16 March 2018

Georgian Names for Baby Cambridge

By Chris Jack, Getty via Kensington Palace
Since the Duke of Duchess of Cambridge picked their first two children's names from among those that were popular when the Hanoverian (or Georgian) kings reigned in the United Kingdom, it is quite possible that their third child, who is due next month, will also get a Georgian-era royal moniker. William and Kate's choices of George and Charlotte for their first two children are the most commonly used names from the Hanoverian era. So, let's take a look at what they might choose for Baby #3.

[UPDATE: The baby's name is Louis Arthur Charles.]


After George, the most popular male names in the Georgian family are William and Frederick. Both were used by five royals, although sometimes as a double name such as Augustus Frederick Duke of Sussex (a son of George III). William is also a kingly name -- William the Conqueror, one of his sons William II, William III (who reigned jointly with his wife/cousin Mary II), and the last Hanoverian King William IV. It was also used by two successive generations of Dukes of Gloucester, the first being a son of Frederick Prince of Wales and the second his only son, who had no children. However, I doubt today's Prince William will name his child after himself, so I think we can mark this off the list.

Frederick, on the other hand, has possibility. It has not been used within the immediate family in many generations although it is popular among their Danish cousins. It is also the name of Prince of Michael of Kent's son, Lord Frederick Windsor, who grew up next door to William and his brother Harry at Kensington Palace, and whose oldest daughter Maud is a classmate of Prince George. Frederick is a rather traditional name and is frequently popular among aristocratic circles. It would not be a surprise.

Evil Uncle Cumberland:
King Ernest Augustus
By George Dawe in the National
Portrait Gallery via Wikipedia Commons
The next most common Georgian name would be Augustus, which was used by the male founder of the dynasty, George I's father Elector Ernest Augustus of Hanover, and two of Queen Victoria's uncles: "evil Uncle" Ernest Augustus, who became King of Hanover, when she was barred from that throne because she was a woman, and favorite Uncle Augustus Duke of Sussex, who gave her away when she married Prince Albert because her own father was deceased. Augustus passed into the still-German Hanoverian branch of the family, where it is still being used today. It is altogether too clunky, I think, to be used for a British royal today.

The next most commonly used are the trio of Henry, Edward, and Ernest. Since the first of these two are already being used by the baby's Uncle Harry and Great-Uncle Edward Earl of Wessex (plus cousin Prince Edward Duke of Kent), I think they are unlikely. While used in combination with Augustus in the German branch of the family, Ernest is perhaps more acceptable for an English-speaking nation and could be used.

Rounding out the Georgian boys' names are Adolphus (ummm, no), Alfred (maybe? It is after all, the name of one of Britain's ancient great kings, too), Leopold (not very English and only tangentially Georgian as the name of the widower of Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales who later became King of Belgian and uncle-mentor to Queen Victoria), and Octavius (very unlikely; it was only given to the eighth son of George III precisely because he was the eighth son -- Oct equals 8 -- and he died very young). Both Leopold and Alfred were also used by Queen Victoria for two of her children, but I'm not counting that generation as Georgians.

Top Boys' Picks: My first place goes to Frederick with Alfred coming in a distant second. But, Octavius would certainly be fun! (The betting seems to be on Albert or Arthur, but these aren't Georgian so they didn't fit within my parameters.

Frederick Prince of Wales (and cherubs)
By Jacopo Amigoni, Royal Collection via Wikimedia Commons


Caroline of Ansbach, Queen of George II
In the manner of Michael Dahl via Wikimedia Commons
The Georgian dynasty had dramatically more female than male members so there are many more girls' names to choose from. Rising to the top of the list, based on how many royal ladies used the names, are Caroline and Sophia. Caroline was the name of two Hanoverian queens, the bright wife of George II and the scandalous wife of George IV who wasn't even allowed to attend his coronation! It is also the name of one of the most scandalous/tragic Georgian princesses, George III's baby sister Caroline Matilda (see my post A Scandalous Marriage: The Story of a Teenage Queen), who was briefly Queen of Denmark. Two of the things I like best about this choice is that it mirrors the Duchess of Cambridge's mother's name, Carole, as well as being a feminine form of the name of the baby's paternal grandfather Charles Prince of Wales. (Of course, William and Kate covered that angle by naming their first daughter Charlotte).

Sophia is also a real possibility. It is very common in royal Europe as the name of the King of Spain's mother and his youngest daughter as well as of the wife of Prince Carl Philip of Sweden. It also has ties into Prince Philip's family as the name of one of his sisters. However, it is also already in use within the current BRF by Sophie Countess of Wessex, so maybe not.

The next most common girl's name among the Georgians was Augusta. It came in with Augusta Princess of Wales, whose husband died before his father and never became king. It has not been used since Queen Mary's aunt Augusta of Cambridge, a granddaughter of King George III. That double Georgian and Cambridge connection might make it a winner for Kate and William.

Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, later Duchess of Teck

by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Royal Collection
via Wikimedia Commons
Speaking of the Cambridge Hanoverians, Queen Mary's mother was Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, which suggests another couple of possibilities: the very popular and historically timeless Mary and the far less common Adelaide. While Adelaide was only used by Queen Mary's mother and her aunt Queen Adelaide, the wife of King William IV, it could certainly appeal to the increasingly Republican Australians, whose city of Adelaide was named for Queen Adelaide. On the other hand, Mary is one of the most popular girl's name in the entire Judeo-Christian-Islamic world across many, many centuries. There may not be a more universal feminine name. In English, it is generally rendered as Mary but could also be Marie or Maria. It has not been used in the BRF since the last Princess Royal, daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, passed away in 1965, so it just might be time to resurrect it. (No pun intended, Christians. Okay, it was kind of intended.)

Elizabeth was also used a few times by the Hanoverians, having been given to daughters of Frederick Prince of Wales, George III and William IV. It was not used at all as a first name by the Victorians who followed, only re-emerging into the BRF when the future George VI married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon and they named their daughter Elizabeth. Of course, that baby is now Queen Elizabeth II and is the new baby's great-grandmother. It could be a nice tribute to her, but the Cambridges have already used it as a secondary name for Princess Charlotte.

The also-rans for Georgian royal girls also includes: Anne (not likely as the name of the current Princess Royal), Amelia (a real possibility, although it does belong to third cousin Lady Amelia Windsor), Dorothea (could pay tribute to Kate's maternal grandmother Dorothy), Frederica (could be, but really low on my radar), Louisa (a classic name but it already belongs to William's first cousin and bridesmaid The Lady Louise Windsor), Matilda (an ancient royal name that could be revived), and Victoria (which came in right at the end of the Georgians and then was proliferated through nearly every royal house in Europe down to today's Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden--a model princess if there ever was one.)

Top Girls' Picks: I previously announced Caroline as my top pick and I'll stick with it, but I'm really liking Mary or Augusta now. (Mary seems to be a top choice with the betting public, just ahead of Alice -- which is Victorian rather than Georgian -- and Victoria.)

Caroline Matilda of Wales, later Queen of Denmark
By Johannes Heinrich Ludwig Möller via Wikimedia Commons

No comments:

Post a Comment