Buckingham Palace has become embroiled in a row over whether the Queen was consulted over the naming of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s daughter.
Harry and Meghan’s decision to name their second child Lilibet, a childhood nickname of the Queen, was seen as an attempt by the couple to try to mend their rift with the royal family.
But the couple’s suggestion, widely reported in the media, that the Queen gave her blessing for the name appears to have only deepened divisions with some at the palace.
The BBC’s royal correspondent, Jonny Dymond, reported that the Queen had not been consulted about the name. The BBC did not quote the source for its story directly, but Dymond said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the source had made it very clear that the Sussexes had not asked permission to use the name and that none had been granted.
He said “a good palace source” was “absolutely adamant” that the name had not been run by the Queen.
A spokesperson for the Sussexes insisted the Queen was told in advance about the name and that the couple would not have used it had the monarch disapproved.
The spokesperson said: “The duke spoke with his family in advance of the announcement – in fact, his grandmother was the first family member he called.
“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.”
Lawyers for Harry and Meghan have written to the media asserting that the BBC’s claims are false and defamatory.
The Sussexes’ rift with the royal family was made clear in their extraordinary interview with Oprah Winfrey in March. Meghan said concerns had been raised by one member of the family before the birth of their first child, Archie, about how dark his skin would be, and said the palace failed to help when she was feeling suicidal.
The Queen responded by saying the issues were taken “very seriously” but that “some recollections may vary”.
Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor is the Queen’s 11th great-grandchild and is eighth in line to the throne. Her middle name was chosen to honour her late grandmother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
After the announcement of the birth of Lilibet, the official Twitter account of Prince William and Kate posted congratulations without using the child’s name in full. The tweet said: “We are all delighted by the happy news of the arrival of baby Lili. Congratulations to Harry, Meghan and Archie.”
The Lilibet nickname was coined when the then Princess Elizabeth was a toddler in the 1920s and struggled to pronounce her name properly. The Queen’s father, George VI, was quoted as saying of his daughters: “Lilibet is my pride. Margaret is my joy.”