New prince’s names loaded with significance
TRADITIONAL, loyal, respectful but with a modern touch. That certainly sums up the choice of George Alexander Louis. But it is also a pretty good description of the parents who chose these names.
In doing so, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have told us rather more about themselves than their young prince. It goes without saying that the couple genuinely like these names. No one has forced or even prodded them. All are firm favourites in the current aristo/Sloane canon of boys’ names.
Though none comes as a great surprise, each is still interesting. For royal names come loaded with significance. And none stands out more than Alexander. It is said that this was a particular favourite of the duchess. Since history, precedence and Prince William’s position were always going to weigh heavily on the choice of first name, she could have a greater say over the second.
And among the couple’s circle of friends, there are plenty of Alexanders. Alexandra had certainly been the bookies’ favourite in the event of a girl. For the female version has a long and illustrious provenance.
Queen Alexandra was the consort of Edward VII. It is also the second name of the queen. Less well-known is the fact that Alexandrina was Queen Victoria’s first name. Until her reign, monarchs would stick with the name they were given at birth. But she preferred Victoria, her second name. Otherwise, we would never have ended up with the Victorian age. Today, we would talk about Alexandrine ( or Alexandrinian?) values, Alexandrine architecture… it doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue.
The nearest Alexander is Prince William’s low-profile cousin, the Earl of Ulster, 38-year-old ex-soldier and heir to the Duke of Gloucester. Going further back, the queen’s great-greatgrandfather – via Queen Mary – was Duke Alexander of Wurrtemburg.
But the choice becomes much more significant in a geo-political context. In theory, the baby prince will inherit the throne of the United Kingdom, though that unity is under threat as never before with next year’s referendum on Scottish independence. Scotland means a huge amount to the royal family – far more than is generally imagined. It was also in Scotland that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met. So a Scottish name was not merely a possibility, but more of an essential. And Scotland has had three King Alexanders.
As for Louis, that is surely a bow to both the baby’s grandfather and great- grandfather. Prince William himself was given the name Louis in honour of Prince Charles’s adored uncle, Lord Louis (later Earl) Mountbatten. He, in turn, had been named after Prince Louis of Battenberg, Prince Philip’s grandfather.
Then we come to George. This child will never need any additional introduction. We now live in a world which increasingly operates on firstname terms. The royal family may not have gone down the “Call me Tony” route, but, to much of the world, they are simply Charles, Camilla, William, Kate, Harry…
Even our best-known Georges – Osborne, Michael, Clooney – still need a surname. George Cambridge never will. There can be little doubt whom the young couple had uppermost in their minds when they were picking this one. George V, founder of the House of Windsor, was the queen’s adored “Grandpa England”. George VI was the beloved father in whose image she has shaped so much of her reign. I think we can assume that she flies off to Scotland even more proud and happy that Britain can now look forward to George VII. – Daily Mail