An Open Letter to Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor (a/k/a Ntsika)

  • Photo by SussexRoyal Instagram/Chris Allerton

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.


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35 comments on “An Open Letter to Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor (a/k/a Ntsika)

  1. Claudia Barnswell

    I truly enjoyed this read. I really pray that Archie reads this when he gets old enough to understand what’s going on. Brilliant writing. Well done to the author…Etta. 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽❤❤❤

  2. Jose Smart

    JOYEUX ANNIVERSAIRE AU PRINCE ARCHIE. Ici, une de tes tantes de Côte d’Ivoire, un des pays de l’Afrique de l’ouest d’où auraient pu venir les ancêtres de ta mémé Doria, nous t’envoyons beaucoup d’amour et de prières de protection. Tu grandiras pour réaliser ta Destinée à l’instar de ta pauvre maman qui sans l’avoir voulu est en train de bouleverser l’ordre des choses, l’ordre du monde. Tu seras ce que tu dois être, n’en déplaise aux haineux. Bébé Archie, tu es né à l’intersection de trois mondes: L’Afrique, d’où ont été volés les ancêtres de ta mémé Doria, l’Europe, pays des marchands d’esclaves noirs de ton père, et les USA, pays esclavagiste d’où est née ta mère, fruit d’une union des anciens maîtres et des ex esclaves. Dieu seul et ses oracles savent ce que tu représentes. Nous, on est simplement content de te savoir en bonne santé, heureux, gaie, en train de babiller comme tout joli bébé. La Révolution a commencé …
    Elle ne s’arrêtera. On avance, on ne recule pas.

    Ceci dit, bravo à Etta pour cette brillante lettre ouverte au petit Archie. WOBLOU!!! une interjection tirée de Côte D’Ivoire pour traduire l’ampleur du travail intellectuel que tu as dû abattu, sœur Etta, pour écrire cette lettre ouverte. . C’est du boulot!! Wouh!!, Tu as bossé. C’est indiscutablement, l’une des meilleures pièces de la collection que nous offre MEGHANPEDIA. Tu as dit et dit beaucoup. Quelle puissance, densité et quelle aisance dans l’écriture, dans un anglais simple, style badinage, comme si on etait en train de s’amuser , tu as assené les vérités et nous as fait un beau retour en arrière sur les événements. C’était un véritable plaisir de te lire. Tu as un style argumentatif à la Tina du Sussex Squad Podcast. Je l’imagine bien écrivant cette lettre.
    Anyway Bravo encore soeur Etta. Bravo à Meghanpedia et merci de nous offrir ce forum!!!

  3. Alicia

    Wow! Elegantly, beautifully written love letter to a boy with unlimited potential and support. So proud to be part of this community.

  4. alicia

    Such an interesting read; just having the most difficult time accepting that William would be complicit in the uncivilized treatment of his only sibling, knowing what they went through together when their mother was killed. If true, William doesn’t deserve to be the leader of a monarchy and it will be interesting to see what becomes of it after the passing of QE2.

    1. Veronique gerring

      I thought the same until I saw the commercial flight stunt during the time Harry was being criticized for flying in private jets just like his father, his brother, & any other member of the royal family. What kind of a person does that to his only brother?

      1. Wendy

        Yes, I was the same. That little performance shocked me deeply and opened my eyes. That he would use his children as well to try and publicly shame his brother and intensify the hate and vitriol against him and his pregnant wife. It was so clearly and shamelessly set up. Very disturbing and painted a very clear picture of the sad truth if his participation in their abuse.

