Fact Check: Meghan Markle's Mother Did NOT Announce Lilibet Has Down Syndrome -- And Photos With Claim Are Not Lilibet

Fact Check

  • by: Courtney Kealy
Fact Check: Meghan Markle's Mother Did NOT Announce Lilibet Has Down Syndrome -- And Photos With Claim Are Not Lilibet Not Lilibet

Did Meghan Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, announce that her granddaughter Lilibet, the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, most commonly referred to as Harry and Meghan, has Down syndrome? No, she didn't. Plus the pictures used to illustrate the claim are not of Lilibet, they are photos of other children.

The claim originated in this November 7, 2021, Facebook post (archived here) under the title "Minutes ago!" The video has the headline:

Mom Doria to break the fact that Poor Lilibet Diana has Down Syndrome Trisomy 21

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2022-01-12 at 1.58.06 PM.png

Facebook screenshot(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Jan 12 18:47:34 2022 UTC)

The still photos and narration in the video do not mention Down syndrome after the headline.

The voiceover is mainly taken from quotes from a Salon interview with Andrew Morton, author of "Meghan and the Unmaking of the Monarchy" and "Diana: Her True Story - in Her Own Words."

In the interview, Morton says, "I think what people haven't really taken on board is that Lilibet is going to be the first-ever American princess. Archie was born in the U.K. There's some debate about whether she's going to be christened in the U.S. or the U.K. If she's christened in the U.S., then I think America will embrace her as an American princess."

None of the following photos shown in the video are of Lilibet.

This one is of a child in an ad on the website Etsy for a christening dress.

Image 1-10-22 at 4.02 PM.jpeg

(Source: Etsy.com screenshot taken on Mon Jan 10 21:02 2022 UTC)

This photo of a baby and toddler is not of Lilibet and her older brother, Archie. It's a Shutterstock image:

Image 1-10-22 at 4.09 PM.jpeg

(Source: Shutterstock.com screenshot taken on Mon Jan 10 21:09 2022 UTC)

This is another Shuttterstock image of a newborn baby with a funny expression, which is not Lilibet:

Image 1-10-22 at 4.16 PM.jpeg

(Source: Shutterstock.com screenshot taken on Mon Jan 10 21:11 2022 UTC)

These two images are of Prince Charles, the royal prince of Luxembourg. One as an infant.

Image 1-10-22 at 4.11 PM.jpeg

(Source: hellomagazine.com screenshot taken on Wed Jan 10 21:09 2022 UTC)

And one slightly older.

Image 1-10-22 at 4.13 PM.jpeg

(Source: DailyMail.com.uk screenshot taken on Wed Jan 10 21:13 2022 UTC)

At the time this was written there was only one public photo of Lilibet.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex issued the first photograph of their daughter Lilibet on their family holiday card on December 23, 2021, via email from the Archewell charity they co-founded in 2020.

The image shows Meghan lifting up Lilibet in a white dress seated alongside Harry, who has 2-year-old Archie in his lap. The email highlights seven U.S.-based organizations that help families.

Screen Shot 2022-01-12 at 10.19.55 AM.png

(Source: Instagram.com screenshot taken on Tues Jan 12 14:55 2022 UTC)

Several news organizations published the holiday card from the email including the BBC.

The photo was shared on Twitter by the charity Team Rubicon, one of the organizations the couple supports.

The photographer also posted the photo on his Instagram @alexilubomirski. His account has a blue check that shows it is verified by Instagram. He posted the photo along with this comment "This is one of those rare and special projects, that one is fortunate enough to be a part of."

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  Courtney Kealy

Courtney Kealy is a writer and fact-checker at Lead Stories. A graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism, she specializes in national and foreign affairs with more than two decades experience in the Middle East. Her work has appeared on FOX News, AlJazeera America, ABC News, the New York Times, Marie Claire, Time and Newsweek.

Read more about or contact Courtney Kealy

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