The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child in April, and rumour has it that they are going to have a princess, rather than a prince (rumour also said that Prince George was going to be a girl, so don’t get too attached to the notion).
However, suppose Prince George did have a sister rather than a brother, what might her name be? I looked through the names of all those born in the House of Windsor to a monarch, or to an heir to the throne, and found that the names chosen for them tended to follow fairly clear patterns.
In particular, I discovered that all of them were given a royal name; that is, the name of a king, queen, prince, or princess who was either a member of the British monarchy, or a direct relation. Further, I found that most were given names in the Top 100 for their era, and that none of them had a name below the Top 200.
In theory, to find names of potential princesses you have only to cross-reference a list of royal names with the current England/Wales Top 200. By doing so, you get a list which includes some very convincing choices.
There have been several princesses named Elizabeth, five British queens, and one queen of Scotland; of course Elizabeth II is the current monarch, and her mother’s name was Elizabeth too. Elizabeth is also the middle name of the duchess. Current gossip says that Elizabeth is the name that the Duke and Duchess have already chosen for their baby, should they have a girl, and gained permission from the queen. As 2015 is the year that Queen Elizabeth is set to become the longest-reigning monarch in British history, it would seem like the perfect gesture, especially if the baby arrives on Queen Elizabeth’s birthday.
This name was introduced to the royal family by Queen Victoria, and there have been four princesses named Alice. The most recent was an aunt of Queen Elizabeth, who reached the greatest age yet in the British royal family, passing away at the age of 102. Another was Alice of Battenberg, a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria who married into the Greek royal family, and became the mother of Prince Philip. Alice is one of Princess Anne’s middle names, and it is also a prominent name in the Spencer family. And don’t George and Alice sound adorable together? No wonder this has become a fan favourite.
This only became a British royal name with the accession of the teenaged Alexandrina, who used her middle name to rule as Queen Victoria. The last of the Hanoverians, the longest-reigning British monarch so far, and a powerful symbol of the British Empire, Victoria is an eminently suitable royal name which has been handed down to seven princesses – Queen Victoria’s mother was another Princess Victoria. In fact, Alice of Battenberg’s first name was Victoria, making this another possibility to honour the mother of Prince Philip. A popular choice with the bookies, Victoria is said to be one of Catherine’s favourite names. The timing is perhaps not as good as for Elizabeth, with the queen set to overtake Queen Victoria’s record reign next year.
This name was introduced to English royalty by Eleanor of Aquitaine, a wealthy, powerful French duchess who married Henry II, and was the mother of two kings – Richard I, and King John. Other medieval Eleanors married English kings, and the name was handed down to multiple princesses. This seems a very suitable name for a princess; elegant and restrained with an impeccable royal pedigree. It’s the name of one of Prince William’s Spencer cousins, which isn’t necessarily a drawback – all three of Prince George’s names are shared with Spencer cousins.
There have been two British princesses named Amelia – one a daughter of George II, and the other a daughter of George III. The latter Amelia (called Emily) was beautiful and charming, but unfortunately she died of measles, and her death devastated the royal family, helping to precipitate her father into madness. There is an Amelia in the Windsor family, a grand-daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, and one in the Spencer family as well, a cousin of Princes William and Harry. There is no historical reason a #1 name would be rejected (the queen’s sister Princess Margaret had the #1 name of her era), and Amelia seems in with a chance.
This is a truly royal name, because Sophia of Hanover was the mother of King George I, and to be in the line of succession to the British throne, you must be her direct descendant. There has been a British queen named Sophia, and three princesses, with the most recent being born in the 18th century. Sophia has been used as a middle name in the royal family fairly often, although I think George and Sophia as royal siblings are a bit much.
Queen Charlotte was the wife of George III, and there have been two Princess Charlottes in the British royal family named after her. The last one was Princess Charlotte of Wales, who died young in childbirth, deeply mourned by the public, who had hoped she would one day be queen. Although not used for a princess since, Charlotte is in use as a middle name in the current royal family. Charles Spencer, brother to Diana, Princess of Wales, has a very young daughter named Charlotte Diana, so a bit awkward to use the name Charlotte, as the Duke and Duchess have indicated they also want Diana as their daughter’s middle name. I think this name is much less likely than some pundits are predicting.
This is an abridged version of an article published at Anna‘s name blog, Waltzing More Than Matilda. Waltzing More Than Matilda looks at names from an Australian perspective, and Australian history and culture through its names.
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