  5. C. T.

    This is so powerful. You left no stone unturned. You dotted every I and crossed every T. You laid out all the facts. I wish this open letter to Archie had more exposure. I wish you could get it to the mainstream media. The true story need to be told!!
    My heart cries for Harry and Meghan. They had to endure hell just to be together and love each other unconditionally. I hope Archie grows up to know that his father is a valiant warrior. He is fiercely protecting his wife & child from the abuse of The Royal Family and the British press. His mom is a true pillar of strength & fortitude. She’s standing right by Harry’s side in this fight!
    Please keep this letter going on social media for all to read! Forward it to many people as possible i.e. Buzz Feed, O Magazine, Ebony Magazine, Roland Martin, Tamron Hall, Washington Post, Laurence O’Donnell, Anderson Cooper, New York Daily News, Rachel Maddow, Don Lemon, Sonny Hostin, Charles Blow, Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, etc. People need to know the truth!

  6. Marcy

    Happy Birthday Archie! May you live a healthy, prosperous and fulfilling life. And always remember that there are many facets to every story.

    1. Marjorie Ireland

      Not sure what you mean. I think you are suggesting that there are many sides to the Racism that Meghan faced? Nearly 5000 Racist articles with the same theme- Hate were published by 1 paper. I read all of them! There was only 1 side to this story! Racism and hate for an educated, accomplished, wealthy black woman who is loved by a Prince!!! When Master Archie grows up he will see there is only 1 side to this story and it is detailed in the article above!

      1. Marcy

        Marjorie, I am not suggesting any such thing! I don’t think there is any doubt that a vitriolic campaign was instigated against Meghan. I simply found the article rather harsh and one-sided on the history of the RF, the good they have done for the world and the role they play on the world stage. They have good members and bad members, good deeds and horrific deeds – just like every other family and civilization in the world. That is simply human nature and it will not change. When Archie grows up, I hope that he will have had the benefit of knowing all the members of his family who will each have their individual stories. And as a side note and one last thought, I found it appalling to denigrate and ridicule any of the RF children. Children are off limits. All of them.

        1. Jose Smart

          Marcy: Hey. Could you, please, write an article or, if it is too much asking, would you rather list the good deeds done by the royal family on behalf of the Duchess of Sussex when she was being persecuted, insulted, ridiculed,hounded daily in Good Morning Britain, Lorraine, Loose women, Australian TV, Daily Mail and the rest, BBC sketch? I honestly want to know. I may have overlooked those good deeds. Please, don’t just give us a blank statemen about: “there are two sides to a story”. It doesn’t help and it is a cliché. The author, Etta, took the time to write her account of the events and many of us share her views. Now, it is your turn. Enlighten us with the other side, please.
          There are two sides to the story of the institutional Racist system of the apartheid, two sides to the mass murder of children in Soweto, two sides to the 1963 bombing of four little girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Alabama…
          I can’t wait to read that other side of that specific story:The treatment of Meghan Markle in the UK before, during and after her pregnancy, till now.Thank you for enlightening me.

          1. Marcy

            Jose, I agree with you that Etta did fine research and threw her heart into her article. I would never deign to have that sort of talent! But, since you asked, I can give you a general list of good deeds done by the RF that inured to Meghans benefit. Notwithstanding the costs of a wardrobe, the wedding dress, the events, the ceremony itself and being walked down the aisle by the future King, the personal jewelry gifted by HM, the invitations to family functions before they were married (a first), the invite to join HM on the weekend tour (first time in royal history, I believe), the use and availability of personal residences, the assignment of professional aides to assist Meghan in every endeavor, the patronages, the Commonwealth positions, the generous and on-going financial support of PC, etc., etc…there is is the one good deed that just truly stands out above all others. HM made her HRH Duchess of Sussex!!! She did not have to give her that unique title complete with all the fame and fortune that flows from it. Besides, regardless of what Etta said in her article, Meghan (just like Diana and Fergie) seems to be very fond of the title and uses it to open doors suitable to her furthering her brand/agenda. And insofar as the RF responses to the unnecessary, godawful, vile media treatment of – oh let’s see, Meghan, Kate, Sophie, Diana, Fergie, Princess Margaret – surely you must know based on the comments you have submitted, that the RF does not grant media respectability by engagement. You may not agree with their stance, but that is their MO and has been for generations. So, Jose, I have finished my turn and there are many that share my views. Thank you for the opportunity to enlighten you. As I said in my first comment, there are so many facets to every story…

