Queen’s fury over naming of baby Lilibet: Aide says monarch was ‘as angry as I’d ever seen her’ after Harry and Meghan claimed they had her blessing to use childhood nickname

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Revelation comes in the latest instalment of Robert Hardman’s new biography

Queen Elizabeth was infuriated by Harry and Meghan’s claim that she had given her blessing to their daughter being named Lilibet, a new book reveals.

One member of her staff says the monarch was ‘as angry as I’d ever seen her’ after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex publicly stated they would not have used her private family nickname if she had not been ‘supportive’.

The couple even ordered their aggressive firm of lawyers, Schillings, to write to news broadcasters and publishers – most notably the BBC – saying claims she was not asked for permission were false and defamatory and should not be repeated.

But when the Sussexes attempted to ‘co-opt’ Buckingham Palace into ‘propping up’ their version of events, they were ‘rebuffed’.

The illuminating revelation comes in the latest instalment of a fascinating new biography – Charles III: New King, New Court. The Inside Story, by the Mail’s writer Robert Hardman, currently being serialised exclusively in the Daily Mail.

One member of her staff says the late monarch was ‘as angry as I’d ever seen her’ after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex publicly stated they would not have used her private family nickname for their daughter had she not been ‘supportive’

In 2021, Harry and Meghan's decision to call their new daughter Lilibet, who was born in California and has only once briefly been to the UK, raised eyebrows

In 2021, Harry and Meghan’s decision to call their new daughter Lilibet, who was born in California and has only once briefly been to the UK, raised eyebrows

It has already revealed the existence of a remarkable memo detailing the late Queen’s last moments, now contained in the Royal Archives, in which her private secretary recorded that she had ‘slipped away’ peacefully – but not before completing her last box of paperwork and leaving two sealed letters in it, one addressed to her son and heir.

In Monday’s instalment Hardman explores the fall-out as a result of the Sussexes’ decision to acrimoniously quit royal duties and the ongoing issues around Prince Andrew, including how:

  • Prince William felt his brother’s attacks on his wife, Kate – particularly the suggestion that male members of the Royal Family simply marry women who ‘fit the mould’ – was ‘the lowest of the low’.
  • The prince was also ‘mortified’ by Harry’s ‘casual betrayal’ of so many fraternal secrets in his memoir, Spare. 
  • Neither King Charles nor William has read Spare, or ever will. But staff have informed them of ‘the key points’. 
  • Charles was left deeply hurt by Harry’s actions but has learnt to ‘compartmentalise’ domestic trauma. 
  • He now feels ‘exasperation’ over the situation. ‘He has done what he can and now he is King, there are many more things to think about,’ says a friend. 
  • However, he insists the door is always open to his youngest son. ‘You’d always like your child back,’ says a senior official. 
A Sussexes' spokesperson insisted they would not have used the name had the Queen not been 'supportive'

A Sussexes’ spokesperson insisted they would not have used the name had the Queen not been ‘supportive’

Speaking to members of the Royal Family, friends and palace staff both past and present, Hardman’s insight into Harry’s relations with family members are fascinating.

In 2021, his and Meghan’s decision to call their new daughter Lilibet, who was born in California and has only once briefly been to the UK, raised eyebrows.

Lilibet was the affectionate childhood nickname of the late Queen, said to have come about because as a child Princess Elizabeth could never pronounce her own name properly.

It was only ever used by her parents, King George VI and the Queen Mother, her sister, Princess Margaret, as well as her husband, Prince Philip, and a handful of extremely close friends.

At the time the BBC reported it had been told by a palace source that the Queen was not asked by the Duke and Duchess as to whether they could use it.

Other sources told media, including the Mail, that while Her Late Majesty was called by her grandson and his wife, she felt she wasn’t in a position to say no.

But a Sussexes’ spokesperson insisted they would not have used the name had the Queen not been ‘supportive’.

They said at the time: ‘The duke spoke with his family in advance of the announcement – in fact his grandmother was the first family member he called.

Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, in a picture issued in June 2022

Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, in a picture issued in June 2022

‘During that conversation, he shared their hope of naming their daughter Lilibet in her honour. Had she not been supportive, they would not have used the name.’

Strongly-worded legal letters were then sent out.

Hardman writes that some of the late monarch’s household were particularly ‘interested’ that amidst a wealth of private family information and criticism of staff members, Harry mysteriously ‘omitted’ the entire incident from his memoir, Spare.

He says: ‘One privately recalled that Elizabeth II had been ‘as angry as I’d ever seen her’ in 2021 after the Sussexes announced that she had given them her blessing to call their baby daughter ‘Lilibet’, the Queen’s childhood nickname.

‘The couple subsequently fired off warnings of legal action against anyone who dared to suggest otherwise, as the BBC had done. However, when the Sussexes tried to co-opt the Palace into propping up their version of events, they were rebuffed.

‘Once again, it was a case of ‘recollections may vary’ – the late Queen’s reaction to the Oprah Winfrey interview – as far as Her Majesty was concerned.

‘Those noisy threats of legal action duly evaporated and the libel actions against the BBC never materialised.’

Of Harry’s relationship with his father, Hardman says: ‘Of course the King is extremely sad about Harry and Meghan but there is a sense of exasperation, that he has done what he can and now he is King, there are many more things to think about,’ says one friend.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Harry pictured together at the Chelsea Flower show on May 18, 2015

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Harry pictured together at the Chelsea Flower show on May 18, 2015

‘He has tried listening. Now he just says: ‘I don’t want to know what the problem is. I’m just getting on with my life’.’ For the time being, however, Harry has decided he wants to things differently and he is determined to give him to space to do that.

As for Prince William, staff say he hopes people will understand and respect the fact that he had kept his counsel over his brother’s repeated attacks, particularly as regards his wife.

However, the suggestion, as many have interpreted it, from Harry that Windsor men, including his elder brother are ‘tempted’ to marry someone ‘who would fit the mould – as opposed to somebody who you perhaps are destined to be with’ had landed badly.

‘On top of all the other breaches of trust, here was Harry making a blatant attack on Catherine. For William, this was the lowest of the low,’ he quotes one family friends as saying.

Elsewhere, Hardman commends Harry for showing respect at the end of the Coronation. He notes that as the congregation bowed to the King after the ceremony, the Duke of Sussex dropped his head ‘for longer than most.’ 

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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