Lilibet: What does Prince Harry and Meghan’s baby name mean?

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  • The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s second child Lilibet Diana has a named rooted in royalty.

    Congratulations are in order for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle who have welcomed their first daughter and second child together.

    The new family addition is eighth-in-line to the throne and the new baby sister of the couple’s first born Archie Harrison.

    And as the Queen’s 11th great-grandchild, it’s no wonder that her name has special attachments to the incredible monarch herself.

    What does Lilibet mean and where does the name come from?

    Lilibet is a name associated with Queen Elizabeth II. 

    Her Majesty was known as Lilibet by close family members as a young child and the nickname has stuck with her throughout her life.

    Lilibet therefore derives from the girl’s name Elizabeth which translates as “God is my oath.”

    The name is of Hebrew origin, with the Greek variation known as “Elisabet”.

     

    Princess Elizabeth with her grandparents King George V and Queen in a carriage

    Princess Elizabeth with her grandparents King George V and Queen in a carriage at Balmoral in 5th September 1932. (Credit: Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

    Why is the Queen called Lilibet?

    The Queen was first called Lilibet by her grandfather King George V.

    As a toddler Queen Elizabeth struggled to pronounce her first name properly and Lilibet was one attempt that King George went on to imitate and call his beloved granddaughter.

    The nickname stuck and went on to be used by the Queens family, including her own father.

    King George VI once reportedly said of his two daughters that “Lilibet is my pride. Margaret is my joy.”

    The then Princess Elizabeth also adopted the moniker when writing thank-you letters to her family. In one note sent to her grandmother Queen Mary, Elizabeth thanked her for “the lovely doll’s house”, signing off as “Lilibet xxx”.

    Prince Philip was also known to call his wife Lilibet throughout their 73-year-marriage.

    In one of the Duke of Edinburgh’s romantic gestures, shortly after their wedding in 1947, Prince Philip assured the Queen Mother that he would ‘cherish’ his new wife:

    “Cherish Lilibet? I wonder if that word is enough to express what is in me,” he said.

    He then went on to say that he had “fallen in love completely and unreservedly”, adding: “The only thing in this world which is absolutely real to me, and my ambition, is to weld the two of us into a new combined existence that will not only be able to withstand the shocks directed at us but will also have a positive existence for the good.”

    Further acknowledgement of the sweet nickname came to light at Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021. People magazine reported that the Queen signed a handwritten note from Lilibet, which was buried with her late husband’s coffin.

    Why did Harry and Meghan choose the name Lilibet?

    Harry and Meghan chose the name Lilibet as a tribute to the Queen.

    In a statement announcing the birth of their new-born daughter, the couple revealed their reasons behind the name:

    “Lili is named after her great-grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet.”

    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with Queen Elizabeth II

    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with Queen Elizabeth II (Credit: John Stillwell – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

    Whilst her full-name will be registered as Lilibet, it is understood that the child will be known as “Lili”.

    Harry and Meghan also paid tribute to the Prince’s mother – the late Princess Diana who died in 1997.

    “Her middle name, Diana, was chosen to honour her beloved late grandmother, The Princess of Wales,” the statement added.

    Lilibet isn’t the first royal to honour Diana in her name. With Princess Charlotte’s middle name also being Diana. Like his brother, Prince William wanted to pay tribute to his mother when his first and only daughter was born in 2015.

    What is her last name?

    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed their daughter’s surname as Mountbatten-Windsor.

    Her full name is therefore Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, with the surname the same as her older brother Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.

    Meghan holding her son Archie as Prince Harry looks on

    Meghan and Harry with their son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor in Africa in September 2019. (Credit: REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool)

    The double-barrelled last name is another tribute to Harry’s grandparents. It is a a combination of the late Prince Philip‘s surname ‘Mountbatten’ and the Queen’s family name of ‘Windsor’.

    The special surname was first created in 1960 following the couple’s union and is the surname used by all four of the Queen’s children.

    Will Lilibet Diana have a title?

    No, Lilibet Diana does not have a royal title. This is for the same reason why Archie is not a prince.

    A change in protocol in 1917 made it law that only children and grandchildren of the monarch can be given a HRH or prince or princess title.

    As Lilibet is a great-grandchild of the Queen, she therefore does not receive a royal title. But Harry and Meghan’s daughter will be entitled to a HRH title when Prince Charles is king, as they will then be direct grandchildren of the sovereign.

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