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Naming your little prince or princess
Every parent is excited to reveal the perfect name for their new baby, but when a prince or princess is born, entire nations eagerly wait for the announcement. Royal families have to be extra careful when choosing a baby name, balancing their favorites with history and tradition. Here are some of the most interesting and storied names from the European monarchy.
George Alexander Louis, Prince of Cambridge, is the littlest prince on our list, born in London on July 22, 2013. Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge – popularly known as Will and Kate – are the proud parents.
Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, born May 2, 2015, is the youngest member of British royalty on our list and Will and Kate's second child. There have been several Charlottes in the British royal family over the centuries. The first was Queen Charlotte, who became the wife of King George III in 1761.
Elizabeth is an iconic name for the modern-day British monarchy, belonging to the Queen Mother (who died in 2002 at the age of 101) as well as her daughter, the reigning Queen Elizabeth II. In Belgium, King Philippe's oldest daughter – and next in line for the throne – is Princess Elisabeth.
Charles has long been a popular name among royals. It dates back to the 17th century in England, where Charles I ruled from 1625 to 1649, and goes even further back in French and Spanish history. And let's not forget the most well-known modern-day royal who sports the name: Charles, Prince of Wales, first in line to inherit the throne of Queen Elizabeth II.
Queen Margrethe (Margaret) II is the current ruler of Denmark. Princess Margaret (who died in 2002) was the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II of England.
One royal enjoyed the titles James VI of Scotland and James 1 of England. He ascended the Scottish throne in 1567 at the tender age of 13 months when his mother, Mary Queen of Scots, was forced to abdicate in his favor. When his ally Elizabeth I of England died, he became ruler of that kingdom as well. He was king of Scotland for 58 years and of England for 22 years.
This King James is most remembered today for his connection with the King James Bible, which became the standard text for Protestant churches.
Queen Sofía of Spain was born a princess of Greece and Denmark and became queen of Spain in 1975 when her husband, Juan Carlos I, was crowned. Parents have become enchanted with the name: In 2013, Sophia was number one on BabyCenter's list of most popular baby names for girls.
Philippe is the reigning King of Belgium. The name has also appeared throughout French and Spanish history. In modern times, it graces Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II. Born in 1921, he also has the distinction of being the oldest-ever male member of British royalty.
Queen Victoria assumed the British throne in 1837 at the age of 18 and reigned for nearly 64 years – longer than any other British king or queen and longer than any female monarch in history. (Her great-great granddaughter Elizabeth II may break that record, however, having held the same throne since 1952.) The "Victorian era" refers to Victoria's many years on the throne, a time of enormous cultural, political, and scientific change in Great Britain.
Prince Albert II is the modern-day ruler of Monaco. Because Monaco is a principality, his title is the equivalent of a king's. The husband of Great Britain's Queen Victoria was also named Albert. His official title was Prince Consort.
Queen Catherine de Medici (Caterina de Médici), born into a noble family in Italy in 1519, married into the French royal family at the age of 14. Her husband later became Henry II of France. All three of her sons were kings of France during her lifetime, and one of her biographers called her the most powerful woman in 16th-century Europe. The modern-day Duchess of Cambridge and mother of Prince George is another Catherine – popularly known as Kate.
Princess Estelle of Sweden, born in 2012, is the daughter of the Swedish Crown Princess Victoria and her husband Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. This French name is derived from the Latin word for "star."