How Prince Harry and Meghan Markle blocked a request to name a new Australian firebombing air tanker after their son Archie
- NSW RFS launched 737 large air tanker called Marie Bashir unveiled last August
- Originally proposed to be called Archie in honour of firstborn of Prince Harry
- Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle ‘politely declined’ NSW government offer
- Firebombing air tanker covered a lot of territory during recent bushfire season
A firebombing air tanker that played a vital role during Australia’s horror bushfire season was almost called Archie before a royal intervention.
The New South Wales government wrote to Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle last year asking if the state’s Rural Fire Service could call their new 737 Large Air Tanker after their son Archie, who turns one next month.
The proposal was in recognition of the couple confirming Meghan’s pregnancy with their firstborn during their Australian tour in late 2018.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry declined a request for a NSW firebombing air tanker to be named after their son Archie (pictured together on a tour of South Africa in September)
The New South Wales government wrote to Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle last year asking if the state’s Rural Fire Service could call their new 737 Large Air Tanker after their son Archie, who turns one next month
In their response, the then-royals thanked the NSW government for the ‘kind offer’ before politely declining the request as their son had ‘not yet entered public life’, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
A NSW RFS spokesman told Daily Mail Australia the official request was made by the office of Emergency Services minister David Elliott.
Officials had hoped Archie could one day visit the plane on a royal tour of his own, but were shocked to be knocked back by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The firefighting plane was eventually named after former NSW Governor Marie Bashir when it was unveiled last August.
The state’s first female governor, who served between 2001–2014, stated at the time of the unveiling she was humbled by the honour.
‘Our emergency service members are world class and I thank them for all they have done and continue to do, protecting the communities of NSW,’ Ms Bashir said.
The 737 Large Air Tanker (pictured in action during the recent bushfires was eventually named Marie Bashir, in honour of NSW’s first female Governor General
NSW is the only Australian state or territory with a permanent ‘737 Fireliner’ large air tanker, which can deliver 15,000 litres of water or retardant, transport 70 firefighters and fly at speeds of up to 850km/h.
‘The new addition to the NSW RFS aerial firefighting fleet will be based at RAAF Base in Richmond and can operate from some regional airports. It will be able to reach all parts of NSW within an hour,’ NSW RFS announced at the time.
The 737 air tanker was put to use within two days of its unveiling near Tenterfield in north-west NSW.
Local state MP Robyn Preston, minister David Elliott, former Marie Bashir, Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers and Britt Coulson at the unveiling of the air tanker last August
The aircraft played an integral role in fighting major fires during the horror bushfire season from the state’s north and mid north coast to the NSW South Coast and as far as the Snowy Mountains region.
The snub by Prince Harry and his wife recently came to light after the couple launched new charity Archewell.
The foundation’s name was inspired by the word ‘Arche’, which is Greek for ‘source of action’ and influenced the name of their firstborn son.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced they were expecting their first child during their 2018 tour of Australia. They’re pictured with son Archie two days after he was born