Archie is symbol of new multiracial Britain says artist at Palace

The Duke of Sussex receives a gift for his new son, Archie, from Princess Margriet of the Netherlands
The Duke of Sussex receives a gift for his new son, Archie, from Princess Margriet of the Netherlands
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The Duke of Sussex strode out in a shirt bearing the legend, “I am daddy” as he interrupted his paternity leave to resume his Royal duties yesterday.

He was glad, he told a former soldier, that the arrival of his son, Archie, appeared to have “made a lot of people happy”.

Yinka Shonibare holds his CBE for services to art following an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace

Yinka Shonibare holds his CBE for services to art following an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace

Harry was on a visit to The Hague in Holland, to begin the one-year countdown to the next staging of his Invictus Games for sick and wounded service personnel and veterans.

“He talked about how having a small child was his new focus and new goal,” said Dennis van der Stroon, 31, who hopes to compete in the in track and field and sitting volleyball events.

“Above all he said he was just amazed by the miracles in the world, and how his child has made a lot of people happy.”

Back at Buckingham Palace, no-one appeared more happy than Yinka Shonibare, one of the country’s foremost contemporary artists, who was there to receive a CBE from Harry’s brother, the Duke of Cambridge.

Mr Shonibare, whose work explores themes of race and class, and who has exhibited at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, said Archie’s his mixed-race heritage made him a symbol of Britain’s multicultural society.

“It’s good to know that finally we are treated as equals and everyone should be celebrated, so I think this is a natural progression for the next generation to be properly part of British society,” said Mr Shonibare, who added that his Nigerian parents “unfortunately had a very difficult time in Britain” when they arrived among the first wave of “Windrush” immigrants .

“I think the new baby is an expression of contemporary Britain – we’re a multicultural society and this is a reflection of that,” he said.

Mr Shonibare is best known for Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, which appeared on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square in 2010.

The model of HMS Victory featured 37 large sails made of the richly patterned textiles associated with African dress, and appeared after an earlier exhibition of cloth sculptures in the sculpture park at Wakefield in 2013.

Meanwhile, in Holland, Harry described fatherhood as “amazing” but “hard work”.

His friend, former Royal Marine and Invictus Games medallist JJ Chalmers, said Harry had revealed in his speech that Archie “had slept for the first 24 hours like all babies do – and then he woke up”.

Mr Chalmers, who has known the Duke since the first Games in 2014, said: “I see the guy with a buzzing smile on his face still.

“Like any father he lights up even more when he speaks about his son and how proud he is of his wife and what she’s doing right now in his absence.”

He said it was “remarkable” the Duke had attended the launch just days after the birth.

“In some ways it shows you just how much it means to him, to drag himself away, because I know what it’s like being a young father – you don’t want to leave and if he had the choice he would be at home,” Mr Chalmers said.

After the short speech in which he also praised the determination and courage of the competitors, the Duke was presented by Princess Margriet of the Netherlands with an Invictus Games baby sleepsuit, which he modelled by holding it against himself.

Wellwishers gathered to greet the new father as he arrived at the Sportscampus in Zuiderpark, some with more gifts. He posed for pictures with competitors before leaving to head home.