Prince Harry was reportedly gripped by shrouding the details around son Archie’s birth.
“One source described Harry as being ‘almost morbidly obsessed’ with keeping Archie’s birth as secret as possible,” royal expert Katie Nicholl writes in her new book, “The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth’s Legacy and the Future of the Crown.“
This quest for secrecy allegedly breached an “unwritten contract between the royals and the public,” who were eager and expecting to hear all the details about the new royal baby as soon as Meghan Markle gave birth.
“Behind the scenes, matters were so fraught that more than one official — as I know from personal experience — was reduced to tears of frustration and despair,” added Rebecca English, royal editor of the Daily Mail.
The usual protocol following a royal birth is for the father, mother and newborn babe to pose on the steps of the hospital, surrounded by wellwishers and photographers, and answer a few questions, before driving away.
But the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wanted to change all of that, according to Nicholl.
When Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was born on May 6, 2019, the couple managed to bamboozle the press when he actually arrived.
“Harry had always enjoyed outfoxing the media,” Nicholl writes. “He and Meghan were thrilled to be safely delivered of their son in London’s private Portland hospital even before the palace press office had confirmed the duchess was in labor.”
Two days later, the couple participated in a brief photo opportunity with a single reporter to ask questions.
“But it all felt stage-managed, with pre-approved questions, one journalist, and one photographer,” Nicholl continues. “It demonstrated the growing gulf between public expectations of Harry and what he felt obliged to give.”
The “Suits” alum had looked tired and uncomfortable at the time. Similarly, Prince William’s wife, Kate Middleton, also confessed that she found the post-natal photo shoots difficult, with Nicholl writing that the Princess of Wales “acquiesced because she will one day be queen and the mother of a king, so there was a legitimate public interest.”
Additionally, Markle, 41, and Harry, 38, also had a private christening and refused to release the names of Archie’s godparents.
However, Nicholl notes that although the Sussexes may have “served an ace in their quest for privacy and tore another page out of the royal notebook,” they also damaged the Crown’s relationship with “the press, the broadcasters, and by extension the public, who felt duped by the experience – whether that was a fair expectation or not.”