Ethelfleda or Harthacnut? A rundown of royal baby names
The Royals are stuck in a bit of a rut when it comes to names - using the same ones over and over again to make high school history revision more difficult. Here’s a rundown of some of the odds on favorites and their meanings - along with a more obscure choice just in case the royals are feeling a bit wacky.
Queens and Princesses
Considered a favourite if Princess Kate has a girl, Elizabeth is a Hebrew name meaning "God is my oath". Elizabeth I was Queen of England from 1558 until 1603 and Elizabeth II will be the future baby’s nana.
A good fighting name, Victoria means: "to conquer". Queen Victoria was the longest serving British monarch; she reigned with a frown for 63 years, 7 months and 3 days.
Quite a popular choice throughout royal history, Mary means ‘rebellious’ in Greek but goes back even further to Ancient Egyptian where it meant ‘love’ or ‘beloved’. The most famous royal was Mary Queen of Scots, who ended up being beheaded - a rather common fate for a royal (and we encourage our daughters to want to be princesses?). Princess Mary is the current Crown Princess of Denmark and unlikely to share the same fate, thankfully.
A gentle name meaning ‘grace’, two of King Henry’s VIII wives were named Anne - Anne Boleyn (beheaded) and Anne of Cleves (avoided the chop). Princess Anne is currently 10th in line to the British throne.
Certainly not the odds on favourite, Ethelfleda (or Ã†thelflÃ¦d in its original form!), means: ‘noble beauty’. The most famous bearer of the name was the daughter of English King Alfred the Great, known as Lady of the Mercians (869-918).
Kings and Princes
The least aristocratic name in meaning, George has its origins in the Greek name Georgios meaning "farmer, earth worker", - not a common occupation for a king. St George has been the patron of England since the 14th century, but the name did not become popular until the accession of George I of England in the 18th century. George is also the name of Prince William's great-grandfather, George the VI who reined from 1910 – 1936.
Origins in Greek and Latin, James is thought to mean ‘heel’ or ‘supplanter’. Also the name of Kate’s brother, the first King James reigned from 1603 – 1625, who famously shouted (when told the commoners wanted to see his face: ‘God’s wounds! I will pull down my breeches and they shall see my a*se!’
Charles comes from the Germanic word cheorl, which means ‘free man’. The name has been popular throughout history and a number of British Kings have been called Charles – of course, poor old Prince Charles is still waiting for his turn…
Anglicised version of the name Phillippos, meaning ‘friend’ and hippos, meaning ‘horse’. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to mean ‘foot in mouth’ as the future prince/princess’s granddad, Prince Phillip, is well known for his verbal gaffes, his most notable when speaking to deaf children beside a steel band in 2000: “Deaf? If you’re near them, no wonder you are deaf.”
Not a name you want to misspell, Harthacnut reigned over England and Denmark in the 11th Century. The name is thought to mean ‘artificial elevation of earth’, so how it came to be a moniker is anyone’s guess.
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