An Open Letter to Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
My dearest beloved nephew, Archie:
Okay, don’t think I did not see that raised eyebrow like: “Okay, who is this person I have never seen and don’t even know claiming to be my auntie”? I get you. But, look, child, when your parents visited South Africa last September, your mother said, openly, that she was my “sister”. So, if your mother says she is my sister, that makes you my nephew. Right?
“While I am here with my husband as a member of the Royal family,” said the Duchess in a two-minute personal address, “I want you to know that for me, I am here with you as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of colour and as your sister. I am here with you and I am here for you.”
Besides, in my actual home country of Nigeria, you are expected (legitimately or not) to address anyone who is at least 10 years older than you as auntie or uncle. Personally, I thought this was a superb practice when I was on the receiving end for oodles of birthday presents. But now that I am doing the giving? Maybe not so much. In any case, please excuse the digression…
Today, I join millions of people around the world in wishing you Many Happy Returns on this the very first anniversary of your birth. You are a very special child, born to two very special people. Loved by millions all over the world. You are the only baby I know who, even when just a fetus nestling comfortably inside your mother, had an established philanthropic presence in the world. You see, your parents’ ardent supporters make charitable contributions in your name, to celebrate your important milestones. Thus far, several thousands of dollars have been donated to various charities for your baby shower and to mark this, your first birthday.
As a matter of fact, your first birthday celebrations started last summer when someone had the great idea to plant trees in your name. A lot of people responded by planting trees around their homes and neighborhoods; others simply donated money to charities around the world that focus on planting trees. But what has planting trees got to do with you? Well, as you will find out soon enough, we humans have not been very kind to our planet and its environment, so it is dying slowly from overuse. Scientists think we can reverse this trend by reforesting through tree planting. In any case, the most important thing you should know is that we exceeded the initial target of 10,000 trees before your first birthday within a month of the project’s announcement. In response to the outpouring of support, the organizers upped the ante to 100,000 trees, which we also exceeded. As of today, a day before your birthday, 115,100 trees have been planted in your name. However, people continue to plant trees, which is very good. We want to leave a healthy ecosystem for you and other children of your generation and the generations ahead.
Charitable initiative for your birthday
The second charitable initiative for your birthday was set up to benefit four designated charities that help children – Nourish, Children’s Aid, NYC, Boys and Girls Clubs, and WellChild. However, your parents’ supporters have expanded beyond these four and have donated to other charities in your name. I believe some of the donations have been made to charities that are offering critical help during a pandemic that has killed thousands of people around the world, upended our lives and has most of us, including you by the way, stuck at home indefinitely. At the last count, over $50,000.00 had been raised and distributed in your name. So, there you go, dearest Archie, King of our hearts! King of the World!!
Perhaps, I should take a brief moment to explain that the people making these contributions come from all over the world, are of different skin colors, different cultures, different genders and sexual orientation, and speak different languages. We are young and we are old and very few of us, if at all, count ourselves as rich. But we are united in our deep love for your parents and our belief in their commitment and ability to bring lasting and real changes in the lives of people who, historically, have been ignored and/or trodden upon and left struggling by the wayside. Some of us call ourselves Sussex Squad, but the group is definitely larger than that. We abhor and fight the forces of hate that your family (the one across the pond in the damp, dreary cold place called London) unleashed on your parents, especially your mother, in a desperate effort to diminish and control her so that your uncle, William, and his wife, Katherine Middleton, would stop feeling perpetually overshadowed, threatened, insecure and irrelevant, even though they are second in the line of succession to the British throne and your father is all the way down at sixth.
It seems like only yesterday when, barely able to contain his excitement and seemingly floating on air, your father, declared to the world that he was “over the moon” at your birth:
I’m very excited to announced [sic] that Meghan and myself had a baby boy early this morning, a very healthy boy. Mother and baby are doing incredibly well. It’s been the most amazing experience I could ever have possibly imagined.
In response to a question from the one reporter covering the announcement, your father shared that this was the first birth he had witnessed, and bragged:
I’m so incredibly proud of my wife. As every father and parent would ever say, your baby is absolutely amazing. But this little thing is absolutely to die for. So I’m just over the moon. [More on the announcement here]
And he was. So over the moon that he thanked the horses stabled behind him as he turned to walk back inside. Don’t believe me? Watch it here.
