Royal Baby Names
Why Choose a Baby Name with Royal Connections?
If you're expecting a baby and are having trouble settling on a name, you could consider going with a "royal" baby name. There are certain regal names that recur in the royal houses of Europe that suggest tradition, respectability and grandeur. These names are instantly recognisable, so your child won't suffer the embarrassment of teachers forever stumbling over his/her name at registration time or get bored of continually being asked to spell it out.
British Royal Names for Boys
There have been kings and princes in England, Scotland and Wales for thousands of years. Fashions change, but a surprising number of the names favoured by royalty don't. Some fall dormant for a while but resurface a few centuries later.
Albert - Queen Victoria married her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Their eldest son was also named Albert (Bertie) though he reigned as Edward VII . He in turn named his eldest boy Albert, though the notorious Duke of Clarence was never to be king, dying before both his father and grandmother. George VI (the present Queen's father) was also christened Albert, being born on the anniversary of his great-grandfather's death.
Alfred - Alfred the Great was the King of Wessex from 871-899. Despite being a legendary kind, he remains the only British king to bear the name. Queen Victoria named her second son Alfred; he became the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Arthur - King Arthur may have been only a legend, but England did nearly have a King Arthur. Henry VII's eldest son was Arthur, who was married to a young Catherine of Aragon. Arthur died when he was only 15 and his younger brother Henry took over both his position as Prince of Wales and later as Catherine's husband.
Queen Victoria revived the name, naming one of her sons Arthur. More recently, Arthur has been added to the strings of names given to royal princes; the current Prince of Wales, for example, is Charles Philip Arthur George. Prince Charles' first cousin, Sarah Chatto (Princess Margaret's daughter) named her son Arthur.
Charles - Two monarchs and at least one bonny prince have borne the name Charles. Charles I famously lost his throne and his head, whilst his son Charles II is known as the Merry Monarch. The Young Pretender, the grandson of Charles II's brother James II, is commonly known as Bonnie Prince Charlie. The present heir to the throne is Prince Charles. Should be become king he may reign as Charles III, although there have been suggestions that he would take the name George.
David - David I, King of the Scots, made many changes to the way Scotland was governed in the mid-12th century and around a hundred years later David II further strengthened the kingdom. In recent times, Edward VIII was always known as David to his family.
Edward - There have been eight kings of England (later the United Kingdom) to have the name Edward, ranging from the ruthless first Edward, through the unlucky Edward V (one of the unfortunate "Princes in the Tower), to the flighty Edward VIII. The Queen's youngest son is Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
George - The House of Hanover loved the name George. For more than a hundred years, Great Britain had a King George on the throne - there were four of them in a row. In the early twentieth century George V succeeded Edward VII and, after Edward VIII ran off with Mrs Simpson, George VI came to the throne.
Henry - Henry, along with Edward, has proved to the most popular of names for British kings. They have ranged from the William the Conqueror's scholarly (but spectacularly lecherous) son Henry I to the larger than life Henry VIII.
James - The Scottish had kings named James stretching back to the mid fourteenth century. On the death of Elizabeth I, her cousin King James VI of Scotland became England's James I. James II was England's last Roman Catholic monarch and was deposed by his son-in-law.
Richard - Three Richards have been King of England. The first was the Lionheart, the second was perhaps slightly mad and the third was demonised as the hump-back wicked uncle who killed the Princes in the Tower. The name is still used occasionally in the Royal family; Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, is the Queen's youngest cousin.
William - there have been four kings named William. The first arrived in England in 1066 and is known as the Conqueror. One of his sons also bore the name, William II, also known as William Rufus. You have to skip forward around five and a half centuries for the next William; he married James II's daughter and took his father-in-law's crown. Finally, William IV broke up the tedium of the Hanoverian Georges, succeeding his brother George IV.
There could be another King William this century; Prince William (Arthur Philip Louis) is second in line to the throne. He is named for Prince William of Gloucester, the Queen's cousin, who was killed in an aircraft accident in 1972. Prince Charles was particularly fond of Prince William, so named his first son for him.
What Name for the New Royal Baby?
