The royal baby has three names rather than the traditional four as borne by his father and grandfather. And his middle names, Alexander and Louis, while royal, are a surprise as they’re not the names of his father, grandfather, or great-grandfather.
The British public has been rooting for George all along– it has been the consistent top name choice at the betting parlors.
George is the name of more kings of England over the past three centuries than any other name. A Greek name meaning “farmer,” George was the name used as king by Queen Elizabeth’s father, called King George VI but whose given name was Albert. George VII is expected to be the name used by Prince Charles should he ascend the throne. In addition, Saint George is the patron saint of England, known for his legendary defeat of a dragon.
The choice of George fits in with the couple’s practice of doing things a little bit as they’ve always been done and at the same time making them their own. The baby was born at the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital, as was Prince William, but his father was the only one in the delivery room and the royal couple spent four hours alone with their new son before announcing his birth to the world.
George is a Top 100 name in England but less popular in the US, where it’s more closely associated with George Bush, Senior and Junior, than with glamorous George Clooney or playful Curious George. It’s not unlikely that Queen Elizabeth had some influence on the George choice; her father, a reluctant king, acted with great nobility during World War II, refusing to leave the city of London as it was being blitzed. Since George VI was born Albert, this young prince may well take another name when he is crowned, rather than being George VII (or VIII).
Alexander is an imperial name popular throughout the Western World, also of Greek origin and meaning “defending men.” There has never been a British King Alexander (though there were several in Scotland), but there are royal connections via the youngest son of Edward VII and the husband of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Princess Alice.
Louis, the name of Prince Charles’ mentor Louis Mountbatten, is a German and French name meaning “renowned warrior.” It was used most famously by French royalty: no less than 18 kings have taken the name. It is also one of Prince William’s middle names.
And now, since British royalty are famous for using nicknames for their children (Bertie, Lilibet, Wills, Harry), we can wait and see what little George will be called in the family.