Sussexes accused of using Lilibet christening as ‘PR firebreak’

Archie and Lilibet ‘will have’ royal titles says Fitzwilliams

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have christened their daughter Princess Lilibet Diana in a “PR firebreak” to win popularity after months of dwindling support, a royal commentator has claimed. Daniel Elser believes the “interesting” timing of the christening held in Los Angeles on Wednesday helps to “switch the narrative” as the California-based couple has suffered back-to-back blows in recent months. Since leaving the Royal Family, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have come under fire for seemingly targeting the Royal Family in various projects, including their Netflix docu-series, Meghan’s Archetypes podcast and Harry’s explosive memoir.

In the latest dig at the couple, South Park producers seemed to rip into Harry and Meghan with fictional versions of the Duke and the Duchess pleading for privacy.

In an opinion piece for the daily New Zealand Herald, Ms Elser wrote: “It would make sense if the Sussexes’ decision-making regarding timing had something to do with the fact they are now regularly the butt of TV jokes and that their approval numbers in the US have only plummeted and then plummeted some more.

“Mocked and viewed unfavourably by a swath of the American public, this christening news sure did come at a super duper handy time, offering something of a PR firebreak for the Sussexes.

“Not only does this sweet story change the channel, so to speak, and switch the narrative but it also serves as a handy reminder of their royal status.”

The writer and royal commentator also highlighted the 50-minute gap when British royal reporters – notably the Daily Mail’s veteran royal editor Rebecca English – scrambled to verify the information first broken by People magazine.

She noted the fact news of the titles had not been officially announced by Buckingham Palace is unprecedented as “never before, as far as I’m aware” had such information come from a celebrity magazine.

Mr Elser said: “Royal title news coming via an American celebrity rag is about as normal as the King choosing the West Barry Bugle to announce the next State visit or Princess Anne actually taking a day off.”

The magazine’s story put an end to months of speculation around whether Lilibet and Prince Archie Harrison had been granted the title of Prince and Princess amid reports King Charles could have withheld them.

The magazine confirmed that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex held a christening for their 21-month-old daughter last Friday in a “small” and “intimate” ceremony at their home in Montecito, California.

“The children’s titles have been a birthright since their grandfather became monarch,” a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex told People, confirming the matter had been settled with Buckingham Palace.

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It marks the first time the title of princess has been used publicly for Lilibet. She is entitled to it under the usual protocol as a male-line grandchild of the monarch.

The website for Buckingham Palace doesn’t yet reflect this, but royal sources say that it will be updated soon.

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