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June 6, 2021 5 min
Harry and Meghan's announcement of the arrival of their daughter Lilibet surprised royal watchers and sent the world's media scrambling to react.
Much of the focus has been on the name: Lilibet "Lili" Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.
The name is the Queen's family nickname and hit the headlines again recently in the wake of Prince Philip's death, when it was revealed that he referred to her by the nickname throughout their long marriage.
After their wedding, the Duke of Edinburgh wrote the Queen Mother: "Lilibet is the only 'thing' in the world which is absolutely real to me."
Her Majesty even signed off with the moniker on the handwritten note she placed on the Duke of Edinburgh's coffin.
The nickname was coined when then-Princess Elizabeth was just a toddler and struggling to pronounce her own name.
Her grandfather King George V then affectionately started calling her "Lilibet" in an imitation of her attempts.
Lili's middle name, Diana, pays tribute to Harry's mother.
Diana has loomed large over Harry's life since the 12-year old Prince was robbed of his mother in 1997 when she died in a car crash.
When Harry and Meghan first announced that she was pregnant with their second child, they made the announcement on the 37th anniversary of Diana's announcement that she was pregnant with Harry.
Diana's dedication to charity has informed Harry and Meghan's own charitable works, exemplified by a quote shared by the couple on social media in 2019.
The quote reads: "Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."
Harry has been raising his son Archie with stories of his late mother.
In his recent AppleTV+ series, The Me You Can't See, he revealed that one of his son's first words was "grandma".
While the announcement of Lili's name was a surprise for most, the signs have been there that the couple have been considering it for some time.
While bookies were considering Diana and even Philippa as potential first names for the royal, a chance encounter with a group of young girls in Birkenhead, England, showed that their minds might have been elsewhere.
At the 2019 school visit, undertaken while Meghan was pregnant with Archie, Harry asked a mother how she spelled her daughter Lily's name.
Harry and American actor Meghan Markle married at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was born a year later.
In early 2020, Meghan and Harry announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They live in Montecito, a posh area near Santa Barbara, California.
The birth comes after Harry and Meghan's explosive TV interview with Oprah Winfrey in March. The couple described painful discussions about the colour of their first child's skin, losing royal protection and the intense pressures that led her to contemplate suicide.
Buckingham Palace said the allegations of racism made by the couple were "concerning" and would be addressed privately.
Last year, Meghan revealed that she had a miscarriage in July 2020, giving a personal account of the traumatic experience in hope of helping others.
Despite leaving royal duties, Harry's place in the order of succession to the throne remains.
The first seven places remain unchanged: Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, Prince Harry, and his son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
Lilibet's birth moves Prince Andrew, who was born second in line in 1960, down to ninth place.
- Additional reporting, AP
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