Great Anglo-American Baby Names for Harry and Meghan
By Eleanor Nickerson
First there is the question of whether or not the couple will/have to/should use a royal name for their child.
To start with, currently, Harry‘s children will not be entitled automatically to the title HRH (Prince/Princess). Presently, the only people entitled to the HRH hereditary title are: the reigning monarch’s children; a monarch’s sons’ children; and the Prince of Wales‘ eldest grandson.
However, according to this, only Prince George was allowed to be HRH (not Charlotte and Louis). To balance this fairly (especially if he was a girl) just before the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to her first child, the Queen issued another letters patents to grant all of William’s children the title of prince or princess. As Harry is so close to the succession, I personally believe that the Queen will issue a similar letters patent for his children just before Meghan‘s due date.
The diagram below shows the distribution of royal/non-royal names amongst the Queen‘s descendants:
Purple represents British royal names used (as a first name) within the British royal family since the 17th century.
Blue represents names that are more commonly established in other European royal houses, but have had previous use in the British royal family as middle names or to honour wider royal family relatives.
Green represents names that have no royal precedence.
Looking at the diagram, it seems most likely that Harry and Meghan will go for a purple or blue option, especially with the royal title of “Prince(ss)” added, but there is always scope for using a traditional non-royal name.
Secondly, there is the aspect of dual-nationality. Although Meghan is now a British citizen, she is a born and bred American and proud of that fact. With a half-British, half-American heritage, it isn’t unlikely that they will look to a name that has transatlantic appeal.
As will most prospective mothers, Meghan will likely be drawn to baby names that don’t clash with her own native popular-culture references and that have equal appeal to American ears as they do to British.
#54 in E&W / #35 in US
Eleanor gets its royal credentials from being borne by three English queens and several royal princesses in the Middle Ages. It was still borne by Georgian princess as a middle name up until the 19th century.
Eleanor can also be classed as a name of American “royalty” having been borne by the gifted and influential First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. The Duchess of Sussex is a great advocate for women’s empowerment, so I can easily see diplomat and activist Eleanor Roosevelt being an appealing namesake for Meghan‘s daughter.
#6 in E&W / #4 in US
Popular in both countries and with a lovely lyrical sound, Isabella works seamlessly on a British-American girl.
Like Eleanor, Isabella was a medieval royal powerhouse with three English queens and several princesses bearing the name. Though it hasn’t been used within the British royal family in a few centuries, it is still currently in use within the other royal houses of Europe.
#2 in E&W / #8 in US
Traditional, sweet and currently fashionable on both sides of the Atlantic.
Amelia is also royal thanks to a few Georgian princesses bearing the name. This not only makes it regal, but puts it in fairly recent use in the British royal family.
Added to this, Amelia Earhart gives the name not only an inspirational female namesake — she has been described as the ultimate feminist icon — but also adds a traditional American-heritage side to the name.
#44 in E&W / #13 in US
A perennial classic in both countries, Elizabeth is impeccably royal with plenty of nicknames to fall back on. The only downside is that many of the granddaughters (Zara, Beatrice, Louise) and great-granddaughters (Isla, Charlotte, Lena) of the Queen have Elizabeth as a middle name already, which may make it perfect middle name material for Harry and Meghan, but could make it feel too overused in the family to choose as a first name.
#92 in E&W / #19 in US
It’s hard to get more queenly than Victoria — its British royal credentials are undeniable!
#413 in E&W / #132 in US
Margaret is a strong name with gravitas and backbone. Not only does it have several queenly namesakes — and powerful, go-getting ones at that! — Margaret also has many many other notable female namesakes including Americans Margaret Fuller and Margaret Cleaves.
Margaret is rising in the US as a fashionable traditional. It is less popular in Britain but a cute nickname would easily “British” it up: Maisie, Maggie, Molly…. After all, Harry is officially Henry, so why not a Princess Margaret “Maisie“?
#17 in E&W / #70 in US
One Princess Alice (Queen Victoria’s daughter) was a champion of women’s causes and nursing — managing field hospitals herself during the Austro-Prussian War. Her granddaughter, Princess Alice of Battenberg, also devoted herself to charity, organised shelters for orphans, worked in soup kitchens and sheltered Jewish refugees during WWII.
Not only were both of these Princess Alices highly admirable — and reflect Meghan‘s own longstanding passion for charity work — the latter was Prince Philip’s mother, and therefore Harry‘s great-grandmother.
#11 in E&W / #5 in US
Popular on both sides of the Atlantic, and with royal heritage to boot. Britain nearly had her own “Queen Sophia I” with heir to the throne, Electress Sophia of Hanover. Sadly, she died weeks before she would have become queen in 1714, making way for her son George I. Princesses with the first or middle name Sophia followed soon after her.