The reason for your parents’ relocation to North America
At the time, you and your parents lived at Frogmore Cottage, a modest 4-bedroom living space in Windsor to which your parents were banished under a policy of “containment” – a misguided effort to appease your uncle William’s and his wife Katherine Middleton’s irrational jealousy and feeling of inadequacy because, after less than a year of marriage, your parents had totally eclipsed them on the world stage. Today, no one but your parents and, perhaps a few confidantes, know where you live, except that you are currently in Los Angeles, California. Oh well, at least the weather is good there, much better than in foggy, damp and cold London, the land of your birth. So, I hope you are enjoying yourself, taking long walks in the warm weather and enjoying the California sun and expanse of blue sky and beaches, things you will never see in London.
Maybe you are wondering, perhaps just a little bit, why your parents moved with you out of Great Britain, away from your father’s home and relatives? Well, I have been pondering the same question for quite some time. I couldn’t tell you definitively, only your parents know the answer. But, I have some theories that I don’t mind sharing with you…
I think that you were very likely one of, if not the top, reason for your parents’ relocation to North America. Your father is determined to protect you from the wickedness that is endemic in his family, having himself endured it as the second child of the direct heir to the British throne, or the “spare”, as your countrymen/women openly and callously refer to him right from birth. I mean, think about it – calling another human being a “spare”, making him feel completely irrelevant and worthless! As the so-called “spare”, your father was routinely used as a distraction from his older brother’s, misdeeds and indiscretions. Interestingly, the same thing is happening to your mother even now – she has become the sole distraction for every member of the house of Mountbatten-Windsor, including your alleged pedophile uncle, Andrew. Yes, the same Andrew who promised, but then subsequently refused, to co-operate with the FBI and the Manhattan United State District Attorney’s office in their investigation of his now deceased friend and convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein was arrested on July 6, 2019, on multiple charges, including sex trafficking. He conveniently killed himself in prison on August 10, 2019. [See here.] And, if you are ready for a good laugh, check out the disreputable Andrew as a hilarious advertising on an American-style yellow school bus right here. Lovely, isn’t it?
Where was I before going off on Andrew? Oh yes. Thankfully, Archie, you don’t have to worry about being called a “spare” because you are the first child of your father who will never be King, as everyone trying to massage and boost your uncle William’s battered and deflated ego keeps telling him. If you don’t believe that William and Katherine Middleton feel and have always felt threatened and diminished by your parent’s global popularity, then take a look at this excerpt from an article published in The Sunday Times of April 21, 2019. In this passage, Tim Shipman, the article’s author, is discussing the thinking behind a split, announced on March 14, 2019, of Kensington Palace, the royal household previously shared by your parents and William and Katherine Middleton.
“William is embracing the idea, which he has been very slow to do, that he is going to be king and Prince of Wales,” said one source with connections at the highest levels of the palace. In this the Duke of Cambridge has been encouraged by his private secretary, Simon Case, who previously served as principal private secretary to David Cameron and Theresa May.
Allies say he believed that a period of separation between the two brothers would help them to define themselves better and also improve relations between them.
Setting up a separate office was an acknowledgment that William will be king and Harry will not and, to a degree, a means of reassuring William that his is the constitutionally important role, whatever the public esteem in which Harry and Meghan are held. “People are telling William, ‘Don’t worry. Your influence will grow and Harry’s will fade,'” a source said. “This is peak Harry.”
In any case, you are not a spare. That privilege now rests squarely on the shoulders of your cousin, Charlotte. God bless her bossy, little heart! I hope Charlotte learns soon enough not to continue sticking her tongue out at royal reporters or treating them rudely by telling them where they can and cannot go. While, as a feminist, I admire Charlotte for her spunkiness, I am concerned for her future well-being, when she comes into her own and is no longer considered “cute”. Unless there is a radical shift in public expectations, as well as attitudes, about the proper role of royal women, Charlotte will be in for a rough ride if Katherine Middleton does not succeed in breaking her natural spiritedness by exorcising that independent streak out of her. And, if he turns out to be anything like their father, George, who will, in time, be grooming to be king, may feel compelled to put Charlotte in her proper place, just as William thinks he needs to put his brother and wife, your parents. As a feminist, I raise my glass to Charlotte and wish the little she-devil well. But, for you, my dear, honestly, I hope that you will stay on the sidelines and watch the fireworks from as far away as you can possibly be. I also hope that, growing up, you will stay as far away from your British relatives as you possibly can. You definitely don’t want to become a foil to either George or Louise or both. You have better things to do with your life!!!
