Wednesday 9 June 2021 2:26 pm

Harry and Meghan accuse BBC of libel over Lilibet name claims

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have issued legal warnings against the BBC over a report that claimed the couple had not asked the Queen’s permission before naming their baby Lilibet.

The corporation’s royal correspondent cited a Palace source saying the monarch was “never asked” about the use of her childhood nickname.

But the couple hit back at the report, insisting they had sought permission and accusing the BBC of libel.

“The article is false and defamatory and the allegations within it should not be repeated,” lawyers for the pair said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Harry and Meghan said the duke had spoken to the Queen in advance, adding they would not have chosen the name if she had not approved.

 “The duke spoke with his family in advance of the announcement – in fact, his grandmother was the first family member he called,” the spokesperson said.

“During that conversation, he shared their hope of naming their daughter Lilibet in her honour. Had she not been supportive, they would not have used the name.”

Harry and Meghan announced on Sunday that their newborn daughter and second child would be named Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.

The briefing war is the latest sign of a rift within the household after the couple announced last year that they would step back from royal duties.

Tensions reached boiling point following an interview with Oprah Winfrey in March, during which the pair, who now live in California, said they had suffered racism within the royal family.

The legal threat also represents the latest clash between the duke and duchess and the British media.

In March the Mail on Sunday was ordered to print a front-page statement after losing a privacy case against Meghan over the publication of private letters.

It came after Harry won “substantial damages” and an apology from the same newspaper over an article that claimed he had turned his back on the military after stepping down as a senior royal.

The pair last year said they would no longer engage with the Mail, alongside tabloid rivals the Sun, Mirror and Express, accusing them of false and invasive coverage.