By Royal Family standards Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor has had an unusual start to life – and it won’t be changing any time soon.
It seems only yesterday that we saw the first adorable photos of tiny Archie cradled in the loving arms of parents Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
But on Wednesday Archie, the seventh in line to the throne, turns one. And his birthday will be as unconventional as the upbringing Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, have mapped out for him.
At the end of March the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped down as senior royals and Archie will spending his first birthday in Los Angeles.
The pair are said to have originally planned a birthday bash with their A-list friends, including tennis legend Serena Williams, actress Priyanka Chopra and Amal and George Clooney, who will be celebrating his 59th birthday the same day.
They also aimed to bring Archie, the Queen’s great-grandson, to the UK to spend time with his family.
But the coronavirus lockdown in California has ruined both ideas and Archie’s birthday will now be a much more low-key affair.
A royal source said: “It will be just the three of them. Meghan understandably refuses to take any risks with guests or travel.
“The hope had been that Archie’s first birthday would somehow be marked with some members of the Royal Family, cousins, grandparents and some godparents in the UK when they were over.”
Royal biographer Penny Junor said: “Now they are cut off from family it is hard for everybody. On the day they will no doubt make many calls to family.
“They will have a lovely cake. Maybe an avocado cake. I would think the Queen will speak to them and definitely Archie’s grandfather, Charles. But perhaps not his other grandfather Thomas Markle, which is very sad.”
The couple are likely to release a new photo of Archie which will be a welcome surprise to many royal fans. The Sussexes have historically shied away from any publicity surrounding Archie.
They refused to show the world their son leaving hospital after his birth, something Penny is sure caused upset.
She said: “Everyone appreciates Harry’s desire to keep his life private and his son out of the spotlight. But they were depriving a lot of people of very innocent pleasure.”
The first glimpse of the royal baby was at a photocall two days later, on May 8, at Windsor Castle.
Harry and Meghan looked delighted. Meghan said: “He has the sweetest temperament. He’s just been the dream, so it’s been a special couple of days.”
Harry said fatherhood was “amazing”. Since then he has been seen in public only a handful of times.
There was an Instagram snap on Father’s Day in June, at Archie’s christening in July, meeting Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa in September and in Canada at Christmas, where he and Harry were pictured wearing woolly hats.
Harry and Meghan have been isolating in rented accommodation in LA since lockdown began and have been seen out only delivering food parcels to the vulnerable.
Penny said Archie’s upbringing will be very different from that of Prince William and Kate’s three children, George, six, Charlotte, five yesterday, and Louis, two.
She said: “Archie is different. He’s in a different country so won’t grow up around extended family. I think the royals will all be rather sad about it.
“He will grow up as an American child with an American accent – like the child of an American celebrity, probably with a lot of security.
“But he won’t be short of love. Harry is fiercely proud of his son. It’s a life wish come true for him.”
And Archie could soon have a brother or sister, as Meghan and Harry are keen to expand their family. The prince said in December they were aiming for “two, maximum.”
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