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The History Behind a Royal Name

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But what is the history behind those choices? As a Brit, I’ve been tied to history my whole life. We know of the ancient Celts, and the foundations of Britain. The Battle of Hastings in 1066, when William the Conqueror defeated King Harold, is common knowledge. William Wallace is well known north of the River Tweed, yet seemingly never mentioned to the south, in England. Kings of old, ancient battles, modern industrial invention, World Wars, and more. They are all intricately tied to what it is to be British, and have thousands of years of history as an island nation.

So, when a royal baby is named, it behooves one to take a look, and try to ascertain the connection between the present and the past, and potentially the future.

George is easy to understand. For those of us who absolutely love the movie “The King’s Speech” staring Mr. Darcy, I mean Colin Firth, we know that King George VI took the throne after his brother abdicated. He led the nation through World War II, just as his father, George V, led the nation through World War I.

Alexander is more interesting. I’d like to claim it was after my late father, Alexander Sutherland, who was the last in a line of Alexanders that stretched back for centuries in Scotland. However, I think I might be close. In a time when the future of Great Britiain is in question, due to the current push for Scottish independence, the name Alexander is quite likely recognition that the Royal Family is just as Scottish as it is English.

There were three King Alexander’s in Scotland, aptly names I, II and III. Alexander I ruled from 1078-1124, and was nicknamed “The Fierce.” Alexander II came almost 100 years later, ruling from 1214-1249. He was succeeded by his son, Alexander III, who reigned from 1249-1286.

As for Louis? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe we’re trying to get along with the French.

However, we should also rightly pause and consider that these were simply the names the Duke and Duchess liked, and it just so happens that there is some historical coincidence that binds the names with the history of both England and Scotland.

Regardless, should you ever meet His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge, all you need to remember is “A pleasure to make your acquaintance Your Royal Highness” and then wait for him to shake your hand. Although, that will be a few years from now.

  • Libby

    Louis from Louis Mountbatten, whom Prince Charles was very close to as a young man.

  • royalmusings

    Louis is one of William’s names.

  • royalmusings

    The name honored Charles’ honorary grandfather, the late earl Mountbatten of Burma. It is also one of Edward’s names, although Edward’s godfather was Prince Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine, whose older brother, Georg Donatus, was married to Cecilie of Greece, Philip’s sister.
    Queen Victoria’s daughter, Alice, married Ludwig IV of Hesse and By Rhine. Their eldest daughter, Victoria, married her father’s first cousin, Prince Louis of Battenberg (1st Marquess of Milford Haven) . Their daughter Alice married Andrew of Greece -they had a son Philip whose son is Charles whose son is William whose son is George

  • Lisa Gill

    How could you be confused about Louis? Not only is it the name of Lord Louis Mountbatten but it is also one of William’s names. Also Alexander is not only a nice nod to Scotland it is also the male version of Queen Elizabeth’s middle name Alexandra. Nice touch. 🙂

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