Your parents’ decision to uproot from England to North America appears to be rooted, in the British tabloids’ racist fueled campaign against your mother. The truth is, the British tabloids may be locked in an unending war against your mother, but they do so at the behest and with the full approval and support of the British monarchy and government, headed by your great-grandmother. The painful, but simple, truth is that your father’s family and her Majesty’s government are terrified of your parents, particularly your mother, with her strong, uncompromising, independent streak. Why? You ask. Because your mother’s presence as a member of the British monarchy, her redefinition and expansion of the role of a royal female and wife, her work ethic, proven, philanthropic accomplishments, and her over-the-chart popularity, not just in Britain, but globally — all these things make your mother an existential threat to the British monarchy, whose position and privileges, hitherto taken for granted and largely unquestioned, are predicated simply on “being”, rather than “doing”. Translated, your mother has shown the world how easy it is to be a productive royal. If she is allowed to thrive and succeed as a full member of the royal family, the other royals will be expected to become productive as well. And if there is something as certain as the second coming of Christ (well, in some circles, at least) it is that, as the royal flunky, Dan Wootton would, not doubt, obligingly tell you: “ROYALS DON’T WORK”.
Your mother arrived on the royal stage fully formed, with millions of dollars in the bank that she had earned legitimately and saved. She made a name for herself as Rachel Zane on a hit television series, Suits, in which she starred for eight years. (I confess, I have not watched a single episode of this program, but then, that is not why I am an ardent supporter.) She set up and managed a successful life-style blog, The Tig, that garnered 3 million followers by the time your mother shut it down three years later, in April 2017, as part of her preparations to move into the next chapter of her life as a royal wife. [For more about her pre-royal life, go here.]
An unapologetic and unabashed feminist and a strong and unwavering advocate for gender equality and female empowerment, philanthropy is deeply embedded in your mother’s DNA. As you will see, she has always been an “activist” feminist – modern, innovative, forward-looking, resourceful and results-oriented. Long before she met, fell in love with, married your father, shut down her life in North America and uprooted to England to start a new life with him as royalty, your mother spoke about, championed, and actively engaged in, projects aimed at bringing about real change in the lives of girls and women. In 2015, she delivered a speech at the United Nations in her capacity as the organization’s Women Advocate for Political Participation and Leadership. It was a powerful speech, remarkable for its softly delivered indictment of the slow pace of change…
“When it comes to political participation and leadership, the percentage of female parliamentarians globally has only increased by 11% since 1995. Eleven percent in 20 years? Come on. This has to change. Women make up more than half the world’s population and potential. So, it’s neither just nor practical for their voices, for our voices, to go unheard at the highest levels of decision-making.”
…As for its feisty insistence on real change:
“The way that we change that, in my opinion, is to mobilize girls and women to see their values as leaders and to support them in these efforts. In doing this, we remind girls that their small voices are, in fact, not small at all and that they can effect change. In doing this, we remind women that their involvement matters; that they need to become active in their communities, in their local governments, as well as in the highest parliamentary positions.”
In the speech, which runs approximately 9:40 minutes [I recommend you watch all of it on YouTube here], your mother recalls her activism as an eleven-year-old, when she forced a giant corporation, Proctor and Gamble, to change its dish washing soap commercial. It’s a story that I have heard (not from your mother) once or twice on television, and read in a book written about your mother. It is typically presented in a simple narrative, suffused in adult wonderment and surprise, as in: “look at what little eleven-year-old Meghan did!!”. But this simple narrative overlooks the true import of the experience on your mother – the fact that it is the catalyst and the engine that drives her holistic approach to philanthropy – this experience informs her insistence that it is not enough for women to speak, but they must be heard; that it is not enough for women to be heard, but that they must act, supported by the significant male others in their lives (husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, uncles cousins, and friends) to eliminate existing imbalances and inequalities that hold women back, and that action is not meaningful unless it leads to some tangible, measurable, beneficial progress and improvements for women.
