Prince George: Royal couple choose name fit for a king

By royal standards, the couple have come up with names relatively quickly. William’s name was not announced until a week after his birth.

Note: This article is from the Guardian.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Prince George: royal couple choose name fit for a king” was written by Caroline Davies, for The Guardian on Wednesday 24th July 2013 20.06 UTC

Sticking rigidly to royal tradition, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have announced that their baby son is to be called George Alexander Louis, to be known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge.

The name George was the most popular with bookmakers, and has already been borne by six former wearers of the crown since the German-born George I, the first Hanoverian king of Britain, acceded to the throne in 1714. It is also the fourth name of the Prince of Wales, the infant’s grandfather.

The announcement will undoubtedly please the Queen, whose father was George VI, although he was christened Albert. It came just hours after the 87-year-old monarch met her two-day-old great-grandson for the first time.

The visit by the Queen at Kensington Palace was the first time in more than a century that a reigning monarch had met a great-grandchild born in direct succession to the crown.

The name Louis may be in tribute to Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Duke of Edinburgh’s uncle and the last British viceroy of India before independence, who was assassinated by the IRA when his boat was blown up in County Sligo in 1979. Prince William was christened William Arthur Philip Louis, and his father enjoyed a close relationship with Mountbatten, known in the family as “Uncle Dickie”.

Alexander also runs through the infant prince’s paternal line. Prince Philip’s grandfather was Prince Louis Alexander of Battenberg. There have been three medieval kings of Scotland named Alexander, so the name also plays to those north of the border.

By royal standards, the couple have come up with names relatively quickly. William’s name was not announced until a week after his birth, and the public had to wait a month before Prince Charles’s name was announced.

Kensington Palace said: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to announce that they have named their son George Alexander Louis. The baby will be known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge.”

George was the 12th most popular name for new baby boys in England and Wales in 2011, according to the most recent data from the Office for National Statistics, falling from ninth the previous year, although it might well now find its way back into the top 10.

The Queen had earlier made the short journey from Buckingham Palace to Kensington Palace, where William and Kate and their son had spent their first night at home as a new family.

Arriving in a dark green Bentley, the Queen was alone as Prince Philip is still convalescing following exploratory abdominal surgery last month. She had previously said she was thrilled by the safe delivery of her first great-grandson, who was born at 4.24pm on Monday weighing 3.8kg (8lb 6oz) in the private Lindo wing at St Mary’s hospital in Paddington, west London.

Not since the birth in 1894 of the eldest son of the future George V and Queen Mary in the twilight of Queen Victoria’s reign has such an encounter occurred.

Among other visitors received by the duke and duchess was Prince Harry, who came to see the new nephew who has pushed him down to fourth in the line of succession. He had previously said: “I can’t wait to be an uncle.”

The duchess’s sister, Pippa Middleton, visited on Tuesday night shortly after mother and baby were discharged from hospital.

After presenting their newborn to the world in a photocall on the hospital steps on Tuesday, William and Kate will now seek some privacy.

After the Queen’s visit, the duke, duchess and infant prince left Kensington Palace for Bucklebury, Berkshire, where the duchess’s parents have a manor house.

Kensington Palace said: “This is now a private and quiet time for them to get to know their son.” Details of the meeting with the Queen, therefore, are unlikely to be made public. But it is unlikely she will have made any suggestions as to names, leaving it entirely to the couple.

Historian and royal biographer Robert Lacey said: “George is obviously a tribute to the Queen’s father and will, I imagine, give Her Majesty great pleasure.

“But even as we say that we have to remember that her father’s actual name was Albert or Bertie – he chose the name George. We may find that Prince George could decide to give himself a different name as king.”

Charles Kidd, editor of Debrett’s Peerage and Baronetage, said George was a “very fine name” while Alexander would have been a personal choice of the new parents. “George really speaks for itself, I’m really pleased,” he said.

But historian Judith Rowbotham from Nottingham Trent University, said she was surprised, given that the first Prince George of Cambridge, who was born in 1819 and was a grandson of George III, did not seek the sovereign’s approval when he wed the actor Sarah Louisa Fairbrother, who was already the mother of two of his children and pregnant with his third.

Despite George being a popular choice for betting – William Hill had it as a 2/1 favourite ahead of James and Louis – it has not been a washout for the bookmakers. “Yes, George has been incredibly popular with our punters in the last 24 to 48 hours but the pregnancy has lasted a lot longer than that and up until Monday the majority of the betting was for a girl,” said a spokesman for William Hill.

“We are paying out a six-figure sum to winning punters but the royal baby betting has been so popular that we have enough to get in a bottle of bubbly to wet the baby’s head tonight.”

Famous namesakes

Though he will be christened George, the third-in-line to the throne can adopt a different name if he so wishes at his coronation, as did the Queen’s father who, despite being an Albert, chose to reign as George VI. If he decides to become George VII, he will have some illustrious, and some not so noble, namesakes to live up to:

George I (reigned 1714-1727)

George Louis was born in Hanover, Germany, and after the death of Queen Anne ascended the British throne as the first monarch of the House of Hanover, despite not speaking much English. He married his cousin, Sophia, who gave birth to George Augustus, but preferred his mistress, Ehrengard Melusine von der Schulenburg, with whom he had three daughters.

George II (1727-1760)

George Augustus was born in Germany, the last British monarch to be born outside the country. The Jacobites failed to depose him. He had many mistresses, and a short temper. He died of heart problems.

George III (1760-1820)

Born George William Frederick, and nicknamed Farmer George for his thriftiness and plain tastes. Famous for losing Britain its 13 colonies in the United States, he suffered bouts of mental illness, leading his son to be made prince regent in 1811.

George IV (1820-1830)

Born George Augustus Frederick. His nine years as regent ended with his father’s death in 1820, and included winning the Napoleonic wars. Known for his extravagance, he had such a poor relationship with his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, that he forbade her from attending his coronation.

George V (1910-1936)

George Frederick Ernest Albert, grandson of Queen Victoria, and a naval man, became heir when pneumonia killed his brother Albert. Married his brother’s fiancee, Mary of Teck, who became Queen Mary.

George VI (1936-1952)

Albert Frederick Arthur George, became a reluctant, stammering king when his older brother, Edward VIII, sensationally abdicated to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

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