    2. Joyce

      Thank you Etta .Marcy, Meghan’s wedding dress was not paid for by the Royal family, she had her jewellery before marriage. Your list of good deeds that you listed has been given to other female married to the family and even more than Meghan was given, but not hounded the way Meghan has been. What you are saying is that because your so call good deed given to her she must pay the prize of constant attack including calling her son a chimp.
      She had her own money before she came to this family so do us a favour her sanity and well-being is paramount to your so call good deeds which I find very insulting. You have not educated anybody but made yourself look good and self serving and economical with the truth.
      Thank you Etta for your brilliant masterpiece, though some may not agree because truth is hard to accept.

      1. Marcy

        I truly do not understand why some of the commentators here try to put words in my mouth. I did not say that Meghan must endure constant attacks or the insults directed to Archie. That’s silly! I did not suggest that there are many sides to the racism that Meghan endured. How ludicrous! And I certainly never remotely said that she should compromise her well being and sanity for anything. I find that remark insulting. Leaving aside for a moment the tit for tat of who paid for her dress or the rest of the $45 Million dollar wedding, thanks to the RF, biracial (thanks, Etta) Meghan was the beneficiary of a unique role in the history of the world. Let me say that again. HISTORY OF THE WORLD. HRH Duchess of Sussex. That is hardly a “so called good deed”. Any of us should be so lucky to enjoy the benefits of that gift from the Queen of England. But, I guess that is just not enough for some people who can’t accept the truth. Like so many others, to this day I am sad and outraged that she was yet another target of vicious media attention. No one should have to live with that burden. But there is little that I or you or the RF or anybody else can do to quell it. Free press, you know. However, attacking and challenging fellow commentators may release some of your frustrations , but it is not the most expeditious way to handle these highly nuanced situations.

        1. Joyce

          Dear Marcy, for the last time The title given to Meghan is not different from other royal women who married their men. Why is hers different that it is should become a privilege? The RF gave their son a wedding which is his birth right and same as other royal weddings which you failed to cost. What you are implying is she should be grateful for being allowed this good deeds others have been given but at peace and she should be a subjected to all forms of abuse and finger pointing. Be rest assured I think we are all aware now the thoughts of many. Good luck . I have said my piece and that is it.

          1. Marcy

            Joyce, Sophie was not given a Duchess title even though she is married to one of HM own children. She is a Countess. Diana and Kate were both in line to one day be Queen so theirs was almost an automatic event. Fergie got one because Andrew at one time was second in line to the throne. Harry and Meghan are 6th in line but for many personal reasons, HM gifted them a full duchy honor. None of the other royal wives (Margaret not included) were ever allowed to attend family happenings until they were married. And the invitation extended by HM to accompany her on the weekend trip on the Royal Coach is the first time in history that has happened. And please, you and the other commentators , do not say that I am implying that she should accept any abuse. I’ve never, never said that and no one should have to endure that. From the moment Meghan hit the global screen, I was entranced with her and the future she would be able to carve out as a royal. And when the ugliness started from the media and her own white family, I was so appalled and sad and thought to myself “why do we successful women who work our butts off to make a difference still have to deal with a minefield of racism, misogyny, denigration, lies , freeloaders, etc.?” Joyce, my work career began over 50 years ago. I knocked down many doors, marched in many protests and always tried to bring along other women with me. I was the first women in many instances before I retired. And I can assure you that nothing has changed in the way that people treat each other. If anything, it is much, much worse because of social media and its penetration into almost all aspects of living. There is a lot more I could say, but frankly I am wearied from a lifetime of one-sided discourse. As I have said before, there are multiple facets to every story and the more facets you understand, the better equipped to succeed you will be. And good luck to you too! In one way or another, we are all in this together. I have now said my piece and that is it…

        2. SMART JOSE

          Dear Marcy, thank you so much for enlightening us about the good deeds done by the Royal Family on behalf of Meghan Markle. I am replying back to your post because I was the one who ask you to elaborate more.