Other than serving as an advocate for the UN, your mother’s other major pre-royalty global philanthropic engagement was as a Global Ambassador for World Vision Canada, in which capacity she traveled to Rwanda in 2016 and India in 2017. In both instances, your mother continued her strong advocacy for gender equality by drawing attention to the negative impact of the lack of reliable sources — clean water (Rwanda) and latrines (India) — on young girls’ access to education.
“I think there’s a misconception that access to clean water is just about clean drinking water; which, of course, it is. But it’s so much more than that. Access to clean water in a community keeps young girls in school, because they aren’t walking hours each day to source water for their families,”
In Rwanda, your mother showcased her innovative, creative and results-driven approach to philanthropic engagement. Visiting a primary school, she used water drawn from a newly created water source to teach the young students how to paint with watercolors and then she had them paint their own pictures of what they wanted to be when they grew up. She brought the paintings back to Canada where they were part of an exhibition – The Watercolour Project. The pictures were auctioned and the event raised $15,000.00; money that was reinvested in building another water source for an entire community in Rwanda. [See here.]
“[T]aking water from one of the water sources in the community and using it with the children to paint pictures of what they dream to be when they grow up, I saw that water is not just a life source for a community, but it can really be a source for creative imagination[.]”
Your mother’s engagements on behalf of World Vision earned her the following tribute published on their website in 2019:
Meghan is a true humanitarian. We’re deeply grateful for her contribution as a global ambassador for World Vision over the past two years and for helping to raise awareness for the world’s most vulnerable children. I personally witnessed Meghan’s passion to improve the lives of children and know her heart to advocate for the rights of girls – to hear and amplify their important voices. She will undoubtedly bring vast energy to her charity work as a member of the Royal Family. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for her and Prince Harry – a couple who clearly have a heart for social justice.
—Lara Dewar, outgoing Chief Marketing and Development Officer, World Vision Canada [See here.]
One final point, since joining the royal family, your mother has transferred and successfully applied her model of philanthropic enterprise to some of her personal and royal charities and foundations – Together: Our Community Kitchen Cookbook by the Women of the Hubb Community Kitchen, which was on the International Bestseller List just one week after publication and the Smart Works Capsule Collection.
So, you see, your mother arrived at Kensington Palace ready to hit the ground running. And, boy! Did she ever!…
Her first real test was a highly successful tour of the Oceania – a grueling 16-day swing through four countries (Australia, Fiji, The Kingdom of Tonga and New Zealand), which, according to royal reporter for Harper’s Bazaar, Omid Scobie, involved 14 flights (over thousands of air miles) and 76 engagements. (See the itinerary here.) At the time, your mother would have been just about three to three and a half months pregnant with you. Nevertheless, she took the trip in stride and effortlessly showed your uptight relatives back in England how a royal tour is done with ease, style, warmth, respect for, and rapport with, the hosts.
The pregnancy announcement made Meghan’s accomplishments during the tour even more impressive. Though she’s doing everything for two, the Duchess of Sussex still proved herself a formidable force in the royal family, appearing unfazed by the overwhelming number of engagements, hysterical crowds on walkabouts, and major jet lag a source says took her over a week to conquer.
It was a masterful and flawless performance – from bringing banana bread she made the night before to share with her hosts, a farming family in Dubbo, Australia (see here), to giving three formal speeches during the tour (something no other royal consort has ever done, according to the same Omid Scobie, one of the more objective royal reporters who covered the trip). [See here]. As would be expected of a true feminist, your mother spoke eloquently, passionately, and from the heart, without reference to her hand-written notes, as she extolled the importance of universal access to education to a group of university students at the Fiji University of the South Pacific.
As a proud feminist, and a movement icon (afterall, she walked away from the money and privileges conferred by royal status because the trade-off required her to dim her light and silence her voice), your mother understands the crucial link between education and agency, i.e., the ability to take charge of one’s life, to engage in deliberative actions by utilizing all available information and resources to make informed decisions in moving forward towards a goal that one has set for oneself. So, it was not at all surprising that, in her first speech as a royal, your mother would emphatically declare education a fundamental right:
“Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive the education they want, but more importantly the education they have the right to receive. And for women and girls in developing countries, this is vital. When girls are given the right tools to succeed, they can create incredible futures, not only for themselves but for all of those around them.”
