Category: prince names
Yesterday we came up with our suggestions for the name of the first baby daughter of Prince William and his bride. With the variety of girl name possibilities, it was relatively easy—almost an embarrassment of riches—but with the boys, there’s a far less fertile field, especially if we stick within our strict confines of names used in British royal history. (Thank goodness for all those middle names!)
Most of the kings’ and princes’ names were repeated over and over again–Edward (William’s uncle), Charles (Wills’ father), George (numerous ancestors), Albert, Arthur John, and the name William itself.
But of course, whatever name they choose, kings oftendo take a different name to rule by than their given first name. As seen in The King‘s Speech, William‘s great grandfather George VI had been Prince Albert (Bertie) before he was crowned, with George being his third middle name.
That said, we were able to unearth a few more unusual boy choices, all of which stay within the royal lines:
Augustus—Augustus was the middle name of George II, father of Amelia. An imposing Latin name of the type bolder parents on both sides of the Atlantic are now daring to reconsider, Augustus can easily be unbuttoned with the friendly nicknames Augie or Gus.
Christian—A middle name of Prince Albert, son of Edward VII, Christian is currently a Top 25 name in the US, with many parents choosing it over the long-running Christopher. Once considered too pious for most people’s tastes, its image has changed partly due to such actors as Christian Bale and Christian Slater and fashion gods Christian Dior and Christian Louboutin.
Nameberry guest blogger Andrea, whom many of you may know for her intelligent and thoughtful advice on our message boards, is both a newspaper reporter and a royal watcher. Here, her rundown of the names of the littlest princes and princesses of Europe.
The British royal family is traditional enough that it’s fairly easy to make an educated guess about its naming habits. Other European royals are far more creative in their naming, sometimes reflecting the current styles in their countries or setting styles themselves. The Crown Prince and Princess of the Netherlands gave all three of their daughters “A” names: Princesses Catharina-Amalia (called Amalia), Alexia, and Ariane. (That’s them with their parents on the right.)
Belgian Crown Prince Prince Philippe, the Duke of Brabant, and his wife Princess Mathilde, reportedly have a subtler theme in the naming of their children and have included the element “el” in each name. The children are Princess Élisabeth, born in 2001, and her younger siblings Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel, and Princess Eléonore.
Young Princess Eléonore is one of several young European royals with variants of the name Eleanor. Spain has the Infanta Leonor, born in 2005, whose parents pored over the family tree to find the name, which honors a medieval queen. Royal watchers also tried to guess what name the new Spanish infanta would receive; none I saw got it right. The following year another royal baby was given the name in the Netherlands: the Countess Leonore, daughter of Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien. Will all the Leonors set off a naming trend in other countries? Well, according to at least one newspaper article, Leonor is currently among the five most common names given to baby girls in Portugal.
My mother had a collection of hardback books, a mix of factual and fiction, which as a child I had a particular fondness for and would sit with for hours on a rainy day. The thing that drew me to them was the aesthetic pleasure of a dusty old classic with a plain cover, usually in faded red. They spoke to me of simpler times, when books were appreciated and valued. Among this collection was a particular favourite, a History of the Kings and Queens of Britain.
It wasn’t an extensive study by any means but still, I found my love of names coming to the fore and would pour over the family timelines whenever I got the chance. Sophia Dorothea was an early favourite.
Whilst honouring relatives or ancestors seemed to be the norm in the choice of royal names, there was some variety. Political allegiances were made easy to follow. French ties appeared, particularly in the Scottish royal family, with Marie and Louis showing up (Although is that any surprise with the number of King Louis’ who ended up on the French throne?) Francois and Ferdinand married in and names like Augustus and Octavius hinted at links with the German throne. And if Olga didn’t make it clear that Russia had a foot in the British royal family then I don’t know what would.
And what of these lesser known royal names? Those who weren’t born royal but married in. Those who came from foreign countries, bringing their own exotic monikers with them. Those who were popular hundreds of years ago but for some reason or other fell out of favour. Well, that’s what we’re about to find out.
This list dates back just over 1000 years, to 996 AD, and collects some of the most interesting, unusual and unexpected names in the British family tree. They run in rough chronological order of their first appearance and I even compiled a little section for the Scottish throne, that includes names which either showed up there first, most prominently or in some cases only.
You may be surprised by what you find (and the few history lessons sprinkled throughout). There areeven a few nameberry favourites lurking in here.
MATILDA – The Empress Matilda is the highest ranking example and after her the name seems to disappear until George III’s sister, Caroline Matilda, is born in the 18th century. That’s Matilda pictured.
As reported in the not always reliable Star magazine, Nicole Richie, mother of Harlow Winter Kate, has at the top of her list of names for her baby-to-be Baron, inspired by Donald Trump’s little Barron. (Her other two published possibilities being Kypher and Martavious, about which I’ll restrain my comments). This is the latest evidence of a disturbing trendlet among celebs–Hollywood royalty taking their status literally and bestowing noble titles on their offspring.
So who are these little peers and peeresses of the realm?
At the top of the ranks would be King. Discounting Kingston Rossdale, whose nickname might be King, there is the son of rapper Jayceon (The Game) Taylor. Since The Game’s other nicknames include The California King and King of the West, what could be more logical than to have named his second son King Justice?
Next in line to the throne would be a Prince. Michael Jackson liked the idea of starting a royal line so much that he named both his sons Prince Michael Jackson–I born in 1997 and II (aka Blanket) in 2002. Not to be outdone, British model Katie Price (aka Jordan) and pop star husband Peter Andre called their little princess Princess (“Princess because she is our little princess”) Tiaamii, with Mum expressing ing her intention of commemorating the regal birth by getting a Princess and crown tattoo on her neck.
Both Diane Keaton and Justine Bateman have sons named Duke, but somehow this name doesn’t project the same air of entitlement or pretension to royalty the others do, probably because Duke has long been used as a laid-back nickname name, and because it was so much associated with anything-but-aristocratic John Wayne–who got his nickname from the family dog that used to follow him around: the dog was known as “Big Duke” and young Marion Morrison as “Little Duke.”
Though the British don’t have the rank of Count (it’s equivalent to an earl, and somehow My Name is Earl doesn’t have much of a royal ring)–show biz does. Never one to hide his light under a bushel, Danny Bonaduce has a son named Count Dante Jean-Michel Valentine and a daughter called Countess Isabella Michaela.
How much have other parents been picking up on this noble-name trend? Well, King, Prince, Princess, Baron, and three different spellings of Marquis are all on the current popularity list, but pretty near the bottom, each with under 500 anointed babies nationwide. And, personally–it would be fine with me if they didn’t rise any higher.
There are a handful of appealing names that mean “prince.” Brendan is Irish, Mael is Breton, while Vladimir is Slavic for “renowned prince.” Armel, the name of a Welsh saint who founded abbeys in Brittany, means “stone prince” in French, while Adhit is an Indonesian name with that meaning.
Prince itself is of course also a name, chosen by Michael Jackson for his son — though if you choose it, you’d have to put up with an awful lot of “formerly known as” jokes. Better bets: King, Duke, or maybe even Earl.
Fictional princes who might prove inspirational include:
Moses – Biblical baby raised as a prince.