#549 in E&W / #276 in US
Adelaide has slightly more American appeal than British at the moment, but it does count as an overlooked royal name (a blue colour in the diagram above). It is rising in England and Wales, and already on an upward pTH since it rejoined the US Top 1000 in 2005. This makes it a fashion-forward option for the Sussexes to use.
#1063 in E&W / #55 in US
Like Adelaide, Caroline has much more US appeal than it does in the UK., where it is still a little dated: it left the E&W Top 100 in 1984. However, for Meghan it will feel more like a perennial classic.
Two Georgian queens and three princesses bore the name Caroline so it has perfect royal cred.
#27 in E&W / #521 in US
Already a steady favourite in England — especially amongst the upper classes — Matilda has both medieval gravitas and Victorian quaintness. It is less popular in the US, but has seen a resurgence since it reentered the Top 1000 in 2008.
A medieval powerhouse, Matilda was a strong favourite among medieval English and Scottish queens – England even had its very own ruling Queen Matilda for a while. Though it hasn’t been used as a royal first name since the Middle Ages, it has been used as a royal middle name for Georgian princesses.
out of the E&W and US top 1000
2. The nickname Thea is stylish and fashion-forward in both the UK (#53) and the US (#269).
As Harry always goes exclusively as “Prince Harry,” even though Henry is his legal name, there’s no reason why it couldn’t be Princess Thea.
#22 in E&W / #13 in US
A traditional staple fashionable on both sides of the Pond. Aside from the great Macedonian king, there have been several Kings of Scotland with the name, as well as being chosen by King Edward VII for his youngest son, so it is perfectly royal.
#19 in E&W / #244 in US
The bookmakers are still convinced that their top choice for William and Catherine is a sure bet for Harry and Meghan as well. And it makes sense. Arthur is the highest ranking royal male name in England that isn’t currently “in use” as a first name in the immediate royal family.
In the US, it is nowhere near as popular, but it is on a steady rise.
#73 in E&W / #49 in US
A traditional favourite in both America and Britain and perfectly royal. Charles is the name of Harry‘s dad, which may make it a little close. However, if Harry can be “Henry exclusively known as Harry,” then perhaps Prince “Charles but call me Charlie” would work.
#111 in E&W / #65 in US
#38 in E&W / #62 in US
Theodore is not a (British) royal choice, though there have been a few early Russian princes and a brief Corsican king with the name. It is, however, a perennial classic with bags of charm and grounded in history.
Added to this, Theodore is fashion forward and rising on both sides of the Pond.
What girl and what boy name do you predict?
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on November 2nd, 2018 at 1:30 am
Honestly I don’t particularly care because I know I’ll be disappointed. If I had to choose from this list I’d pick Caroline and Theodore.
The only one that’s a big no no is Albert. They can’t use it.
on November 2nd, 2018 at 3:47 am
I’m still surprised that nowhere seems to think that Eliza is an option. It honours his grandmother and is a little more relaxed without being completely out of the royal-ordinary. I definitely see Dorothea being in there somewhere, if it’s a girl. I don’t really have any instinctual ideas for a boy for them but I do like Theodore.
on November 2nd, 2018 at 4:17 am
I do like the idea of Eliza – maybe more as a middle name though.
From the above list my favourite is another Princess Margaret with a nickname to distinguish her from Liz II’s sister. It would be nice for Harry to honour another rebellious royal sibling. Either that or I’d love for Harry to really stick it to the family with Diana as a first (though she’d probably have to go by Ana/Annie).
I’m definitely betting on Diana being honoured as a middle for a girl. Doria too, though perhaps they will wait til if they have a second girl to avoid the sameness. Elizabeth is also likely to be there in the middle.
For the boys I’m still hoping for a Prince Arthur or Albert!
Wish they’d get more creative though!
on November 2nd, 2018 at 5:43 am
I love the idea of Princess Margaret, perhaps nicknamed Peggy, Daisy or Margot. All gorgeous names in their own right, but with links to both sides of the family.
Margaret Eliza is lovely.
I can see Meghan wanting to be a bit more adventurous though. George, Charlotte & Louis are all higher in the line of succession, so really while I doubt we’ll see a Prince Jayden or Princess Kiki, I do think they might go for something a little less regal, like Penelope or Miles.
on November 2nd, 2018 at 7:41 am
“England even had its very own ruling Queen Matilda for a while.” – not to be nitpicky but the Empress Matilda was never crowned queen of England. Her father, Henry I, declared her his heir but when he died I believe she was heavily pregnant in France and her cousin, Stephen, swept in and had himself crowned instead. The country descended into civil war for years until Stephen agreed that Matilda’s son, Henry II, would be king after him but she never ruled herself.
on November 2nd, 2018 at 7:50 am
I like Eleanor or Isabella as options for them. For boys, I’m less inspired, but I like Theodore.
