Royal toddler Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor and his parents, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan of Sussex, celebrated his second birthday Thursday, marking the family’s second year in California far from the traditions of his royal relatives.
To mark Archie’s birthday, Harry and Meghan released a statement on their foundation website, Archewell, urging donations for their latest cause, vaccine equity around the world. They said they are “deeply touched” by many of their fans’ previous donations to charities on behalf of their son. They said a donation of $5 can cover the cost of a dose for someone in need.
“We remain incredibly grateful,” the statement said. “We cannot think of a more resonant way to honor our son’s birthday. … Even a small contribution can have a ripple effect.”
Harry and Meghan’s Los Angeles-based rep, Toya Holness, declined to discuss details of the private birthday celebrations for Archie. Given that California is still largely under pandemic restrictions, it is unlikely they would host an indoor party for the toddler.
But he did receive family birthday wishes from the Queen and other royals across the pond. The Royal Family social media accounts wished Archie a “very happy 2nd birthday” with a photo of Harry, Meghan and their newborn soon after Meghan gave birth in 2019.
Harry’s brother, Prince William, and his wife, Duchess Kate, shared the same message with a group family photo from Archie’s christening in 2019. The official Twitter account for Prince Charles, Harry’s father, and Duchess Camilla shared a black-and-white photo of Charles, Harry and Archie, also at the christening.
Archie, who is due to become a big brother to a little sister soon, enters the age of the “terrible twos” just as his parents are transitioning from British royals to Hollywood royals, holding lucrative deals with Netflix and Spotify to produce entertainment, documentaries, podcasts and children’s programming.
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On Tuesday, Meghan announced she has written a children’s book, “The Bench,” about a father and son inspired by Harry and Archie, which will be published in June.
This weekend, the two are due to appear in the broadcast of a live, star-studded concert for vaccine equity, Global Citizen’s “Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World,” for which the Sussexes serve as campaign chairs.
When Archie turned 1 last year, a few months after his parents arrived in Southern California, the Sussexes released a birthday video and picture of the baby, who had not been seen in public since the family’s September 2019 tour of southern Africa.
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The video showed Meghan reading aloud a picture book titled “Duck! Rabbit!,” holding Archie in her lap with Harry behind the camera. As has become customary for the couple, the video had a charity component: It was aimed at promoting Save the Children’s Save with Stories project.
Since his last birthday, Archie has been seen only rarely, including on the couple’s 2020 Christmas card and a black-and-white photo posted in March on photographer Missan Harriman’s Instagram, showing Harry and Meghan barefoot and standing in front of a tree with Archie in Meghan’s arms above her visible baby bump.
Archie was also seen in a black-and-white video showing him frolicking on a California beach with his mother and the family dogs, Guy and Pula, with Prince Harry again behind the camera.
The video was shown during the March 7 broadcast on CBS of Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, which contained so many news-making assertions that the glimpse of Archie may have been missed in the uproar that followed.
Luckily for Archie, he is too young to be aware of the turmoil in the last year of his family’s life, as his parents broke away from their royal roles to seek more freedom and financial independence in America in March 2020.
The couple spoke to their friend Winfrey in a two-hour interview watched by millions around the world, revealing they had to leave Britain because of racism in the British media and in his family, plus an alleged lack of support from palace officials as Meghan fought suicidal depression under the pressures of being in the royal family.
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Meanwhile, let the good times roll this day for little Archie, one of the queen’s 10-going-on-11 great-grandchildren.
Archie was born on May 6, 2019, at Portland Hospital, an American-owned London hospital to which Meghan was rushed in the early hours from Frogmore Cottage, their home on the Windsor Castle estate about 25 miles from London.
Meghan, 39, and the new baby were not seen until two days later, when they posed with Harry, 36, in a grand corridor of Windsor Castle and introduced Archie to his great-grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
The meeting was private but the picture, which included her mother, Doria Ragland, was posted on their Sussexroyal Instagram, now dormant since their move to California.
The baby’s name was announced later that day. Under current royal rules, the baby did not receive a title (although he could get one once his grandfather, Prince Charles, ascends the throne), and his surname, Mountbatten-Windsor, is a tribute to both great-grandparents: the queen and the late Prince Philip, whose surname was Mountbatten.
Early in the queen’s 69-year-reign, she decided that descendants not in close, direct line to the throne would carry both the Mountbatten name and the Windsor dynasty name. Harry is sixth in line to the throne and Archie is seventh.
The queen’s youngest grandchildren, daughter and son to her youngest child, Prince Edward Earl of Essex and his wife, Countess Sophie, also do not have prince or princess titles: They are Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, 17, and James Viscount Severn, 13.
2020 Christmas card:Harry & Meghan release picture with red-haired Archie and their dogs