LONDON — Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, gave the world a first look Wednesday at their son and, after introducing him to the queen, announced his name: Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
It was fair to say, nobody saw an Archie coming.
The Sussexes revealed the name on their Instagram account, with a black-and-white photo of Meghan showing the baby to Queen Elizabeth II and Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Beside them stood Harry and Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland.
British royals tend to pick traditional names for their offspring. And so, before the announcement, bookies said the favorites for Baby Sussex were Spencer, Alexander, James, Philip, Arthur and Albert.
Prince Harry’s name isn’t actually Harry, by the way. It’s Henry Charles Albert David.
Archie now has his own page on the royal family’s website. There was no mention of any historical inspiration for his name.
Maybe — brace yourselves — his parents just liked it.
There’s something old-public-school, gentleman’s clubby and polo pony about an Archie — an echo of a P.G. Wodehouse character in the fictional Drones Club, a chum to a Biffy, a Monty and a Reggie. It’s also not far off from Bertie, a British royal nickname handed down over the years.
An Archie could be a greatest generation Royal Air Force pilot in an ascot saving London in the Battle of Britain.
Or a soccer hooligan.
An Archie could be a City banker in a regimental tie ordering the Duck Eggs with Whiskey Sauce at the Wolseley.
On this side of the pond, Archie has grown in popularity in recent years. In 2017, it was the 18th most popular boy name in England and Wales; in 2016, it ranked 192.
Archie is a shortened version of Archibald, which means “distinguished and bold,” and Harrison means “son of Harry.”
Twitter erupted on Wednesday with pictures of the comic book character Archibald “Archie” Andrews, while the official Twitter account for Archie Comics tweeted simply, “i’m baby.”
A spokeswoman for Kensington Palace confirmed reports that the young royal won’t be called the Earl of Dumbarton, a title given to Prince Harry by the queen when he got married.
“It’s true that they have chosen not to give their son the courtesy title at this time,” she said.
Nevertheless, the 2-day-old appeared quite comfortable in his new role as royal baby. He attended his first photocall inside St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, cradled in his father’s arms. Truth be told, he looked . . . sleepy. He was swaddled in a beanie and blanket, and, like many babies, bore a striking resemblance to Winston Churchill.
Harry said the couple was “so thrilled to have our own little bundle of joy.”
Meghan said she’s got “the two best guys in the world.”
Archie, who is seventh in line to the British throne, was born under a partial veil of secrecy Monday at dawn, weighing 7 pounds, 3 ounces.
Speaking to a pool reporter at Windsor on Wednesday, Meghan said her baby “has the sweetest temperament, he’s really calm.”
Laughing, Harry said, “I don’t know who he gets that from.”
When asked whom he takes after, Meghan said: “We’re still trying to figure that out.”
Harry said, “He’s already got a little bit of facial hair.”
Meghan was wearing heels and a cream-colored dress. The couple gave a very short interview, and then said they were off to meet the queen.
The Sussexes continue to do things their own way, at times bucking tradition — which is, perhaps, appropriate with a half-American baby who may be Britain’s first multi-race royal offspring in centuries.
Seeing the photo of Baby Archie meeting the queen, Times Literary Supplement editor Stig Abell tweeted: “I have a mixed race family, and this image is beautiful, important and inspiring. So I shall park my cynicism for once.”
Unlike Prince William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Harry and Meghan did not appear before the cameras just hours after giving birth.
Instead, a beaming Harry met reporters on Monday near the couple’s home in Windsor and told the media that mother and baby were doing well.
Already a hugely popular prince, Harry may have won over new fans when he added: “It’s been the most amazing experience I could ever have possibly imagined. How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension.”
On the day of the birth, palace officials were slow to feed a hungry media, some of whom had been camped out in Windsor for days waiting for news.
When Buckingham Palace announced that Meghan had gone into labor early on Monday morning, she had in fact already had the baby eight hours earlier.
Royal watchers also observed that when a framed notice of the birth was displayed on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, it wasn’t signed by the medical staff who delivered the baby, which was unusual.
Before the baby’s arrival, there had been much debate in Britain about whether Meghan and Harry might pursue a home birth attended by a midwife, rather than a hospital birth. The couple has kept their ultimate decision private.
There’s also interest in what things look like inside the family’s newly renovated home of Frogmore Cottage. But the two media interactions since the baby’s birth have been staged elsewhere on the Windsor estate grounds.
Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, told reporters on Tuesday that he was “obviously thrilled, absolutely thrilled,” and added, “I’m very pleased and glad to welcome my own brother into the sleep deprivation society that is parenting.”
The birth was a global moment, too, with well-wishers ranging from Michelle Obama (“Barack and I are so thrilled for both of you and can’t wait to meet him”) to the talk show host Ellen DeGeneres (“The baby is 7th in line for the throne, which is crazy, because right now I’m 7th in line for the key-making kiosk at my grocery store.”)