Princess Lilibet’s Intimate Birthday Celebration in Montecito

Princess Lilibet, the younger daughter of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, celebrated her third birthday on June 4th. The party was held at the family’s Montecito mansion and was a private affair, in keeping with the Sussexes’ desire to raise their children out of the public eye.

In an effort to provide Archie, their five-year-old son, and Lilibet with a private upbringing in the United States, Meghan and Harry have一直hosted closed-off birthday celebrations for the Sussex children since relocating to their $14 million California home. It is likely that Lilibet’s second birthday was celebrated with close family members, including Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, who plays an active role in her grandchildren’s lives.

The Sussexes’ neighbors in Montecito include Oprah Winfrey, a close friend of the family who they trusted to guide them through their bombshell interview in 2021, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Orlando Bloom. Tyler Perry, Lilibet’s godfather who offered Meghan and Harry use of his home following their move to the States, may also have been in attendance.

There were, however, no British royals present at the party. Since Meghan and Harry stepped away from their roles as working royals, the Royal Family has not publicly celebrated Archie and Lilibet’s birthdays – as is to be expected under royal protocol. The lack of (public) well-wishes for the Sussex children marks a significant change from years earlier, where Lilibet’s first birthday was celebrated by the Prince and Princess of Wales (then the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) and King Charles III and Queen Camilla (then Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall) on social media.

The Californian Princess turned one during the Sussexes’ return to the UK in 2022, where the royal family gathered to celebrate the Late Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. Harry and Meghan held an ‘intimate picnic’ in the gardens of Frogmore Cottage, with reported attendees including Zara and Mike Tindall’s children, Mia, Lena and Lucas, as well as Savannah and Isla, daughters of the now-separated Peter and Autumn Phillips. Also in attendance were Charlie and Tom van Straubenzee (considered ‘second family’ to the Sussexes) and photographer Misan Harriman, who celebrated the occasion by taking a joyful photo of Lilibet.

Indeed, it was Harriman, a close friend of the couple, who took the official photo of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex when they announced Meghan was pregnant with Lilibet, on Valentine’s Day 2021. Four months later, an official statement was released announcing the birth of the youngest Sussex: ‘It is with great joy that Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, welcome their daughter, Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, to the world.’ The statement continued, revealing the touching meaning behind Harry and Meghan’s choice of name for their daughter: ‘Lili is named after her great-grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, whose family nickname is Lilibet. Her middle name, Diana, was chosen to honor her beloved late grandmother, The Princess of Wales.’

Prince Harry spoke movingly of the similarities between his youngest daughter and her namesake – his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. ‘I see a lot of my wife in Archie and I see a lot of my mum in Lili,’ said the Duke of Sussex in his Netflix documentary Harry & Meghan. ‘She’s very Spencer-like. She’s got the same blue eyes.’

The documentary provided some heartwarming family footage of the young Princess Lilibet, including a touching video of her first steps. Lilibet inherited the HRH title, alongside brother Prince Archie, after King Charles’ accession to the throne. Her parents first referred to her as ‘Princess Lilibet Diana’ in a statement celebrating her christening on 3 March 2023. By christening Lilibet at the age of 21 months, Meghan and Harry broke from royal tradition, which seems to dictate that royal babies be christened in the royal gown a few months after their birth.

On Meghan Markle’s recent trip to Nigeria, the Duchess of Sussex shared some adorable details about how quickly the young royals were growing up. While meeting with school children in Abuja, the Duchess revealed that Lilibet’s ‘favorite class’ was ‘singing and dancing’, and that Lilibet’s older brother, Archie, was turning his hand to robotics classes at school. Speaking at an event on 12 May (Mothers’ Day in the US), Meghan opened up about the difficulties of raising children while undergoing a taxing schedule of travel: ‘we are missing our children,’ she told crowds, ‘I’m missing my babies.’

Now, as the Sussexes reunite among the idyllic vistas of their California home, no doubt they are celebrating Lilibet’s third birthday with a warmth to match the Montecito sun.

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