British Princess Names
What are the leading British princess names, should the next royal baby be a girl?
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 British princess 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 British 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 top British baby names. 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.
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on March 10th, 2015 at 10:55 pm
George and Charlotte and George and Alice would be darling. However, my favorite is Eleanor! I love Eleanor of Aquitaine and think she would make a strong namesake. Plus, Georgie and Nellie? So cute!!
on March 10th, 2015 at 11:15 pm
I think they’re having another boy, but if it’s a girl, I’m thinking Alice. Alice Elizabeth Diana. From a name nerd perspective, George and Alice make such a darling sibset, and I can see Alice being their style.
on March 11th, 2015 at 1:07 am
I really would love for her name to be “Her Royal Highness Elizabeth Victoria Diana Princess of Cambridge”. I think another Elizabeth would be perfectly fine. Though if I could choose any name for the soon-to-be-born princess it would be Alexandra which means “leader of men”, but seeing as how George’s middle name is Alexander, Alexandra is no longer an option. I do love the name Mary though, which is one of Queen Elizabeth’s middle names. Mary Charlotte Diana, a more understated way to honor Queen Elizabeth II. “Her Royal Highness Mary Charlotte Diana Princess of Cambridge” George and Mary, a cute sib set.
on March 11th, 2015 at 7:59 am
I really hope that they use Alice, but, I don’t want it to get too popular! My favorite is Alice Elizabeth Mary.
on March 11th, 2015 at 8:01 am
Hmm, I really wanted Adelaide or Augusta, but I guess they are not top 200 names in Britain…
on March 11th, 2015 at 1:49 pm
I remember reading that Eleanor was Diana’s top pick if either of her sons had been daughters. Perhaps that would factor in for William and Kate? Honestly they don’t seem like name nerds exactly (sadly) so I imagine family influence will be paramount. And William did give his mother’s ring to Kate.
I think Charlotte’s definitely out as Charles is still a source of controversy for the family.
I would also put a guess towards Mary possibly being in the running. Mostly for its Scotland connection.
Nymphalis antiopa Said
on March 11th, 2015 at 4:02 pm
Of the ones listed, I adore Alice, especially in a sibset with George.
on March 11th, 2015 at 6:54 pm
I read somewhere that it’s a girl and that they were going to name her Diana, or that there was a strong possibility and lots of discussion of naming their daughter Diana.
on March 12th, 2015 at 4:00 am
I really like all of these names, but I am going to choose Eleanor. George and Eleanor make a wonderful prince/princess sibset!
on March 12th, 2015 at 7:43 am
I am sure they will not have her first name be Diana, only Prince Harry would be bold enough to do that, but I do hope Diana makes it to a middle name slot as I think it is a lovely name. For first names my bets would be on Elizabeth, Alice, or Mary.
For boys I would think Michael (after Kate’s father) or Philip would be likely. I do wish Thomas had more royal cred as I think George and Thomas are an adorable sibset
on March 12th, 2015 at 10:05 pm
I agree with peacebird10 about the likelihood of Alice Elizabeth Diana.
I think Elizabeth might be too much to live up to in first position (I don’t think they’d use Victoria for the same reason), but I think they would want to use it – especially given what a big year it is for the queen.
The combo flows nicely with George Alexander Louis. George and Alice is a beautiful sibset!
on March 15th, 2015 at 11:50 pm
I am wondering if an Elizabeth, nicknamed Lily would be their choice. Catherine did have a lovely bouquet of lily of the valley as her wedding flower, and Lily is one of the many nicknames for Elizabeth.
I love Alice and Mary, also. Either would go well with George.
on March 20th, 2015 at 3:06 pm
My favorites if a girl would be Alice Elizabeth Diana or Eleanor Diana Victoria. Though I’m not British I’m in love with these names. I absolutely adore the name Alice but my husband thinks there are too many Alice’s in his family but I still like it.
on May 2nd, 2015 at 10:57 am
Now that “she” is here, I can hardly wait to hear what she will be called. I hope they had a few choices lined up just in case she didn’t look like an Alice, or Mary, etc. Mary Diana Elizabeth would be sweet. For this American when I see George and Mary together, I think of George and Mary Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life”.
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