Buckingham Palace is locked in an extraordinary row with Meghan Markle, after highly placed palace sources told The Daily Beast that it was Meghan’s office that changed her name on her son’s birth certificate.
Meghan’s representatives insisted that Meghan stood by her claim that she had absolutely no involvement in the name change and had been shocked to discover it.
Meghan’s team said Monday that they would have nothing to add to the dramatic statement issued Sunday in which a spokesperson for Meghan said: “The change of name on public documents in 2019 was dictated by The Palace, as confirmed by documents from senior Palace officials. This was not requested by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex nor by The Duke of Sussex.”
However, a highly placed source at Buckingham Palace told The Daily Beast: “The birth certificate was changed by the former Office of The Duke and Duchess to ensure consistency in the name and title of The Duchess of Sussex with other private documents.”
Meghan’s representatives were seeking to draw a line under the surreal row, with some irritation in the Sussex camp that a bizarre argument over whether or not Meghan had been made ‘nameless’ by the palace overshadowed what should have been a sweet day for Harry and Meghan, as their arch-foes, the Mail on Sunday, were forced into an embarrassing surrender in one of their ongoing legal battles with the couple.
Prince Harry accepted an apology and “substantial damages” for two “baseless, false, and defamatory stories” in Mail titles that claimed he’d “turned his back” on Britain’s armed forces.
However, the royal news agenda was instead dominated by Meghan’s extraordinary broadside against the palace, in which she claimed that her first names were removed from her son’s birth certificate at the diktat of the royal establishment.
Meghan’s characterization of the affair fed into the narrative she has frequently presented, and that was presented in the sympathetic book Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family of being excluded from key decisions about her own life by the establishment’s “men in grey”.
The Daily Beast was told that Meghan is adamant that the change to her name on the certificates was made exclusively by the palace, without Harry and Meghan’s consent, and without them signing any documents.
U.K. law clearly specifies that only the father or mother of a child can change a birth certificate, as one would expect. The Daily Telegraph said that Buckingham Palace sources said that a “clerical error and nothing more than that” was to blame for the alteration to Archie’s certificate.
Meghan’s statement was made in response to a story in the Sun on Sunday, which accurately reported the baffling name change in the official birth documentation, but then entered into the realms of wild and inaccurate speculation when they alleged the move was a deliberate “snub” to Kate Middleton.
The Sun somehow deduced that Meghan had set out to insult Kate, because Kate’s first name was on her kids’ birth certificates while Diana’s was not. The tenuous-at-best argument ignored the fact that the queen’s parents first names were listed on her birth certificate.
The suggestion that the move was a pop at Kate Middleton was gratuitous and unconvincing, as noted by Tim Teeman in The Daily Beast’s weekly royal newsletter on Sunday, in which he wrote: “The Sun posits this as a snub against William and Kate, because Kate has her name on her kids’ birth certificates. The possibility the decision was made for personal, totally non-snub-related reasons is not raised.”
Lady Colin Campbell, the veteran royal author who tipped off the story of the name change to the Sun, told The Daily Beast that she believed only the monarch regnant was entitled to leave their first name off their kids’ birth certificates, and said that she would unfold the mysteries of anomalous royal birth certificates in a new video on her (compulsively watchable) YouTube channel on Tuesday.
Titled individuals typically exhibit wide variance in the ways in which they record their children’s names on birth certificates, as many people’s titles change as their parents die and they move up the peerage ladder.
The central mystery, however, remains why anyone would want to erase Meghan’s first name from her son’s birth certificate (or why Meghan and Harry believe they did). The fact that Kate’s first name stayed on her kids’ birth certificates while Diana’s didn’t makes their apparent conviction that they are the subject of a conspiracy even more baffling.
Another source told The Daily Beast they believed the name was changed on the birth certificate for a more prosaic reason: so it matched Meghan’s name in her new passport.
Meghan’s office declined to comment on whether she would be seeking one very simple remedy for the whole situation: getting the birth certificate changed back.