And it was even less surprising that she would draw a parallel to her own experience, when she shared:
“As a university graduate, I know the personal feeling of pride and excitement that comes with attending university. . . From the moment you receive your acceptance letter to the exams you spend countless late nights studying for, the lifelong friendships you make with your fellow alumni to the moment that you receive your diploma, the journey of higher education is an incredible, impactful and pivotal one.”
This activist approach to feminism was also on display in an even more powerful speech on October 28, 2018, delivered at a celebration of the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand. In that speech, hearkening back to the theme of her 2015 UN speech, your mother reminded the world that feminism, whether expressed as the right to vote or as women’s empowerment, is part of the larger struggle for fundamental human rights, rights guaranteed to everyone, but sadly denied to those assigned to the margins of society by reason of race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
In looking forward to this very special occasion, I reflected on the importance of this achievement, but also the larger impact of what this symbolizes. Because yes – women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness. Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote but also about what that represents. The basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community. The involvement and voice that allows you to be a part of the very world you are a part of. And women’s suffrage is not simply about the right to vote for women, but also about what that represents. The basic and fundamental human right of all people – including members of society who have been marginalized – whether for reasons of race, gender, ethnicity, or orientation – to be able to participate in the choices for their future and their community.
To your mother, then, empowering women so that they can participate in effecting changes that improve their conditions in society and elevate their status as equals to men, is a human right. Effective advocacy on behalf of women cannot be predicated on passive engagement out of a sense of duty, obligation or noblesse oblige – an honor conferred on the recipient by a royal. It is not a photo op., where you arrive, pose, smile benevolently at and shake hands with a few underprivileged women who smile back at you with not a hint, in their deadened eyes, of expectation of any real change; because they know that you will have forgotten them the moment you reentered your car, even before you fully settled into the luxurious seat to be driven back to your privileged fortress.
The Oceania trip was a huge success and won rave reviews. According to royal reporter, Omid Scobie, your mother’s performance was so flawless during her first royal tour that Australian media quickly dubbed her, “Queen of Hearts.”
“Going on tour with the Sussexes is what I can imagine Beatlemania was like in the ’60s. From country to country, we witnessed seas of excitable crowds fill the streets with banners, gifts and (in many cases), eyes full of tears. While royals pulling in big crowds is no new feat, there was something different about Meghan and Harry’s oceanic visit. People from all walks of life came out to see the couple—many there just to catch a glimpse of Meghan, who has brought much-needed modernity to the royal family.”
But the people at Kensington Palace, William’s and Katherine Middleton’s handlers were watching. And they did not like what they saw. Your parents had wiped William and Katherine, the future, future in waitings off the map. So it was time for action. The knives came out. Guns were drawn. William and his minions recruited the already-primed and willing British tabloids to do his dirty work and they heartily obliged. The attack has not stopped and it does not look like it will ever stop. I will let Tim Shipman explain this to you in this excerpt confirming what we, your parents’ supporters, knew all along – that your father’s brother is behind the sustained media attacks on his younger brother’s wife.
A number of those preparing William for the throne share this view and have openly told friends that Meghan is “a nightmare”. Friends of Harry think this deeply unfair and see it as evidence that some people have not moved on from the attitudes of the abdication crisis of 1936 when the Establishment failed to accommodate another divorced American woman, Wallis Simpson.
“They obviously don’t like Meghan and find her difficult,” said a sympathiser. “Harry thinks the world is against him, but he will certainly stand by her.”
This sense of embattlement has been entrenched by William’s decision to reach out to senior figures in the media as he prepares for kingship and by the apparent decision of those same newspapers to side with the palace over Meghan and Harry by peddling the most negative coverage of the duchess’s relationship with her father, Thomas Markle. “Harry sees that as part of the headwinds against him,” a friend said.
In this context moving to Frogmore has been as much an exile as an escape “Meghan and Harry feel they have been cut adrift,” one ally said.
