From Elizabeth II To Prince Louis: Meaning Behind Their Names

July 18, 2018

Although it is customary for the British Royal family to name children after the ancestors, there is a meaning to each name given by the monarchs to their future successors. Actually, it’s not enough to just choose one – they need to consider the line of succession, degree of relationship, and the future role of a child in the royal family.    

1. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, the Queen


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The full name of the reigning monarch is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary. She was the first child of King George VI, and it was decided to name her in honor of the Queen mother, who also had this lovely name. After Elizabeth II came to power, her mother was given the new title of Queen Mother to avoid confusion. Her great-grandmother on the father’s side was called Alexandra. Elizabeth’s grandmother, the mother of George VI, was called Mary.

2. Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales


His first name hasn’t been very popular historically. In British history, there have only been 2 reigning monarchs with this name, and there hasn’t been any in a few recent centuries. The name Charles actually means 'free man', which is a quite suitable characteristic of this monarch. The second name of Prince of Wales was given to him as a tribute to his father, Prince Philip. He was called Arthur not after the mythical king, but to honor his grandfather (Elizabeth’s father), whose full name was Albert Frederick Arthur George. Finally, he took one more name – George – after his crowning.

Besides Charles, Elizabeth has three more children – Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, Andrew Albert Christian Edward, and Edward Antony Richard Louis. The Queen named her daughter and second son in honor of her husband’s parents. Let us remind you that Prince Philip is an heir of two dynasties: Andrew of Greece and Denmark, and Alice, the niece of the Empress of Russia.

3. William Arthur Philip Louis, Duke of Cambridge 


When Prince William was born, his father wanted to call him Arthur, but Princess Diana insisted and chose a name fairly rare among the royals – the last William was Queen Victoria’s predecessor. Philip, as in case of Charles, was a tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh. Finally, Louis is the name of Elizabeth’s husband’s favorite uncle.

4. Henry Charles Albert David, Duke of Sussex


Prince Harry is in fact called Henry, which means 'estate ruler'. The choice of the name Charles is pretty obvious. As for Albert, initially, his father wanted it to be his first name as a tribute to his grandfather. However, Lady Di had her way again. David was the seventh name given to the former King Edward VIII.

5. George Alexander Louis of Cambridge


The third grandson of the Queen was called after her father, herself (her middle name is Alexandra), and his father – Prince William. Remarkably, the boy, just like all of Kate’s children, has got only 3 names.

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6. Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge


Charlotte’s second and third names are tributes to her great-grandmother and grandmother. As for the first one, it could be a nod to her grandpa Charles, but this is also a middle name of Kate’s sister – Pippa Middleton.

7. Louis Arthur Charles of Cambridge


The latest baby of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was named after his father, as Louis is one of William’s names. The young parents also decided to honor the memory of Prince Philip’s uncle, following the example of Charles and Diana. The middle name is a tribute to his elder brother and father. The third one is self-explanatory.

Fun fact: Members of the royal family don’t use surnames. Moreover, before 1917, they didn’t even have one. The first to introduce surnames was George VI, Elizabeth’s father. Later, she, her husband, and direct descendants assumed a double surname Mountbatten-Windsor, although many of them use their own (for example, Cambridge – in case of William, Kate, and their children).

It must be said that such strict rules for name choosing apply only to children who may one day actually come to power. Other Queen’s in-laws, as well as her single daughter, were 'lucky' to name their children as they found fit.

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Prince Louis