Welcome Archie Harrison!

Archie Harrison

Baby Sussex has a name! Welcome Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

He arrived on May 6, 2019. At present, he’s seventh in line to the British throne and the future Duke of Sussex.

British Boy

Meghan and Harry chose a first name that’s perfectly on-trend in the UK. Casual, accessible nickname-names have defined twenty-first century boys’ names. The current Top 50 includes Charlie, Alfie, Freddie, Harry – dad’s name! – as well as Archie.

Theo outranks Theodore; and Reggie, Ralphie, Ronnie, Teddie, Vinnie, and Bertie have all gained in use in recent years – to name just a few.

While it’s not expressly royal, many an aristocrat has answered to Archibald, especially in Scotland. (Not only is Harry the Duke of Sussex, he’s also the Earl of Dumbarton – which refers to a Scottish earldom. More on that in a minute.)

Archie: Baby Name of the Day

American Son

If Archie is impeccably English, then Harrison? With apologies to Beatles member George Harrison, this middle name nods to mom’s homeland.

We love all of those -son ending names for our boys, and Harrison sits just outside the current US Top 100.

It’s one-part rock star, thanks to George, but also very Hollywood leading man – think Harrison Ford.

But it also references dad’s name, without venturing into junior territory.

Even though I’m calling it American, it’s worth noting that Harrison has been a Top 50 pick in England since 2001 – making it more popular in the UK than the US. But I think Harrison’s vibe is very American.

Harrison: Baby Name of the Day

Mountbatten-Windsor

By custom, the eldest son of a Duke can use his subsidiary title. So they could choose to call baby Archie by dad’s second title instead: the Earl of Dumbarton. Harry’s uncle, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, follows this pattern. His son is known as Viscount Severn.

But Harry and Meghan are going their own way, announcing that their children will not carry royal titles. This means we’ll refer to their son as Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.

What’s up with that double-barreled surname?

Up until 1917, the royal family had no surname. They were all just HRH Prince This or HRH Queen That. That’s still pretty much the case for royals today – except …

In cases when a surname might be required, they often use their territorial designation. So William and Kate’s firstborn would be George Cambridge.

And in 1917, as World War I was underway, King George V decided to change the name of his family’s house from the very foreign Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to the oh-so-English Windsor, a name they borrowed from one of their favorite castles. He also indicated it would be the family’s surname.

When the future Queen Elizabeth II married Prince Philip in 1947, they became Mountbatten-Windsor … because Philip’s surname was Mountbatten.

Battenberg

If you know your royal history, you’ll know that Prince Philip was a prince of Greece and Denmark. So what’s with that surname? His grandfather was Prince Louis of Battenberg. Prince Louis was born in Austria, and grew up in Italy and Germany. But he joined the British Royal Navy at the age of fourteen, and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming an admiral.

The same pressure that prompted King George V to adopt Windsor applied here. Louis relinquished his German titles, and changed his surname to Mountbatten.

Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor

I think Meghan and Harry hit the mark.

The name balances their son’s English and American roots. It feels accessible, without being too trendy or novel. And it acknowledges that while he’ll almost certainly enjoy a life of tremendous privilege, there’s almost no chance he’ll inherit the throne, as he’s behind his three close-in-age cousins, as well as an earlier generation. That means his name doesn’t need to be as ready-to-rule as, say, cousin George or Charlotte.

It’s not a choice I heard discussed much beforehand, and yet, they might have surprised us more. It seems like they’ve stuck to William and Kate’s playbook when it comes to choosing baby names: current, not trend-setting.

What do you think of Archie Harrison?

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18 Comments

Random thought- Is there a story about when and why Meghan opted to go by Meghan instead of using her first name Rachel?? Is there a “name nerd” story on that I may have missed?? 🙂
I didn’t think Archie but I did guess they may go with something more nicknamey since Harry is more in that note. Teddy, Alex, Freddie were more on my rahdar for them.
Thanks for the info Abby!

Big surprise! Other than feeling like a nickname and making me think of Archie Bunker from All in the Family (which is about to reboot with Woody Harrelson), it’s a sweet name, especially with Harrison <3

I agree, I didn’t see a nickname coming, but I love Archie Harrison! When my mum told me “I’ve just seen on the BBC website, he’s called Archie!” I had to rush over to the Mountain to see what Abby Sandel was saying. Thank you, as always for your post! I did kind of hope they might go with Alexander.

Mountbatten hasn’t actually been used by any of Philip’s descendants so far, it’s only been Windsor. So it is significant that they’ve chosen to include Mountbatten as well.

Yes! Was just reading that … I think it’s easy to overlook how significant the surname is … particularly since he’ll use it, rather than Archie Sussex.

Might be reading too much into it – who me, a name nerd? – but I wonder if Archie is also a mash-up of Rachel so each has a mention, with Harrison the more direct connection to Harry. Archie also sounds like Harry and Rachel smooshed.

It’s worth pointing out that in all constituent parts of the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) both Archie and Harrison are in the top 100 -as of 2017-, whereas in the States Archie isn’t even in the top 1000 and Harrison is in the top 200. I think when both sides of the pond get their name statistics for this year released next year both Archie and Harrison will have risen, I just don’t think it will as sizeable here in GB as in the US

Wow, I didn’t realize Harrison was that popular in the UK! It has always seemed like such an American first name to me. Very interesting! 🙂

Yeah, Harrison has been in the the top 200 since 1996 (the earliest data we have for the UK, England and Wales at least). Archie didn’t crack the top 100 until the millennium and just got more so due to two BBC shows with characters of that name in the in the early 2000’s, Elea from British Baby names says in her post about Archie -https://www.britishbabynames.com/blog/2018/03/name-of-the-week-archie.html – that it most likely filtered down from wealthier families seeing as it was already in the top most popular boys names for births announced in The Times [of London] back in 1994

Are all those little English Harrisons going by Harry? I see the numbers, but Harrison still feels so very American to me …

Whilst the length (and type) of his first name was a surprise, I wasn’t really too amazed that the Sussexes went for just a single middle. Literally his Cambridge cousins are the only of the Queen’s great grandchildren to have two middle names

Actually, the older daughter of Peter & Autumn Phillips has two middles: Savannah Anne Kathleen. But, otherwise, yeah, that is worth noting.

Thanks Emma, I remembered that Savannah had the middle name Anne but Kathleen must have slipped my mind. Weird, I guess because Peter, Autumn and their girls manage to go under the radar so much I naturally assumed both Savannah and Isla had only one middle

I agree with @Janine: no one saw Archie coming!

And I actually love it! I was betting on Philip for a boy from the beginning, but Archie is a pleasant surprise. It’s really sweet and, as nicknames go, definitely in line with the classics. And Harrison is undoubtedly a perfect way to be simultaneously traditional (by honoring dad) and nontraditional (by using a more American-sounding surname name–and a non-royal/non-classic one at that).

So Meghan and Harry have managed to surprise everyone without being too different! And I think it fits perfectly for them. Think the U.S. might see a surge in Archie’s popularity now?

I’m delightfully surprised! I don’t think anyone saw a nickname-name coming. Very out of step with royal precedent, but a welcome breath of fresh air!

Welcome, little Archie! You’re already turning heads!