by Linda Rosenkrantz
As anticipation heats up for the announcement of the royal baby name, let’s look at the ones leading the ranks in one of the British betting sites–though keeping in mind that they are in a constant state of flux.
ALEXANDER is currently in the lead. A Greek name, meaning ‘defender of men’, with lots of history dating back to ancient times. It gained international renown via Alexander the Great, who was actually Alexander III, and was worn by many Scottish kings, though never a British one. There was a Prince Alexander, the youngest son of King Edward VII, and it is one of Prince George‘s middles, as the male form of Queen Elizabeth’s middle name Alexandra. One of its assets is its myriad nicknames, from Alec to Zan. Alexander has been in the US Top 25 since 1991 and currently ranks at #13 in the US, 22 in England and in the Top 10 in Sweden, Iceland, and New Zealand.
JAMES has a much lengthier legacy as a British royal baby name, most recently as the current Prince Edward‘s son. It has a rather confusing history before that–James Stuart was the first King James of England as well as the sixth King James of Scotland. A stalwart Anglo-Saxon classic across the English-speaking world, it has been picked as the top name in a poll of America‘s favorite boys names and is still particularly popular and fashionable today–with religious, US presidential and celebrity cred. It’s #4 in the US and 17 in England, plus in the Top 5 in Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia.
ARTHUR has until recently been at the top of the odds-makers’ list. British to its core, it recalls the shining Camelot image of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Queen Victoria used it for one of her sons, honoring the heroic Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley. Currently, it is one of Prince Louis‘s middle names. Among modern parents, Arthur is being embraced for its endearing meaning of ‘bear’ and has seen a rise in favor especially in the UK, where it’s in the Top 20.
PHILIP. As the name of Harry‘s 97-year-old grandfather, this would make a touching tribute in first or middle place–it’s one of William’s middle names. A Greek name meaning ‘lover of horses’, its namesakes include Alexander the Great’s father King Philip the Great, and it has also been borne by French, Spanish, Belgian, German and Swedish rulers. Philip is in the 400s in both the UK and US.
ALFRED has a long regal history, from the wise and compassionate Anglo-Saxon King Alfred the Great to a son of George III to a son and grandson of Queen Victoria. It currently ranks at #107 in England, where nickname Alfie is mega popular, at #12 on its own.
ALBERT, the third Al name on the list, entered British royal history with Prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria, who gave his name to all of her sons and as many of her grandsons as she could influence her children to use. Albert was the given name of Queen Elizabeth‘s father and is also one of Prince Harry‘s middle names. Albert ranks at #59 in England.
We shall soon see which if any of these is the winner.