The second baby for US-based Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is officially here, a healthy baby girl born four days ago in a Santa Barbara hospital in California.
Named Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor – a nod to the nickname for her great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II and her grandmother and Harry’s mother – their 3.4kg daughter was born on June 4 and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are thrilled.
“On June 4th, we were blessed with the arrival of our daughter, Lili. She is more than we could have ever imagined, and we remain grateful for the love and prayers we’ve felt from across the globe,” the couple wrote on their official website Archewell.
However, in lieu of gifts for their second child, Harry, 36, and former Suits actress Meghan, 39, wanted well-wishers to “learn about or support” four non-profit women’s charities.
They listed Girls Inc, Harvest Home, CAMFED and the Myna Mahila Foundation as their preferred go-to charities.
No photos of the newborn or the Sussexes accompanied the announcement, released on Monday morning (AEST).
The couple, who met in 2016 on a blind date in London, married at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was born a year later in Portland Hospital in London on May 6.
What does baby Lili have that her big brother Archie doesn’t?
Lili’s birth at 11.40am at the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara in California makes her the most senior royal in the line of succession of eight ahead of her to have been born overseas.
CNN pointed out Lili’s birth gives her unique dual US-UK citizenship – and with it a chance to run as US president when she grows up while also being in line to the British throne.
While the customary statements were issued from Buckingham Palace and from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (“we are all delighted by the happy news of the arrival of baby Lili”), her estranged father Thomas Markle also sent a message of congratulations.
Speaking to the Sun Online, he said: “I’m very pleased that my daughter and my new granddaughter had a successful delivery. I wish them all my love and the best of luck.”
Meghan and Harry spoke only a handful of times during her second pregnancy, one in a pre-recorded message for the Vax Live concert in May.
“My husband and I are thrilled to soon be welcoming a daughter – it’s a feeling of joy we share with millions of other families around the world,” the Duchess told the audience, intended to promote Covid-19 vaccine equity and gender equality.
“When we think of her, we think of all the young women and girls around the globe who must be given the ability and support to lead us forward,” she said.
“Their future leadership depends on the decisions we make, and the actions we take now to set them up, and set all of us up, for a successful, equitable, and compassionate tomorrow.”
The couple also gave an earlier explosive interview to Oprah Winfrey in March, where they revealed their baby’s gender – “It’s a girl” – with the Duke adding that their family was now complete.
“Now we’ve got our family, we got the four of us and our two dogs.”
They also recounted the now-infamous comments about how dark Archie’s skin might be before his birth.
Buckingham Palace said the allegations of racism made by the couple were “concerning” and would be addressed privately.
In the interview with Oprah, Meghan also talked about the fact that her son was not given the title of prince. Harry said the royal family cut him off financially after he announced plans to step back from his roles – and that he was able to afford security for his family because of the money his mother, Princess Diana, left behind.
In a New York Times opinion piece “The losses we share” in November last year, Meghan revealed that she had a miscarriage in July, giving a personal account of the traumatic experience in hope of helping others.
Months before the miscarriage, the couple 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 now live in a private gated community in Montecito, an upscale area near Santa Barbara, California with a select group of actors, celebrities and tech billionaires.
Winfrey and Harry have recently collaborated on mental illness on the Apple TV+ mental health series The Me You Can’t See.
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, William’s children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis; Prince Harry, and his son Archie.