A Short History On Where Royal Names Came From

Prince Louis of Cambridge

When the third child of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge was born on April 23, there was speculation on what his name would be.

When it was finally revealed that the young royal would be known as Prince Louis Arthur Charles of Cambridge, historians and armchair historians came out with articles and posts of who the young bairn was named after. More about Prince Louis later.

In one of my visits back home I chanced upon our dog-eared copy of baby names. The thin book is over thirty years old. My dad bought it before my youngest brother was born.

Choosing names for your children is an important task. They would be using it forever. You can't change it unlike in the United States of America where you can alter your name if you want to.

Studying on how the British Royal Family selects their children's names, you'll clearly see a pattern. From the time of Queen Victoria up to Queen Elizabeth II, you'll see smatterings of Alberts, Victorias, Alices, Arthurs, and Georges.

Tradition dictates that royal babies be named after their parents, godparents or even Patron Saints. And it has been a practice for them to have multiple names.

Not everyone knows that Queen Victoria has another name, Alexandrina, which came from her godfather Tsar Alexander I. She was also named after her mother, Victoria, Duchess of Kent.

Victoria and Albert Edward

Her son, the future Edward VII, was christened Albert Edward after his father, the Prince Consort, and grandfather Edward, Duke of Kent.

Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, the third son of Queen Victoria would play a pivotal role in the naming of the future kings of the United Kingdom. He would be a godfather to George VI and George's daughter, Elizabeth II.

Queen Victoria named her son, Arthur, not after the mythical king of Camelot but in honor of the Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, the celebrated Military Hero and Prime Minister.

The name George is a symbol of the Hanoverian kings who became the first kings of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. It is also the name of the patron saint of England, St. George.

When George VI was born on December 14, 1895, it was a bit ominous since he was born on the death anniversary of his great-grandfather, Prince Albert. He will be baptized as Albert Frederick Arthur George.

Queen Elizabeth II and her mother

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary who was born on April 21, 1926, was named after her mother (Queen Consort of George VI), grandmother (Queen Mary, George V's wife), and great-grandmother (Queen Alexandra, consort to Edward VII).

Charles Philip Arthur George, who is a king in waiting, was born on November 14, 1948. He is clearly named after his father and grandfather.

When it was his turn to name his first-born son, Charles gave William two of his names (William Arthur Philip Louis) plus a homage to his Mountbatten heritage. He considered Louis, Earl of Mountbatten, an honorary grandfather. Lord Mountbatten was the younger brother of Prince Philip's mother, Alice.

Lord Mountbatten, who was also a great-grandson of Queen Victoria, was instrumental in introducing Prince Philip to the young Princess Elizabeth. He also served as a mentor to Prince Charles.

Prince George Alexander Louis shows the connection between his Windsor and Mountbatten families as well. Louis Alexander, the 1st Marquess of Milford Haven was the patriarch of the Mountbatten family. He was the father of Lord Mountbatten and grandfather to Prince Philip.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte

It seems that Prince William loves recognizing his Hanoverian ancestors. His daughter, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, carries a first name that can be traced to Princess Charlotte of Wales who in turn was named after her grandmother Queen Charlotte, wife of George III. And of course, she was also named after the Queen and her beloved grandmother, Diana.

Finally, we go back to the young Prince Louis. It is not unusual for the British Royals to have siblings who have the same name. He carries both his grandfather's and father's names as well.

Tradition still carries a lot of weight when it comes to Royal names. But as that famous Shakespeare quote in Rome and Juliet goes, "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet".

Love Royal History? Click here for suggestions and references. 

For more of my posts on the British Monarchy, you can find articles on this link.


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