In real speak, your uncle got in bed with British tabloids and sanctioned their vitriolic and vile attack on your mother. Why did he do this? Because, according to Shipman, after a year in which your parents had “hardly been off the front pages”, it was only “natural” for king and queen consort in waiting to feel overshadowed. Translated further, William got insanely jealous of your parents’ popularity because they had overshadowed him and his wife and he could not deal with that reality.
However, the attempt to “contain” your parents by setting the media pack hounds after your mother and banishing your parents to Frogmore Cottage to keep them out of the limelight did not dent their popularity. It did not make your parents change their strategy of engaging only in philanthropic activities that they care about. In fact, on April 10, 2019, your father announced plans to make a documentary series about mental health with Oprah Winfrey for Apple TV, a project, as it turns out, that his family did not, and still does not, want your father to pursue. Check out your uncle William’s response to your father’s announcement of the project with Apple TV. Excuse me, I have to suppress a laugh…
Sorry about that. Shall we continue? As I was saying, your parents were not interested in the traditional and largely symbolic rituals of royal engagements – appear, shake hands, smile, maybe give a short speech, written by someone else, and go home. As some palace officials put it, your parents wanted “to do”, not “to be”. Your mother, they believed, wanted to parlay her experience with the UN and World Vision into a global humanitarian empire. To palace staff, the royal family and the British government, this was a HUGE problem. You see, they still remember your deceased grandmother, Diana, the People’s Princess, the last young woman who used the royal platform for global charitable crusading. That did not work out too well for your father’s family. The fear is that, if your mother is allowed to have her way, she would be even bigger than your grandmother, Diana. And where would future future king and future future queen consort be if an upstart bi-racial American is allowed to come in and upstage them permanently on the world stage?
So, around the time Tim Shipman wrote his article, the strategy, sanctioned by your father’s family and the government, was to banish your parents to Africa (where there is not much international media), to live with you until William and his wife somehow learn to shine and sparkle as a couple. No. I am not kidding you and I am not making this stuff up.
To palace officials wondering how to handle the couple there was another figure who looms large when you think of young women using a royal platform for global charitable crusading: Harry’s own mother. “The danger to them is that Meghan is going to be bigger than Diana,” said one source. The fear of these people – and of some of Harry’s friends – is that the couple will not happily remain forever as the undercard of the princes’ double act. “More and more friends are worried that they’ll just get on a plane and live in LA and never come back,” said one friend.
The fear that Harry and Meghan might seek a new arena revived discussions about offering the couple an opportunity overseas. The benevolent explanation is that – in a year or so – the Sussexes, with a young family, might value a period away. Courtiers framed this as the opportunity for a “Malta moment”, echoing the time the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh spent on the island between 1949 and 1951 while Prince Philip was posted there with the Royal Navy. The less palatable view, held by some, is that this would get the Sussexes out of the way. “In some ways it would suit William to get his brother out of the country for a few years and Meghan as far away as possible,” said one friend of the brothers.
What happened to the Africa Plan, you ask? I don’t know. All we know is that, in early January 2020, your parents dropped a bomb on the world. They were stepping back as senior royals and working to achieve financial independence. There were some meetings between your family, the British government and your father and they worked out something, the details of which could be the subject of another long letter so I won’t go into it here. Your mother was not in London for the series of meetings. She pulled one of the best boss moves I have ever witnessed, hauled her fine bi-racial backside and hurried back to you, while your father and his family bickered about which titles they would let him keep and which ones they would take away — all stuff that, I’m sure Queen Meghan (that’s your mother), does not care for because, if she did, she wouldn’t have walked out on them in the first place.
I am almost done (yeah, one thing you will soon learn is that adults like talking. A lot… Your ask them one tiny question and they go on and on for eternity. I think it’s because they think they know everything). Just bear with me for a few more pages. . .
You see that name Ntsika? Perhaps you are wondering why it’s there and what it means. Frankly, I hope not. I hope your parents remembered, thought it was important, and took the time to explain to you that, in Africa, you are also known as Ntsika. I hope you know that this is a traditional South African Xhosa name, carefully chosen and bestowed upon you by the “gogos” (or community grandmothers) of the Nyanga Community in Cape Town, South Africa. This was your parents’ first visit to Africa as royals representing the British monarchy. It happened in September 2019. You were just four months old, but you made such a great impression during your one and only outing — a visit to the Nobel laureate anti-apartheid luminary, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. You can read a little bit about that here.
