Prince Harry, Meghan Markle attack BBC's Queen, Lilibet name claim as 'false, defamatory'

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's newborn baby is at the centre of the latest royal scandal, with a report suggesting the royal renegades never asked the Queen for permission to name the child after her.

But lawyers for the pair, who left the United Kingdom and their royal duties last January, insist they did seek the Queen's approval and that claims otherwise are "false and defamatory".

The BBC's Royal Correspondent Jonny Dymond this week published an article reporting that a palace source said Queen Elizabeth II was not asked by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex about naming their newborn Lilibet, the monarch's pet name. 

Dymond reportedly later said on the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme that it was a "good palace source" who was "absolutely adamant" the pair hadn't sought the Queen's approval. 

In response to the report, a spokesperson for Harry and Meghan said the Queen had been the first person the Duke had called in advance of the announcement. 

"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," the spokesperson said.

British media now report that a letter has been sent to some media outlets from law firm Schillings, which acts for Harry and Meghan, claiming the BBC's report was "false and defamatory" and that it shouldn't be repeated. 

Despite that, Dymond's article continues to include his source's claim, but has been amended to include Harry and Meghan's statement. 

Omid Scobie, who wrote a biography of a couple, tweeted "those close to Prince Harry confirm that he spoke to close family before the announcement". 

"Perhaps this report highlights just how far removed aides within the institution (who learned of the baby news alongside the rest of the world) now are from the Sussexes’ private matters."

The Sun reports that Buckingham Palace officials were kept out of the loop about the announcement of the baby's birth on Monday (NZT). It took the Royal Family social media accounts more than an hour-and-a-half to release a statement congratulating the pair. 

The dispute has propelled divisions between the Sussexes and the media back into the spotlight, with tabloids headlining stories as "Harry wages war with BBC". 

The showdown comes just weeks after an investigation into the BBC's Panorama interview with Princess Diana in 1995 found reporter Martin Bashir deceived Diana's brother to get access to his sister. 

Following that, Harry said "the ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices" ultimately took his mother's life.

Over the last few years, both before and after his dramatic stepping down from senior royal duties, Harry has spoken out against media practices and pursued legal action with his wife against some publications. 

In March, the pair sat down with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey to make a series of allegations against the royal family. Meghan said concerns had been raised about their first-born child's skin colour, while Harry accused his father of neglect.