          Yes, I will you give that. It was nice for the Queen to invite Meghan to her first royal family Christmas, to the weekend trip in Her Majesty private train. It certainly made Meghan feel welcome while at the same time it demonstrated to the world that the Royal family of England was opened to diversity. Prince Charles walking Meghan down the isle during her father disappearing act, was just heartwarming. This is the reason why I was flabbergasted to see Her Majesty, who herself had been four times pregnant and experienced the anxiety of that state, sit idly by when the wife of her “favorite grand-child” Harry was being psychologically bullied 24/ by the Media of the Kingdom. Some naysayers would view that deafening silence as a rejection by the Royal family of a child based on the one-drop rule of black blood. It reminded me of the statement by the UKIP leader’s fiancée about royal blood being tainted…

          Regarding the other items on your list: personal residences, professional aides, patronages, financial support, wardrobe, etc. Hum! I found it rather strange that you would view those as special gifts and favors to Meghan by Prince Charles. I don’t know much about the Feudal Seigneurial system on which the Duchy of Cornwall is based, but, I do think that as in all feudal noble families, the Seigneur, the father in law, the Prince of Wales, the Head of the household supports his children and their spouses who in return work for him, his Estate. Most of their expenses are part of the operations cost of his Estate/ office, his small firm within the bigger firm/corporation: Royal Family of the UK. The children and their spouses are logistically equipped with all the necessities (what you listed as good deeds in favor of Meghan) in order to go out in the world as UK’s goodwill ambassadors/ ambassadors of charm to advocate, promote and carry out the message of their Prince, Queen and Country. The official engagements of H& M, including international friendship missions on behalf of the Crown and the Country, were meant to share the UK royal family ‘vision locally and abroad, to strengthen their relationships nationally and internationally, and most importantly, to showcase to the world the greatness of the Monarchy, its relevance to their subjects who in turn, keep funding the Institution.
          And boy, did Meghan demonstrate her excellence and greatness in performing those obligations and duties. You can imagine the intense work that went into the preparation of these official international friendship missions while she was probably still having morning sickness. She accomplished all her missions with brio, maestria and panache!! She literally schooled the born and blood, new and ancient royals how to be a royal in the postmodern era.
          So, Meghan should not be expected to be forever grateful to her father-in-law for supporting his son and his spouse. Would you ask a police agent to be grateful to his commissioner for providing his equipment and devices on the line of duty (patrol car, radio, duty belt, housing stipend, etc.)? Did you expect Meghan to be dressed in rags while on missions or live in the most deprived neighborhoods of London while her husband; the Prince resides in a castle?

          As for the grand gesture of Her Majesty who granted the HRH to the mixed race daughter of a Black woman, descendant of enslaved Africans from the cotton fields of Georgia, and a white commoner, I am sure Meghan appreciated it. It is nice, it is prestigious to be a member of an exclusive noble class. But, in our post-modern and post-colonial era, a title is just a title, a social convention if there is no substance to sustain it. Meghan Markle, the daughter of Doria and Thomas Markle made her first million without a title of nobility. Her second, third, fourth without HRH. Fame, maybe, but fortune, I don’t think so. If you shower all the princesses of that kingdom with all the titles known to the feudal European nobility, (Duchesse, Marquise, baroness, Comtesse Viscomtess), and that’s all they bring to the table, in this day and age, that won’t impress many people. Retail store’s website won’t crash due to the high demands for the clothes/jewelry worn by these nobles, children books on Amazon won’t be sold out. Dysneyplus channel won’t see its membership climb up exponentially, biography books written on their behalf won’t reach the best-selling list in a week. The presence or absence of the HRH won’t make or break Meghan Markle. Thank you, Dear Marcy, for enlightening me. I learned a lot about your thought process.