I have to tell you that we still remember, fondly, your very brief speech during the visit. When you said: “Ahhhh” most of us clear-thinking, open-minded, children-loving die-hard supporters of Harry, Meghan and Archie went into a permanent swoon from which we will likely not recover until we see another picture of you, or better, maybe a video so we can hear you speak real words for the first time. Such is the power you have over us – I mean those of us who support your parents with passion. (Just so you know, Archie, I am smiling broadly as I recall just how happy and confident you looked during the short walk to the Archbishop’s office. And the way you looked at those yummy cookies? Priceless! You were so adorable!! You are a magical child!!!)
But, back to the business of names. . . Like Archie, the name that, as your parents explained, they created especially for you, your Xhosa name, Ntsika, embodies a collective hope that you will grow up to be a pillar of courage and strength to those who will need you. Because you, my dearest, are born into greatness and we of the world community harbor the hope that you will follow in your parents’ footsteps and grow into a great leader. You can go here to read all about the wonderful honor bestowed upon you by the township grandmothers. This is how your parents explained your name:
“Before SussexRoyal, came the idea of ‘Arche’ – the Greek word meaning ‘source of action’. We connected to this concept for the charitable organisation we hoped to build one day, and it became the inspiration for our son’s name. To do something of meaning, to do something that matters.”)
But, why am I carrying on about a strange name that you will likely never use? Because, Archie, this name is an important part of who you are and, if I may speak frankly, the part that makes you vulnerable to abuse, mistreatment and vilification by those who will be (and there will be many) jealous of your strengths and accomplishments; people who will try to counter your success with coordinated attempts to diminish and destroy you, just as they are even now trying to destroy your parents, particularly your mother.
Your African grandmothers gave you this name to complement your given name because they want to imbue you with the resilience rooted in your African ancestry. You are not just Arche, a “source of action”. You are also Ntsika, a “pillar of strength”. Remember this if ever and whenever the enemies of enlightenment and progress come at you. And they will come at you and, in fact, already have in the most shameful way possible, as depicted here. By the way, Danny Baker, the racist who tweeted that repulsive and reprehensible picture, who everyone claims got fired for his racist tweet, still works at the BBC as of this writing. He was quietly rehired shortly after the news report of his firing. He was never repentant of his blatant racism.
Your father’s family did not come to your defense and did not demand an apology. Not one of them spoke up on your behalf – not, your uncle, William; not your grandfather, Charles; and certainly not your great-grandmother, Elizabeth II, the Queen of the realm, who is expected, by all her subjects of different races, creeds and color, to lead by example. By their silence, your father’s family gave tacit consent for your abuse, which actually started before you were born. Since announcement of your mother’s pregnancy with you in October 2018, the internet has proliferated with bizarre conspiracy theories claiming, for example, that your parents used a paid surrogate to conceive, carry and birth you, that you were born on an earlier date and are older than your parents claim you are, or, the most bizzare, that you simply do not exist.
Fair warning, dearest Archie — these attacks will likely intensify and become worse as you grow up and come into your own. If you have any of your parents’ core qualities — charisma, brilliance, ingenuity, an independent streak, a strong work ethic, and dedication to meaningful and impact-driven service for social justice, your father’s family will try to destroy you, just as they have tried to destroy your parents, most particularly, your mother. As sad and as far-fetched as it sounds, if you thrive and aspire to be the best that you can be, your father’s family will secretly devise and lead the charge to “dim your lights” so that you do not overshadow your cousin, George, or whoever is the next in line to the British throne. The attack will be insidious, brutal and sustained, just as the one that they unleashed against your parents, again, most particularly your mother. So be prepared and remember, dearest child — Archie is your battle cry when in action. Ntsika is your shield when under attack. You come from a centuries-old line of African resilience. Ntsika marks you as one with, and of, Africa. Here, you will always find respite, rest, and an opportunity to recharge. I hope you will come home when and if ever you need to.
Once again, dearest child, HAPPY BIRTHDAY. And may you live a long, happy, successful rewarding life!!! Blessing and love on behalf of all of us who love you.
Last updated on May 25th, 2020