How Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Baby Name, Lilibet, Led to a Knife-Edge Legal Battle
Prince Harry must decide whether to sue the BBC over a story on his baby daughter Lilibet based on a “palace source.”
Yesterday, the Duke of Sussex was drawn into a transatlantic briefing war about what he informed Queen Elizabeth II about his intentions to give his second child her childhood moniker.
Even as Harry and Meghan celebrated their sixth day with their newborn girl, their lawyers were urged to write to UK publications advising them not to repeat the BBC’s allegations.
The BBC’s coverage was branded as “false and defamatory” in the Schillings warning letter, but the station did not remove the references from its web report.
According to Jonny Dymond, the BBC’s royal correspondent, the pair “never asked” the queen’s permission to use her moniker.
The couple launched a vehement reaction, with a spokeswoman claiming that Harry had told his grandmother that he wished to name his baby Lilibet and that they would not have gone ahead with the name if the queen had not been sympathetic.
If the couple goes ahead and sues the BBC, they risk drawing Elizabeth and Buckingham Palace into the conflict.
“Harry and Meghan’s protest to the BBC is one of the shortest complaint letters I’ve seen,” Amber Melville-Brown of international legal firm Withers told Washington Newsday.
“It could just as well have said, ‘Dear Sirs,'” she said. No! Regarding your essay about the Lilibet name! I am, as always, yours faithfully.’
“The two-sentence letter refers to the offending article’s headline before claiming that the piece is false and defamatory, and that the charges contained therein should not be republished.
“However, the devil is in the details when it comes to defamation. It is customary to clarify what you allege such words actually mean to the reader, as well as why they are untrue and defamatory, when laying out the statements about which you are complaining.”
She added: “The article of complaint currently remains online. Whether yet another foray into the legal fray awaits for the new parents, and this newly litigious couple, or whether they feel they have done enough by making their point with the BBC, and with the rest of the world via the reports of the complaint, remains to be seen.”
Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, who will be known as “Lili”, was. This is a brief summary.