The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have accused the BBC of libel after the corporation claimed the Queen was not asked by the couple about naming their daughter Lilibet.
In an extraordinary escalation of the briefing war between Buckingham Palace and Harry and Meghan, the couple instructed lawyers to tell media organisations the BBC’s story was “false and defamatory”.
The BBC quoted a Palace source as saying Her Majesty was not asked for her permission to use her pet name of Lilibet for the Sussexes’ second child, who was born on Friday.
The duke and duchess raised eyebrows with their decision to use the Queen’s highly personal nickname, particularly in the wake of their repeated criticism of the royal family in recent months.
The BBC began reporting claims that the couple had not sought the Queen’s blessing this morning, and shortly after 8am-1am in California, where the couple live – media organisations were sent a letter by the Sussexes’ London solicitors warning them not to repeat the allegation.
While Palace sources are not denying the BBC story, a spokesman for the Sussexes insisted that the duke did discuss his daughter’s name with his grandmother and would never have used it had she not been supportive.
But the BBC reported a Palace source as giving a different account of events, saying the Queen was “never asked” about its use.
The couple’s spokesman told Britain’s Daily Telegraph: “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.”
It is not clear whether the conversation between Prince Harry and the Queen happened before the birth or between the birth and the announcement.
After the duke and duchess returned home from the hospital, the Queen was introduced to her namesake on a video call, a source told People magazine, adding: “They were very excited and couldn’t wait to share that their daughter arrived.”
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