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With thousands of names to choose from, deciding what to call your newborn can create tension in even the most relaxed parents-to-be. If you've decided to buck trendy names and instead focus on more classic ones, you may be drawn to the names given to royal babies. Royal baby names are typically rooted in tradition and heritage, which means that the same names are used repeatedly, generation after generation and often represent specific qualities in their ancestors.
A Name Fit for a King
Following the birth of Prince William and Kate Middleton's son in 2013, royal-watchers waited with bated breath to hear the name of the future king of England. Adhering to the tradition of naming sons after former kings, his parents called the tiny tot Prince George Alexander Louis, after nine other kings or heirs to the English throne, including Queen Elizabeth's father, King George VI. The popularity of the name George has been on an upward trajectory ever since, according to Nameberry. In Denmark, the choices are even more limited, using only two names for male rulers and heirs to the throne: Christian or Frederick. Over in Greece, Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal relied on ancient history when naming their offspring after Greek heroes: their children are named Olympia, Constantine, Achileas and Odysseas.
When You Can't Choose Just One
Having trouble deciding on just one name? Consider making good use of the tot's middle name—or three. For instance, Prince George's daddy's full name is Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, his uncle Harry's full name is Henry Charles Albert David, and his grandfather's full name is Charles Phillip Arthur George. Edward VIII, who became King of England in 1936, was named Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David. And this trend doesn't just work for the boys: Queen Elizabeth II's full name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, while her daughter, Princess Anne, is formally Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise. The same is true for royal families throughout Europe. In Sweden, there is Princess Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary; and in Denmark, Princess Josephine Sophia Ivalo Mathilda.
Not all royal babies are named after kings and queens. Some names are attached to princes and princesses or dukes and duchesses, or even godparents. For instance, the name Kate—for the formal Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge—has been enjoying a rise in popularity ever since the William and Katherine started garnering headlines, according to Nameberry. "Alice" is a popular royal name as well, chosen by Queen Victoria for her second daughter simply because she liked it. Likewise, "Amelia" and "Sophia" are popular modern names, used in royalty by the daughters of George II and George III. Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, gave her daughter the trendy name Isabella, vaguely claiming that it was the name of a 16th-century ruler.
If you love regal names but think they sound a little too old-fashioned for your newborn, consider using a nickname. After the birth of their son Henry, Prince Charles and Princess Diana announced that he would be known as Harry, a name that has stuck. Williams is referred to as Wills. Love the names Charlotte or Elizabeth but think they sound too fuddy-duddy for a young child? Consider shortening it to the affectionate Lottie or Betsy, respectively.