Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, welcomed their first child on July 22, and have named their son George Alexander Louis, Prince of Cambridge.
Prince George was born at 4.24 pm, weighing 8 lb 6 oz (3.8 kg) in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in London – the same hospital where Prince William and his brother Prince Harry were born. His birth was celebrated with illuminations of blue light, gun salutes, and the ringing of the bells of Westminster Abbey, where his parents were married on April 29 2011.
Prince George is the grandson of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and the great-grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, and he is third in line to the throne after his father and grandfather. We now have three generations of direct royal heirs living at the same time, which last occurred at the end of the 19th century, in the last years of Queen Victoria’s reign.
Prince George’s name was revealed on the evening of July 24 – a mercifully brief wait, because it took a week to announce Prince Wiliam’s name, and a month to announce Prince Charles. Although all three of his names are traditionally royal ones, the Duke and Duchess have confirmed that they chose the names because they liked them.
George is a traditional name in the British royal family. There have been six kings of Britain named George, and, if you count middle names as well, it is the most commonly used name in the royal family. George was the regnal name of Queen Elizabeth’s father (born Albert), and it is thought that the choice of name must please Her Majesty greatly.
George also comes from William’s mother’s side of the family, because one of his cousins from the Spencer family is named George. In addition, Saint George is the patron saint of England and the city of London, and also a classic name, very popular in Britain, where it is currently #12 – and probably destined to climb higher still. Prince George will share his name with many of his subjects, making it an “everyman” name, free of snobbery.
Little wonder that George was the name which everyone had picked out for the prince!
Alexander is another family name from the Spencer side, because Prince William has a cousin named Alexander Fellowes, reportedly a close friend. In addition, it is an appropriately Scottish choice, because Alexander was a traditional royal name in the Scottish royal family. The British monarchy has close ties to Scotland, and Prince William and Catherine met while studying at St Andrews, in Scotland. Many royal watchers had tipped a Scottish name to be chosen for a middle name for this reason.
Louis is one of William’s own middle names, and may be a tribute to Lord Louis Mountbatten, uncle of Prince Philip, and close friend and mentor to Prince Charles. Lord Mountbatten was assassinated in 1979. Louis Spencer, Viscount Althorp, is a cousin of William, so whether by chance or design, all three of the prince’s names are those of cousins on the Spencer side of the family.
All three names were my first three suggestions that I speculated could be used for the prince, based on royal naming patterns.
(Photo shows Prince George leaving hospital with his parents, wrapped in a shawl made from Australian merino wool. The Prince was swaddled in a blanket from aden + anais, designed by Australian-born founder, Raegan Moya-Jones).