04 May 2015

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge

It's official. Britain's newest princess has a name: Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have selected a name that is surely pleasing to almost everyone. It includes both The Queen and the late Diana Princess of Wales. The choice of Charlotte may also be in honor of royal granddad Charles The Prince of Wales. It is also the middle name of Kate's sister, Philippa, while Elizabeth is the middle name of both Kate and her mother Carole.

The name Charlotte entered the British royal family during the Georgia era when King George III married Charlotte of Mecklenburg Strelitz. Together they had 15 children, including the oldest daughter named Charlotte for her mother. Their eldest granddaughter was also named Charlotte, who married Leopold of Saxe Coburg on May 2, the new baby's birthdate. She was heir to the throne until her tragic death in childbirth along with her infant son. That Charlotte's uncle, King William IV, gave the name to one of his two daughters, both of whom died as young children. After that the name was not used for a bit. It was reintroduced among the continental grandchildren of Queen Victoria, but not in the British until today. (Although I believe King George V had a parrot called Charlotte.)

The name Elizabeth has been used for centuries in Great Britain. The most prominent Elizabeths were certainly the mother/daughter/great-granddaughter of the 15th and 16th centuries. The widowed Elizabeth Woodville was a controversial queen when she married the Yorkist King Edward IV. After his untimely death, her sons disappeared and became known to history as the Princes in the Tower, and her eldest daughter, Elizabeth of York, married the victor of Battle of Bosworth, King Henry VII. As his queen, she was the mother of the infamous King Henry VIII, who showed his love for his mum by naming one of his daughters for her. That little girl, against innumerable odds, grew up to be the famous Gloriana, The Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I. Of course, Baby Charlotte is not named for any of these ladies. The origin of her second name is much closer to home. Not only is it the middle name of her mother and maternal grandmother, but is the name of her father's granny, Queen Elizabeth II, who was herself named for own mother, who had been born the daughter of a Scottish earl, became a Royal Duchess, then a Queen Consort, and is best known today for the 50 years she reigned in everyone's hearts as The Queen Mother.

The final name of Diana requires absolutely no explanation at all. If you are reading this blog and are unaware of the identity of Diana Princess of Wales, I wonder what strange Google search term landed you here. The Duke of Cambridge's mother remains one of the most iconic women of the modern age, even almost 18 years after her tragic death. At the time when her marriage to The Prince of Wales was falling apart, she said she wanted to be remembered as the "Queen of People's Hearts." After her death, the Prime Minister Tony Blair called her "The People's Princess." It is this legacy that some people are already expecting baby Charlotte to inherit. Even without Diana among her names, Charlotte would have been considered the heir to Diana by many. I hope that it is a joy for her and not a burden.

Welcome HRH Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.

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