Peter Lucas: In the King Derby, Prince Archie’s a Longshot

May 14, 2019 GMT

What’s with this Archie business?

Who ever hear of an English king, or any king, called Archie?

Edward, George, Charles, James, yes, but Archie? Blimey. It’s a comic book name, or a name out of the old Archie Bunker television sitcom “All in the Family.”

Even the London bookmakers were baffled by the choice. Their betting favorites were Albert, Arthur or Alexander.

While Archie is short for Archibald, what country did a King Archibald ever rule?

Not that the newborn Archie, the first child of Prince Harry, 35, and Meghan Markle, 37 — excuse me, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — will ever become king of England.


There are just too many people with king-like names ahead of him in the line to succeed Queen Elizabeth, II, who is 93.

Still, Archie is not doing that bad in the name department. He has four of them. His full name is Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, so he could be nicknamed Harry, Monty, or even Winnie.

Yet even if Archie is only a prince or remains a duke, the title Prince Archie, or Archie, Duke of Sussex, lacks a royal ring to it.

Archie ever becoming king is the longest of longshots, anyway, like Country House, a 65-1 longshot winning the Kentucky Derby. Of course, Country House only won after the favorite Maximum Security was disqualified.

Currently baby Archie has a lot of horses in front of him, six to be exact, and not the 19 that Country House faced.

First in line to succeed Queen Elizabeth II is the ever- patient Charles, 72, Prince of Wales, who is Elizabeth’s son. He is followed by his son Prince William, 37, Duke of Cambridge; and then by his three children, Prince George, 6; Princess Charlotte, 4; and Prince Louis, 1. After Prince Louis comes Harry, Duke of Sussex, 35, who is Archie’s father. Then comes Archie.

This is not to say that the six royals ahead of Archie would ever be disqualified from become England’s monarch. But strange things happen, like at the Kentucky Derby.

For instance, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936 in order to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice divorced American socialite. Markle, an actress, is also a divorced American.

Edward’s abdication made his brother George king and, upon his death in 1952, his daughter Elizabeth became queen. Megan Markle is an American divorcee, too, and is the daughter of a mixed marriage.

The bottom line is that Archie will never become king of England. And that is probably a relief to former English rulers with formidable names like William the Conqueror, King Richard the Lionheart, Henry VIII, and Shakespeare’s Henry V who uttered those his immortal lines to his men on St. Crispin’s Day: ”’We few, we happy few, we band of brothers” before the Battle of Agincourt.


It is a shame that there is no writer around today like Shakespeare, who wrote plays about English kings as well as Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear and Julius Caesar, to write a royal play called Archie the Great.

With all the Brexit and European Union problems facing the United Kingdom, perhaps now is the time for the Brits to consider appointing a leader with American roots to lead the nation.

No, this is not to suggest that Meghan Markle replace or succeed Queen Elizabeth, although Markle critics have suggested that she is already acting like a queen. Nor does it mean she has to push people out of the way to make way for Archie.

But if Prince William would step aside, then his brother Harry, who is Archie’s father, could move up to second place, just after heir apparent Prince Charles. Being second is better than being seventh. And King Charles, at age 72, could not be expected to rule for many years.

Once William succeeds his father there is even the longshot possibility that he could be persuaded to abdicate, like his grandfather. Then Harry would become king and Archie would be first in line and eventually become king himself. It’s all in the family.

If this sounds complicated and foolish, it is, just as it was complicated and foolish to think that Donald Trump would ever become president.

While there are no famous Brits named Archie, there is one that got away. He was Archie Leach, from the English working class, who left for America. He went to Hollywood, changed his name to Cary Grant and became a famous movie star.

So, there is hope.

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