By Linda Rosenkrantz
As you well know, British royal name fever is at its peak, with barriers already in place around the Lindo Wing of London‘s St. Mary‘s Hospital. The bookmakers have been solidifying their odds, shifting the top three among Mary, Alice and Victoria for a girl. And berries have cast their votes.
Most of the current faves have fairly recent antecedents but if they had wanted to the Cambridges could have looked further back at some much more unexpected choices. Here are some first and middle names of ‘Princesses of the Royal Blood’, dating from 1714 on, all daughters, granddaughters, or male line great- grandchildren of a British Sovereign. Since none of them is on the bookies’ radar, they’d be perfect choices if you’re looking for a non-obvious choice with royal connections.
Agnes—the fifth middle name of George III’s great-great granddaughter Olga. Long in baby name limbo, Agnes is making a comeback, used by celebs Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany, Elisabeth Shue and Thom Yorke and now #227 on Nameberry and an impressive #12 in Sweden.
Bertha—a middle name of the granddaughter of Edward VII. Still not quite ready for 21st century birth certificates, Bertha was a Top 100 US name until the 1930s, and the 7th most popular girl name in the 1880s.
Christa—the 8th middle name of George III’s great-great-great granddaughter Frederica. This member of the Christine family peaked in 1986 at #178, but swiftly slid out of favor.
Christabel—a middle name of George V’s granddaughter Alexandra. A strong feminist possibility via suffragist Christabel Pankhurst, and an appealing ‘bel’ name.
Dagmar—one of the middle names of Edward IV’s daughter Louise, Dagmar is a classic Scandinavian name also heard in Germany and some Slavic communities.
Dorothea—the middle name of George I’s daughter Sophia, the romantic, poetic Dorothea is #710 on Nameberry.
Ernestine—one of the 7 middle names of Marie, great granddaughter of George III—another of which was Adolphine. Ernestine, which ranked as high as #193 in the US in the 1920s, fell off the list in 1973. It was the name of Lily Tomlin’s iconic telephone operator character back in the day.
Feodore—the third middle name of Queen Victoria’s daughter Beatrice; Feodora also appears on the royal rolls–it was the name of the older half-sister of Queen Victoria.
Leopoldine—a middle name of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter Beatrice. This rare feminization of Leopold had some popularity in France through the 1920s but never caught on here.
Maud—a middle name of Queen Victoria’s daughter Alice and the first name of the daughter of Edward VII who became Queen of Norway in 1905. Lavender-scented Maud/Maude has come out of the attic.
Melita—the middle name of a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and of Emperor Alexander of Russia. Her name was derived from the Latin name of the island country of Malta, where she was born.
Norah—the fourth middle name of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter Margaret, who became Crown Princess of Sweden in 1907. The alternate spelling of Nora is now at #153
Olga—First used as a middle name of Edward VII’s daughter Victoria and repeated several times through the generations. Olga also has several Russian regal ties.
Patricia –second name of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter first named Victoria. Born on St. Patrick’s Day, she was called Patsy by family and friends.
Pauline—a middle name of Queen Victoria’s granddaughter Alice
Sibylla—first name of the most unusually named great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria—Sibylla Calma Maria Alice Bathildis Feodora. She became the mother of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.
Theresa—one of the 7 middle names of Marie, great-granddaughter of George III
Thyra—a middle name of George III’s great-great-great granddaughter Frederica. Daughter of King Frederick VIII of Denmark, she was named after an aunt. Thyra appeared on the US popularity list for three years in the early 1900s.
Vera—the sixth middle name of George II’s great-great granddaughter Alexandra, Vera has been zooming up the popularity charts, now 308 in the US and 142 on Nameberry.
Wilhelmina—a middle name of George III’s granddaughter Mary, it has been making a surprising comeback.