Prince Harry was reportedly captivated by the concealment of details surrounding the birth of his son Archie.
“A source has described Harry as ‘almost morbidly obsessed’ with keeping Archie’s birth as secret as possible,” writes royal expert Katie Nicholl in her new book, ‘The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth’s Legacy and the Future of the Crown”.
This search for secrecy would have violated an “unwritten contract between the royal family and the public”, who were eager and expected to hear all the details about the new royal baby as soon as Meghan Markle gave birth.
“Behind the scenes things were so tense that more than one civil servant – 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 after a royal birth is for the father, mother and newborn to pose on the hospital steps, surrounded by well-wishers and photographers, and answer a few questions, before departing.
But the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wanted to change all that, according to Nicholl.
When Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was born on May 6, 2019, the couple managed to bamboozle the press upon his arrival.
“Harry has always enjoyed tricking the media,” writes Nicholl. “He and Meghan were delighted to have delivered their son safely at the private Portland Hospital in London even before the Palace press office confirmed the Duchess was in labour.”
Two days later, the couple took part in a brief photo op with just one reporter to ask questions.
“But it all felt staged, with pre-approved questions, a reporter and a photographer,” Nicholl continues. “It demonstrated the growing gap between the public’s expectations of Harry and what he felt compelled to give.”
The “Suits” alum looked tired and uncomfortable at the time. Similarly, Prince William’s wife, Kate Middleton, also confessed that she found the postnatal photo shoots difficult, with Nicholl writing that the Princess of Wales “nodded because she will one day be Queen and mother of a king, there was therefore a legitimate public interest”.
Additionally, Markle, 41, and Harry, 38, also had a private christening and declined to release the names of Archie’s godparents.
However, Nicholl notes that while the Sussexes may have “served an ace in their quest for privacy and ripped another page out of the royal notebook”, they have also damaged the Crown’s relationship with “the press, broadcasters and, by extension, the public, who felt duped by the experience – whether it was a fair expectation or not.