told me that Meghan's real (first) name is Rachel. Archie is a very close acronym of her name. Harrison = Harry's son. Archie + Harrison = Rachel and Harry's son." The tweet continued, "I truly do hope that's how he got his name, [because] that's pretty cool." Pretty cool, indeed.

In addition to meaning "son of Harry," Nameberry revealed that Harrison is a name of English and Aboriginal origin. Like Archie, it is a more popular name in the UK than in the states. By 2017, Harrison was sitting at the 113th spot for boys in the US and 34th and 35th in England and Scotland, respectively.

Don't call him Your Royal Highness... yet

When William and Kate's firstborn son entered the world, he became Prince George and secured his place as third in the line of succession. But, when Archie was born he became seventh in line — which means he's too far removed from the throne to be considered a prince. That's not to say he couldn't have a title, though. Prior to Archie's birth, royal expert Victoria Arbiter explained to Global News that he could use "one of Harry's subsidiary titles," like "the Earl of Dumbarton."

As of this writing, the royal family has not confirmed whether Meghan and Harry have opted for Archie to have a title, but several royal experts have spoken on the subject. Daily Mail royal correspondent Rebecca English tweeted that Archie will not have a title. "He will simply be Master Archie," she explained. Royal expert Emily Andrews concurred, tweeting that the couple has "chosen not to use courtesy titles... so it'll be Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor."

This is subject to change when Prince Charles becomes king because, at that point, Archie wouldn't be too far removed. Technically, he could one day become His Royal Highness Prince Archie.

His last name isn't actually Sussex

Before Archie was born and before the world learned of his name, the royal couple's child was dubbed "baby Sussex." Considering his parents are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, it made sense to refer to the baby this way. In fact, when Archie was born, his parents could've continued to use Sussex as a last name. As Prince Louis' birth certificate revealed, William and Kate opted to use their dukedom (Cambridge) as their children's last name. But, instead of using Harry's dukedom (Sussex), the new parents chose the last name Mountbatten-Windsor. This isn't a name Meghan and Harry just picked out of thin air, though.

The royal family's official site explains that the royals didn't actually even have a last name until 1917 when George V took the name Windsor, which was the name of his house and dynasty, and declared it an official last name. Then, in 1960, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Philip Mountbatten "decided that they would like their own direct descendants to be distinguished from the rest of the royal family." Thus, they adopted a hyphenated version of their two last names: Mountbatten-Windsor.

A full name that "speaks to both sides"

Because "nickname names" are quintessentially British, Nameberry's Sophie Kihm thinks "Archie Harrison is really the perfect blend of Harry and Meghan's cultures." When speaking to HuffPost, the baby name expert further explained, saying, "Nickname names like Charlie and Freddie top the charts in the U.K., while in the U.S. it's more common to put Charles or Frederick on the birth certificate." However, it's still untraditional for royalty.

"Naming his son just Archie, rather than an expected full form like Archibald, reflects his intention to buck tradition and modernize the royal family," Kihm opined. The expert also highlighted the significance of Archie having just one middle name as opposed to following the royal tradition of having multiple middle names. This gives the name a more American — and certainly less royal — vibe.

A seeming lack of title also speaks volumes, according to Arianne Chernock, an associate professor of modern British history at Boston University. "This indicates that, to the best of their ability, they want to give their son a quote-unquote 'normal childhood'..." Likewise, this could also explain why the couple chose the last name Mountbatten-Windsor as opposed to Harry's dukedom, Sussex.

The world reacts

The more you contemplate the name Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, the more you can see how well it works for the little royal. Though, you may have initially been perplexed by the decision. You weren't alone. 

"They named the baby Archie? Riverdale is shaking," one person tweeted, referencing a red-headed character on the popular CW TV show. "Let's all just respect the power move of a ginger prince naming his son Archie," another person tweeted along with a GIF of the red-haired Archibald "Archie" Andrews from the comic that inspired the CW television series, Archie Comics.

Although people were struggling to come to terms with the name, there was nothing quite like the reactions of real people named Archie. Upon realizing his name had been catapulted into instant fame, Archie Bland, deputy national editor for The Guardian, tweeted a simple four-letter word: "f***." Fellow Twitter user Harrison Jones chimed in, writing, "I feel your pain, Archie." London-based freelance writer Archie Rhind-Tutt tweeted screenshots of texts from friends making jokes about his name and he, too, shared a four-letter tweet: "Help." Let us just take a moment for all the Archies out there.