          1. Joyce

            Thank you Jose, well said, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Meghan was not the only one equipped with those things that she should be made uncomfortable. The other wife has had the same if not more but not dragged by the media to the extent Meghan had been . Their residence is the least of all and yet made out as if it was the biggest deal ever.

  7. Airat

    I applaud you,Etta for this beautiful piece. You have painstakingly highlighted the events and the experiences that will inform Archie’s disposition and understanding of that unsavoury side of human nature ,family affiliation, notwithstanding.
    Rest assured, Archie will read this . I just read this and my emotions took the better part of me. Thanks,my Nigerian sis for this.

  8. Elizabeth Badu

    This is one of the best article l have ever read BRAVO, you really outdone yourself sis,l sincerely hope he reads it one day,Bon anniversaire Archie.

  9. Donna Holiwski

    Wow! Amazing! Both tribute to Archie, his parents and summary of last 3 years. ❤👏👏👏👏

  10. Ziyanda Gama

    Wow, I am in tears, wow! wow! wow! Happy Birthday King Archie!

    As a proud African, living in Africa, we echo this writer’s words that indeed Africa is home to you, always and should you ever need to you will indeed find respite, rest, and an opportunity to recharge in the home of your mothers ancestors. Ntsika!!!!

  11. Rhoda

    Thank you Etta, this was brilliantly well written. It was sot on👌🏾
    Happy birthday to you, Archie Harrison.., may your days be filled with love, God’s graces and blessings always.

  12. Kate

    OMG this one made me cry 😭😭😭 I just woke up still in bed reading it and It’s so beautiful, just used my blanket as a Kleenex ewww..
    Love it so much..

    1. Comfort

      Once again another well written article.well done ,you make me proud of our African heritage.SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY KING ARCHIE.I KNOWN GOD WILL PROTECT YOU AND YOUR PARENTS ALWAYS BECAUSE THEY ARE DOING A LOT OF GOOD.!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Omotola Morakinyo

    What a lovely long letter. I hope Archie gets to read from this archive some day. Happy birthday Archie.

    1. NatsMom

      What a beautiful letter. Sums up nicely the treatment received by his parents and the despicable abuse from the RF and disgusting tabloids. King Archie you are loved 🌻

  14. Abfussalam Maryam Aderonke

    MeghanPedia yiu outdid yourself! Wow what a well written and detailed letter to our Ntsika, a baby with millions of aunties and uncles.
    Don’t ever forget you are well ,cherished and loved globally, like your parents before you, also ur grandmothers before them!
    We pray you grow up in wisdom,knowledge and understanding of God with love for humanity. May you continue to be a blessing, joy ,strength and hope to ur parents and the world at large! We love you Archie Harris- son Ntsika! Happy birthday Our Nephew.
    From aunty Maryam (Nigeria) #Sussexsquad

    1. Lillian zziwa

      That was a very well composed article with facts and events and that is history in the making, never are we to forget what we heard with our own ears and events seen unfolding with our own eyes happening in this period of our existence
      May God of life and light ,the Alpha and The Omega bless Master Archie with Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding.Whenever he may be let there be light and sun shine and let it be felt by all those around him .
      Happy Birthday Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor .God bless you all .

  15. Norah

    What a brilliantly written article. Thank you Etta. Another real SussexSquad member masterpiece: informative, factual and entertaining! You have presented almost all the ingredients for the tell-all book Harry and Meghan could be writing. Looking forward for that to happen one day. Anyhow, the inside you’ve given here, to those unaware of what this young family have endured in the British royal family so far, makes Omid’s book superfluous already.

  16. Marjorie Ireland

    I am speechless! What a BRILLIANT Piece!! Happy Birthday Master Archie, Prince of the UK.

  17. Dinah

    Great piece in honor of our King Archie and his amazing, inspiring forces for change parents.
    Happy first anniversary, Archie! And what a year it was in your already remarkable life, with all the fantastic SussexSquad initiatives in your name. All the kids around the world must be very jealous of your global extended, loving and creative family. Be good kid.
    We love you!

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