As soon as news emerged that William and Kate were expecting a baby, odds were laid on names. William Hill are giving odds of:
10/1 on Elizabeth, Victoria and George
14/1 on Anne, Charles, Diana, Frances, John, Philip, Louis and Richard
1000/1 on Chardonnay and Waynetta
Nine Royal Names for Boys
European Royal Names for Boys
Popular names in the royal houses of Europe include:
Llywelyn Fawr, Llywelyn the Great
William and Kate's Baby Name
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have gone for George Alexander Louis. George gives a nod to the Queen's beloved father, George VI, whilst Louis is a Royal family favourite through the Queen's late cousin (and favourite with Prince Charles) Lord Louis Mountbatten. Alexander has a Scottish twist - perhaps a reference the country where the couple met.
European Royal Names for Girls
Anna (Russia etc)
Cristina/Christina (Denmark/Germany/Netherlands/Spain etc)
Isabella (Denmark/Spain etc)
Marie/Maria (Russia/Denmark/France/Spain etc)
Marina (Greece/Denmark/UK etc)
Sophia/Sofia (Denmark/Prussia/Spain etc)
Princess Alice of Battenberg
British Royal Names for Girls
Perhaps even more than the male names, female royal names go in cycles. There were times when there were a confusing number of Eleanors and Isabellas or Marys and Margarets in the royal household. Indeed, the producers of the TV show The Tudors made some changes to the names of the Tudor ladies lest the audience became confused.
Currently, the Royal family seem fond of the names used in Queen Victoria's reign.
Alexandra - Edward VII married the beautiful Danish princess Alexandra (Alix) in 1863. Her name has been popular in the Royal family ever since. Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, is the Queen's first cousin.
Alice - Britain has never had a queen named Alice, but there have been a great number of princesses and royal duchesses named Alice. Queen Victoria named her third daughter Alice. Prince Philip's mother, herself a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, was named Alice too.
Anne - there have been a number of queen consorts named Anne, plus one queen regnant. Henry VIII married two Annes: Anne Boleyn and Anne of Cleves. Anne of Bohemia was the popular consort of the Richard II, interceding on behalf of people in the Peasant's Revolt.
Princess Anne is the Queen's eldest daughter.
Beatrice - Henry III and Eleanor of Provence had a daughter named Beatrice who married the Duke of Brittany. The next Princess Beatrice was Queen Victoria's youngest daughter, whom the Queen called Baby for most of her life. Presently in the Royal family, Princess Beatrice of York is one of the Queen's granddaughters.
Catherine/Katherine - Catherine reached a zenith of popularity during the Tudor dynasty, Henry VIII marrying three of them. Prince William recently married Catherine Middleton, who became Duchess of Cambridge on her marriage.
Eleanor - Eleanor was particularly popular as a royal name in the Middle Ages. Eleanor of Aquitaine was perhaps the most fearsome and accomplished queen consort, married firstly to the King of France and then to Henry II. She was mother to Richard the Lionheart and King John.
Elizabeth - An enduring royal name. Elizabeth I is one of England's most celebrated monarchs and the name has been used right through to the present Queen.
Eugenie - The daughter of Queen Victoria's beloved "Baby" Beatrice, was named Victoria Eugenie. She became queen consort of Spain and was the grandmother of the present King of Spain. Princess Eugenie of York is one of Queen Elizabeth II's granddaughters.
Helen/Helena - Princess Helena was Victoria's third daughter, a patron of the arts and a founder member of the Red Cross. Lady Helen Taylor is a minor member of the Royal family, a great-granddaughter of George V.
Louise - Another of Victoria's daughters was Louise. Her brother Edward VII also named his eldest daughter Louise and it is the name of Prince Edward's daugther, Lady Louise Windsor.
Matilda - Hugely popular for a century or so due to Queen Matilda, the wife of William the Conqueror.
Margaret - Popular in both England and Wales, there have been numerous queen consorts and princesses named Margaret. The Queen's sister was named Margaret Rose.
Mary - Like Margaret, Mary has proved popular with the Royal family on both sides of the border. Mary, Queen of Scots, Bloody Mary and Mary II were all queens in their own right and there have been a number of queen consorts and princesses who have borne the name.
Victoria - Queen Victoria (actually christened Alexandrina Victoria) popularised the name Victoria in Britain. She was named after her mother, a German princess who married into the British Royal family. The Queen named one of her own daughters Victoria and the name was carried on through the family.