on November 2nd, 2018 at 8:20 am
Wonderful analysis and suggestions! I have always been hoping for a Princess Adelaide with each of TRH Duke & Duchess of Cambridge’s children, so still holding out hope for one now!
on November 2nd, 2018 at 8:21 am
P.S. I do think Margaret with a distinct nickname would be perfect though, since Meghan has the same root!
on November 2nd, 2018 at 8:44 am
Never thought of Dorothea, but now I’m in love qith the idea of Princess Thea of Sussex! (The first queen of Great Britain via the Hanover line that the house of Windsor descends from was Queen Sophia Dorothea). I’m also loving Margaret and Matilda! Hopefully they read this blog and we can avoid another Prince Louis fiasco
on November 2nd, 2018 at 9:13 am
I can see princess Isabella, but it may be much criticized choice because of Twilight Saga, even after all these years people mock these books… still Isabella is still one of my top choices.
Eleanor Nickerson Said
on November 2nd, 2018 at 10:50 am
@Kiki — you are right to nitpick. I’m afraid I was simplifying. Matilda did manage to defeat and imprison her cousin Stephen in the Civil War in April 1141 and was declared “Lady of England and Normandy” while she prepared her coronation. However, her coronation in June had to be cancelled due to riots in London and she lost power when she was defeated in battle in July. Effectively, she was a ruling queen during this brief period.
on November 2nd, 2018 at 12:18 pm
For a girl: Dorothea Frances Caroline…Dorothea for Meghan’s mom Doria, Frances for Harry’s mom Diana, & Caroline as the feminine form of Charles.
For a boy: I noticed that among the current royals there are no repeated first names, so I don’t think Philip, Charles, Edward, James, or William would be used as a first name. Richard, Stephen, & John are no-goes due to past kings w/these names (although IMO Richard III was slandered by the chroniclers), & Thomas is Meghan’s not-so-pleasant dad, so no Prince Thomas either. In looking through the British royal family tree since 1600 I noticed Frederick was frequently used. Albert, Arthur, & Alfred also pop up.
Like a previous poster said, I’m not feeling super inspired to come up w/a boy’s name…but as a guess I would say Philip would be in the name somewhere, to honor both Prince Philip & Prince Charles (whose middle name…or one of them) is Philip. Theodore could be an honor name for Doria as well. So FIRST NAME Philip Theodore is my guess.
on November 2nd, 2018 at 1:06 pm
I think Diana’s middle name, Frances, will come into play as a middle. I do think Elizabeth could come in again, but could very much see them avoiding it and the name Diana since they have been used for Charlotte. I do think Matilda (or even Adelaide though I am not sure if they stopped there) could come in as a sly reference to their trip this fall during the pregnancy (or perhaps a reference to another stop on the trip).
Eleanor, Amelia, and Victoria all sound like strong options since they all reference strong women.
I believe whatever name, it will have an easy nickname or two from it as Henry/Harry, Meghan/Meg do.
If I were betting today, I would go with Eleanor Frances Matilda.
For boys, I really think Alexander is the one. Perfect, classic, so many references.
on November 2nd, 2018 at 2:56 pm
The fascinating and thorough book by Alison Weir
“Queens of the Conquest: England’s Medieval Queens” discusses the succession of Queen Matildas. At that time, these women and the name Matilda, were very highly regarded. I would like to see the name revived in this way but I don’t count on it. It could be a good middle too. Margaret nn Maisie has long been a favorite classic name of mine but again I am not sure whether it would appeal to modern royals. I agree with@namelove that Frances may figure into the middle spot since Diana was already used for Charlotte. I still like Arthur best for a boy. I don’t have a real guess yet…
on November 2nd, 2018 at 9:26 pm
I don’t think Meghan is officially a British citizen yet
on November 3rd, 2018 at 7:20 am
I hope they won’t feel limited to royal names! There’s no reason whatsoever why royals shouldn’t choose whatever names they like for their children. I could easily see them going for a classic name with an easygoing and current nickname, like Maisie, Molly, Thea, Theo, Jack, Charlie, etc. I could be wrong of course, but I see Harry as a fairly down-to-earth type who wouldn’t want an overly fanciful name. As for Meghan, I expect she will have a chic and stylish taste, so a little Dorothea “Thea” or Theodore “Theo” would be the perfect overlap of their styles.
on November 3rd, 2018 at 9:07 am
Isabella Frances Joy or Violet Isabella Frances may be beautiful choices….
on November 3rd, 2018 at 7:20 pm
Sorceress’s suggestion of Violet just put “Rose” into my head and I’m loving the idea of Princess Rose! I could really see it – it’s fresh to the royal family but still very classic.
For a boy, Frederick “Prince Freddie” was my prediction for Prince Louis’ name and I still love it. Maybe David or Daniel?
on November 4th, 2018 at 7:50 pm
Sticking with girls for this reply!
