Royal expatriates Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor and parents Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan of Sussex celebrated his first birthday Wednesday in their Los Angeles quarantine home, thousands of miles from his birthplace and his royal relatives in Britain.
Fans (and even critics) were delighted the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a new video and picture of Archie, who has not been seen in public since his parents' September 2019 tour of southern Africa in September when the couple introduced the squirming cutie to the world while meeting retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
The royal couple released the video of the little tyke in a birthday appearance to promote Save the Children's Save with Stories project. Meghan, reading aloud a picture book titled "Duck! Rabbit!," held baby Archie in her lap, with Harry behind the camera.
The baby laughed as his mom gave an animated reading of the story, showing off a few tiny bottom teeth growing in. His resemblance to Harry is even more pronounced than it was back in September.
"Let's go to the next page. Look, Arch," Meghan said as he attempted to turn the pages backward. "That's the cover, let's go to the next page.
'Wait a second, did you hear that? I heard duck sounds,'" she read. "Quack, quack quack."
Harry could be heard mimicking duck sounds from the other side of the camera. Later, he laughed as his son dropped another book and looked to his dad for help picking it up.
"Yay, the end! Bravo," Harry cheered. Archie, meanwhile, attempted to chew on the board book.
The Sussex media team said in a statement the family is participating in the Save With Stories campaign in the U.S. and the United Kingdom to raise awareness of the urgency of bringing food and learning resources to millions of children affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
About 30 million children rely on school for food, according to the Save With Stories campaign, which urged small donations to support food banks, mobile meal trucks and community feeding programs.
Meanwhile, Archie's royal relatives sent birthday wishes via social media. Prince William and Duchess Kate of Cambridge wished their nephew a "very happy first birthday" Wednesday on Instagram, sharing a photo from his christening last July.
After Archie's Cape Town appearance with Bishop Tutu, the couple posted on Instagram a picture of the prince holding Archie on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, where they were living from Thanksgiving to March.
It was Dec. 31 and cold in Canada, so both were bundled up – Archie was wearing a knit cap with pom poms on the sides.
Harry and Meghan's Los Angeles-based public relations team declined to discuss details of the birthday celebrations for Archie. Given that California is still largely under a shelter-at-home order due to the pandemic, it is unlikely they would have hosted a party for the baby.
Archie was born on May 6, 2019, at Portland Hospital, an American-owned London hospital to which Meghan was rushed in the early hours from Frogmore Cottage, their home on the Windsor Castle estate about 25 miles from London.
The timeline of the day remains somewhat confusing due to mistakes by palace press aides and the couple's determination to avoid the media mob that gathered outside St. Mary's Hospital for the birth of the three children of his brother and sister-in-law, Prince William and Duchess Kate of Cambridge.
Meghan, 38, and the new baby were not seen until two days later, when they posed with Harry, 35, in a grand corridor of Windsor Castle and introduced Archie to his great-grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
The meeting was private but the picture, which included her mother, Doria Ragland, was posted on their Sussexroyal Instagram, now dormant since their move to Los Angeles.
The baby's name was announced later that day. They decided against a title for Archie and his surname, Mountbatten-Windsor, is a tribute to great-grandparents the queen and Prince Philip, whose surname was Mountbatten.
Early in the queen's 68-year-reign, she decided that descendants not in close, direct line to the throne would carry both the Mountbatten name and the Windsor dynasty name. Harry is sixth in line to the throne and Archie is seventh.
Now all three are living in sunny Los Angeles, Meghan's hometown, and the place the couple have chosen to build a new life free from royal constraints and focus on becoming financially independent via new commercial endeavors and partnerships with Hollywood.
They no longer use the HRH part of their titles and can't use the word "royal" in their social media, but they're still members of the royal family. They hope to add making millions to the usual royal portfolio of promoting charities, cutting ribbons and unveiling plaques.
Some traditional royal activities continue: Last week, Meghan posted a video and words of encouragement on the website of one of her London charities, Smart Works, which helps jobless women find employment. And Harry joined the British military in launching a website for serving personnel and veterans that offers online tools and resources promoting good mental health.
It is not clear where Harry and Meghan are living in sprawling Los Angeles, despite conflicting reports about where they might be looking to buy.
But privacy and security will be high on their must-have list. The couple indicated they sought to exit the royal swirl in Britain to escape the intense scrutiny of the British tabloids, with whom they are locked in an increasingly bitter legal and verbal feud over their allegedly invasive tactics.
But Los Angeles is hardly a haven from the media and the paparazzi – for them or any celebrity.
Still, living in L.A. means they are a lot closer to her mother, who also lives there, than when they were while living on Vancouver Island or in Britain.