Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their new baby boy!
According to the BBC, bookies have Arthur as the likeliest bet for the new prince’s first name. I’m not holding my breath, and I’ve got my doubts about the second runner-up, Albert. Here’s why: The couple’s other two children have been named for a king and an heir apparent to the throne. If they follow this trend for their third offspring, their choices are limited.
In the nearly one thousand years since the Normans conquered England, there have only been nine names borne by the nation’s kings.
Four Williams, eight Henrys, one Stephen, three Richards, one John, eight Edwards, two Jameses, two Charleses, and six Georges. And some of these names are already Right Out.
For example, William. The wee babe’s daddy is already a Prince William. Two would be confusing.
Henry – Same problem. Even if they go with Prince Henry to differentiate him from Uncle Harry, there’s also the fact that the last King Henry went through a lot of wives. I think they’re going to give this one a pass.
Stephen – I would personally be delighted with a Prince Stephen (duh!), but the one and only King Stephen brought ruin to the country by starting an 18-year civil war with his cousin (and rightful heir) Matilda. Also, let’s take a moment to be thankful that the young princess wasn’t named Matilda.
Richard – yes, it conjures the image of Richard the Lion-Hearted, but on closer inspection, I suspect their Highnesses will give this one a pass, too. For one thing, Lionheart used the English as a cash cow to fund a very expensive Crusade. (And to pay his ransom when he was taken prisoner on the way back home. Bad form.) The second Richard is often considered a tyrant, and the third usurped the crown from his young nephews (whose deaths he is suspected of arranging).
John – still one of the most reviled kings in British history. His barons had to insist on the Magna Carta. My guess is this will be a firm ‘nope’.
Edward – a very nice name, and there have been a lot of them. Unfortunately, the last one abdicated when he couldn’t marry a twice-divorced American. Worse, he was a Nazi sympathizer. Hard no here, too.
James – the last one was forced off the throne due to fears of Catholicism. But times have changed, and besides, the little prince will be raised in the Church of England. James might have some potential as a name for the newest royal.
Charles – the first Charles was a disaster as a monarch. The divine right of kings may have been a thing across the channel in France, but the British hadn’t bought into that since the Magna Carta (see John). The second Charles didn’t like Parliament any more than his dad did, eventually dismissing it for the last four years of his reign. But nobody wanted to go back to Oliver Cromwell’s dour Protectorate, so Charles II is still remembered kindly. However, there’s currently a Prince Charles.
George – they already have one.
Granted, there are other names that have been borne by princes who didn’t become king: Edmund, Geoffrey, Arthur, Leopold and Alfred, among others. Albert is currently a front-runner, based on the popularity of the television show Victoria. If that’s the case, just name the boy Prince Tom Hughes Something Something and be done with it.
Also high in the books are Arthur and Philip, which could very well have some appeal. Arthur is one of Prince Charles’ middle names, and the Duke of Edinburgh, at nearly 97, might like to see a namesake.
My guess for the new prince’s name? James Arthur Philip Mountbatten-Windsor, give or take a middle name.
Does your family have any traditional names? Or do you have any guesses about the new prince’s name?