I agree with Amelia, Alice (for Alice Walker too) and Eleanor as a possibilities for the reasons stated and think Elizabeth or Eliza or another variant (Betty?) are possible too.
I’d love to see Frances or Francis as a way to honor Diana. I don’t know though, I think Meghan and Harry may go the way of Peter and Zara. Maybe the name will include a nod to heritage, but Meghan will push for a name with a strong meaning or personal significance, not just something conventional. If they went to Ireland for their honeymoon, I could see an Irish name in the mix as well.
I could definitely see names like some of the following on the short list:
Ada (like Lovelace if she’s been watching Victoria)
Angela (Davis) or Angelou (Maya seems a little too close to Mia)
Audrey (close to Audre Lorde)
Coretta (Scott King)
Gloria (close to Doria and Steinem)
Harriet (Harry said he liked it and Harriet Tubman)
Ruth (Bader Ginsburg)
Simone (de Beauvoir)
Zora (for Neale Hurston but may be too close to Zara)
One boy name comment– I could see something like Bodhi or Kai in the mix here!
on November 5th, 2018 at 12:37 am
I agree with some of the names on the list such as Eleanor, Alice and Matilda, and Theodore and Alexander. However it wouldn’t surprise me if they move away from royal precedent names, though still expecting they would be traditional, though possibly uncommon. I could see Greta, Flora, Florence, Audrey, Rose, Bridget (there was a Princess Bridget in England) and yes Harriet or Frances for a nod to family for a girl. And John called Jack for a boy – an early king of course. Rufus (though would you use it for a red-haired baby??), or Leo (without the Leopold) or some other equally cool option could be used as I imagine Harry steering away from fuss.
on November 5th, 2018 at 12:59 pm
With the exception of Eleanor and Alexander, I don’t see Harry and Meghan choosing any of these names. My gut tells me they are going to buck trend further, at least to the extent of it not being a name with royal precedent. I see them choosing a historic but more on-trend name, and one that does not scream royal.
My money is on Poppy. It struck me that the California poppy was the flower Meghan choose for her veil to represent her American roots. I could very much see them choosing Poppy Diana as a nod to both of their histories. I also anticipate they will not use more than one middle name, since it seems too fussy and too royal. The other thought I have for a girl is Flora. Classic and elegant, very British feeling, but also very trendy (Meghan a product of hollywood, after all!).
For a boy I am not sure, but I don’t think a name like Alfred would even be in contention. I see them using something like Leo – just Leo. And I also wouldn’t be surprised if they chose to either not honor male family members so as to not upset Meghan’s dad, or to honor women in their son’s name too. I could see something like Leo Dorian, to honor Meghan’s mom.
on November 5th, 2018 at 4:09 pm
I’m not familiar with rules, but would their children earn the title of Prince or Princess once Charles is crowned? Or would he have to issue a decree?
on November 17th, 2018 at 6:16 am
If nothing changes through Letters Patent or person decisions by Harry, Megan and Charles, the Sussex child/ren will automatically become prince/ess when Charles becomes King. Then the children will be male line grandchildren of the Monarch
on November 18th, 2018 at 4:34 am
Put me down as an early advocate for Evelyn. Evelyn Frances Caroline
While Evelyn is a top ten name in America, it’s just outside the top 25 in the UK, AUS, and NZ. So familiar and posh, but not red hot.
Evelyn = Wished for Child: check mark for lovely (or not terrible) meaning
Eve/ie makes a great nickname. Eve is quite chic; Evie is very friendly.
I also love Margot as a nod to the Queens sister and Meghan herself. Margot Victoria Diana or Margot Frances Victoria
Other names: Harriet, Violet, Vivian, Juliet, Clara, Audrey
As for boys, Albert and Phillip are obvious and traditional. Theodore is a bit more daring, but quite trendy. For some reason, Aiden strikes me as perhaps her style. Aiden Charles Henry or Aiden Charles William?
Other names: Sebastian, Christian/topher, Ethan
The Sussexes have said they want to raise their child/ren as normally as possible. If they truly mean that, I hope they’ll forgo the HRH and instead, opt to follow the precedent set forth by Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex who chose lower peerage titles for their children. If something terrible happens to shrink the line of succession, a person’s title can always be upgraded to reflect that change.
Also, and just my personal opinion, I don’t think her American roots will be given much consideration in the name style they pursue. If they decide to go daring, I think they’ll do so in one of the two middle slots. Most likely they’ll choose a stately upper crust British name that sounds royal, but shortens to a lovely friendly nickname.
on December 9th, 2018 at 1:37 pm
If a boy then Maybe Henry, kept as Henry, after his dad’s real first name.
For a girl, I like the idea of Matilda. However, I too get the impression that Harry and Meghan will not stick to Royal protocol, and will name their child whatever they want, rather than be bound by rules. Like Princess Anne did.
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