Prince William and Kate Middleton joined the British royal family on Thursday in wishing young Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor a happy birthday. The youngster, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first child turned 2, though his aunt and uncle’s post marking the occasion proved to be controversial.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who themselves are parents to three youngsters – Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, took to both Twitter and Instagram on Archie's big day to send their warmest regards to the seventh in line to the throne. To celebrate, the couple shared a family photo from after Archie's christening service, which took place back in the summer of 2019, just shortly after Archie’s May 6 birth. The couple provided the photo, which shows them posing alongside the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their young son, alongside a message reading, "Wishing Archie a very happy 2nd birthday today."
Wishing Archie a very happy 2nd birthday today. 🎈🎂
📷 Chris Allerton pic.twitter.com/7XMXIKs1Qv— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) May 6, 2021
Although the post was meant to be a celebratory message, it did not go over well with some royal fans, who took issue with the fact that the couple opted to mark the occasion with the same photo they used to celebrate Archie's first birthday. Replying to the photo on Instagram, one person pointed out, "same exact photo as last year's birthday post" and said they "think it's a statement" amid the royal drama that followed Harry and Markle's interview with Oprah Winfrey in March. Another person said it is "such a shame they've no other pictures of him with the families and his cousins," with another person adding, "says a lot when you don't have a newer candid picture of your nephew to post on his birthday." Replying to the Twitter post, one royal fan wrote, "very polite of them, but weird that all the royals are using christening photos, and the kid is 2. They really have no others with Archie, do they? So, they all met him a grand total of once," with another person asking, "isn't there a more recent picture?"
While the Cambridges did not respond to any of the negative comments, the choice of photos likely came down to limited options, as the royal family has not seen Archie in person since her and his parents made the move to the United States last year amid Harry and Markle's decision to step down as working royals. While Harry did recently return to the U.K. since settling down in California, Archie was not with him, nor was Markle, who remained home under her doctors' recommendation as she is currently pregnant with a baby girl. Royal fans did get a new photo of little Archie, though, with his parents sharing a new image of their toddler playing with balloons in their backyard.