What's in a name? Well quite a lot if you belong to the British Royal Family. And when it comes to royal children, there's quite a tale to tell...


Princess Charlotte

The birth of royal children always lead to excitement and speculation about what the name will be. When the name of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s baby daughter was announced, many of those who’d had a flutter scooped up a tidy sum! But when it comes to guessing Royal names, it seems it’s slightly easier than you’d think. Often christened after family members, the names are passed down the generations and draw on a rich vein of history.  Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana’s names are definitely a case in point. Charlotte is the feminine version of her grandfather Prince Charles’ name but it is also the second name of her aunt Pippa Middleton. Elizabeth is not only the name of her great-grandmother, the Queen, and great-great-grandmother, the late Queen Mother, but is also Catherine’s own second name and the middle name of Catherine’s mother Carole Middleton

And over the years, what a lot of history there has been in a royal name…

George I

Taking to the throne back in 1714, German speaking George was not popular with the public. However it seems he was fairly popular with the ladies and had two legitimate and three illegitimate children. His two mistresses – one thin, one fat – were nicknamed The Maypole and The Elephant and Castle. His skinny mistress – the tongue-twistingly named Ehrengard Melusina von der Shulenburg – was mother to his illegitimate girls.

His children’s names:

George Augustus (George II) and Sophia Dorothea plus (Anna) Louise Sophia, Petronilla Melusina and Margarethe Gertrud

George II

Son of George I and the last British monarch to be born outside of Great Britain. He disliked his eldest son Frederick, as did his wife Caroline, who is reported to have said: ‘My dear first born is the greatest ass, and the greatest liar, and the greatest canaille, and the greatest beast, in the whole world, and I most heartily wish he was out of it.’ The son did in fact die before his father.

His children’s names:

Frederick Louis (father of George III), Anne, Amelia Sophia Eleanor, Caroline Elizabeth, George William, William Augustus, Mary and Louisa

George III

George III succeeded his grandfather to the throne. Despite apparently being visibly disappointed at the first sight of his 18-year-old bride Charlotte, George became very close to his wife, who wore a diamond ring with a portrait of the king. So close that they went on to have 15 children together.

His children’s names:

George Augustus Frederick (George IV), Frederick Augustus, William Henry (William IV), Charlotte Augusta Louise, Edward Augustus (father of Victoria), Augusta Sophia, Elizabeth, Ernest Augustus, Augustus Frederick, Adolphus Frederick, Mary, Sophia, Octavius, Alfred and Amelia

George IV

After a potentially scandalous affair as a young man and an illegal marriage, he was eventually  forced to marry a particularly unattractive woman Caroline of Brunswick. On first setting eyes on her, he said “I am unwell, pray bring me a glass of brandy” and he spent his wedding night in a drunken stupor on the floor. However the couple did manage to produce a daughter, who sadly died after giving birth to a stillborn child after a 50-hour labour.

His child’s name:

Charlotte Augusta

William IV

After the death of his brother, William IV took the throne and so began another sad story of children dying young. His wife Princess Adelaide developed pleurisy and doctors pronounced that she should be bled – a common treatment at the time. This however brought on a premature birth and baby Charlotte only survived for one day. Adelaide suffered two further miscarriages and her daughter Elizabeth died at a few months old. The king did have a number of illegitimate children.

His children’s names:

Charlotte Augusta and Elizabeth Georgiana Adelaide, plus illegitimate George Augustus Frederick, Henry Edward, Sophia Sidney, Mary, Frederick and Elizabeth


Portrait of Queen Victoria and her young family from the Royal Collection

Wikipedia from The Royal Collection

The Queen, who succeeded her uncle, supposedly said that being pregnant was ‘an occupational hazard of being a wife’. She thought that babies looked ‘frightful’ when naked, yet still ended up having nine children. She used chloroform when giving birth, so popularising the use of the anaesthetic in childbirth.

Her children’s names:

Victoria Adelaide Mary Louise, Edward Albert (Edward VII), Alice Maud Mary, Alfred Ernest Albert, Helena Augusta Victoria, Louise Caroline Alberta, Arthur William Patrick Albert, Leopold George Duncan Albert and Beatrice Mary Victoria Feodore

Edward VII

Edward’s first child’s first two names were chosen by his mother Queen Victoria, however she did allow him to choose the last two names. The parents’ choice of George Frederick for their second child did not meet the Queen’s approval, with her saying she ‘had hoped for some fine old name’ adding that ‘of course you will add Albert at the end’. In the end the boy was given four names.

Her children’s names:

Albert Victor Christian Edward, George Frederick Ernest Albert (George V), Louise Victoria Alexandra Dagmar,Victoria Alexander Olga Mary, Maud Charlotte Mary Victoria and Alexander John.

George V

The King and Queen found it difficult to show affection to their children, and George was said to be a strict father who terrified his children. Again Victoria wanted to have a say in the naming of the children, urging that the first child’s first name should be Albert. Eventually the parents had their way, and Albert was left for their second son. Their last son suffered from epilepsy and died in his early teens, having been kept out of the way on the Sandringham estate with few visits from his parents.

Her children’s names:

Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David (Edward VIII), Albert Frederick Arthur George (George VI), Victoria Alexandra Alice Mary, Henry William Frederick Albert, George Edward Alexander Edmund and John Charles Francis.

George VI

After the abdication of his brother Edward VIII the present queen’s father took the throne. His eldest daughter Elizabeth was given the affectionate nickname Lilibet, and was much loved by her grandfather King George V. The little princess was educated by a Scottish governess.

His children’s names:

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary (Elizabeth II) and Margaret Rose

Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen’s first two children were born before she ascended the throne and the later two were born after she had become queen.

Though her own children were given conventional names, some of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren have more exotic monikers. Princess Anne’s daughter, the Olympic equestrian is Zara Anne Elizabeth, and Zara’s child is called Mia Grace. Zara’s brother Peter Mark Andrew now has two daughters, Savannah Anne Kathleen and Isla Elizabeth.

Her children’s names:

Charles Philip Arthur George (Prince of Wales), Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, Andrew Albert Christian Edward, Edward Antony Richard Louis.