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A clue to little Archie’s pet name for Prince Harry points to a long-standing Royal Family tradition.

Last week Royal fans were delighted to see the first image of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with both of their children together.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s 2021 Christmas card offered a rare glimpse of Archie as well as the first official look at their new daughter Lilibet.

Beneath the traditional American Christmas greeting “Happy Holidays” the couple are seen together with Lilibet and Archie – who has a fine mop of red hair like his dad.

But Archie doesn’t actually call Harry “dad”.

In the card, the couple wrote: "This year, 2021, we welcomed our daughter, Lilibet, to the world. Archie made us a ‘Mama’ and a ‘Papa’, and Lili made us a family."

The nickname “Papa” is a callback to royal tradition – at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in April, Prince Charles referred to Prince Philip as his "Dear Papa” and Harry, too, has been known to refer to Charles as “Pa”.

The image of the Sussex’s card was released by charity Rubicon, and any money raised will be donated to the efforts to support Afghan families resettling in US communities.

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But, showing that you can’t please everybody, some commentators have criticised Harry and Meghan’s card.

Royal commentator Neil Sean speculates on his YouTube channel that the Royal Family would have been “rather confused” by the Sussexes’ message.

“As we all know, Prince Harry was born a British prince, and there’s nothing more sacred to Her Majesty than her Christian faith, and this particular time of year, she holds with great affection,” he said.

“So as you can imagine," Sean continued, "I’m suspecting her dismay at the Christmas greeting which was on the card.

“I’m told this phrase, ‘Happy Holidays’ is very much a Californian slang.”

In fact, both “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays” are well known, and quite old seasonal greetings – with “Happy Holidays” dating to at least 1863.

  • Meghan Markle
  • Prince Harry
  • Prince Philip
  • Queen
  • Christmas
  • Royal Family
  • Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor

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