LONDON — Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, on Sunday announced the birth of a daughter, whose name, Lilibet, pays tribute to Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, after a year of estrangement between the couple and the British royal family.
The baby, who was born Friday in Santa Barbara, California, will go by the name Lili, an abbreviated version of the nickname given the queen when she was a young girl. The baby’s middle name, Diana, honors Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
This is the couple’s second child, and her birth adds a joyful note to what has been a year of turmoil and ill will after a sensational interview with Oprah Winfrey in which Meghan, a biracial American former actress, accused the royal family of racism and callousness after she married Harry in 2018.
In a statement, the couple’s press secretary said Meghan and her child were healthy and back home in Montecito, California, where the couple moved last year after a rancorous separation from the family.
Harry and Meghan also have a 2-year-old son, Archie. Meghan suffered a miscarriage last July, which she wrote about for The New York Times. The couple cited her pregnancy as the reason Meghan did not attend the funeral of Prince Philip, the queen’s husband, at Windsor Castle in April. Harry did go, though he apparently did not heal a rift with his brother, Prince William, and father, Prince Charles.
In a more recent conversation with Winfrey, Harry, who is known as the Duke of Sussex, spoke candidly of his mental health struggles. The pain of his mother’s death, he said, drove him to abuse drugs and alcohol.
With the naming of their second child, Harry and Meghan are clearly reaching out — at least to the queen, who recently turned 95 and will mark the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne next year.
“Lili is named after her great-grandmother, Her Majesty the Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet,” the statement said. “Her middle name, Diana, was chosen to honor her beloved late grandmother, the Princess of Wales.”
Relations between the couple and Harry’s family have been in deep freeze since March, when Harry and Meghan gave their interview to Winfrey in which Meghan claimed that a member or members of the family viewed her unborn first child with anxiety because of the color of his skin.
The family, she said, decided before he was born not to grant Archie the title of prince and the designation His Royal Highness. Under a royal convention, established by King George V in 1917, Archie was not given the title at his birth, since he was a great-grandson — not a son or grandson — of the monarch.
Were his grandfather, Charles, to ascend the throne, Archie would automatically assume the title of prince, provided the royal family sticks to the rules. And Lilibet Diana would become a princess.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.