What’s in a royal name? Lots of tradition

 
 
Prince William the Duke of Cambridge holds his new-born baby boy in front of the world's media outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in London on July 23, 2013. The baby was born on Monday afternoon weighing eight pounds six ounces (3.8 kilogrammes). The baby, titled His Royal Highness, Prince (name) of Cambridge, is directly in line to inherit the throne after Charles, Queen Elizabeth II's eldest son and heir, and his eldest son William.  AFP PHOTO / POOL / John StillwellJOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images
Prince William the Duke of Cambridge holds his new-born baby boy in front of the world's media outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in London on July 23, 2013. The baby was born on Monday afternoon weighing eight pounds six ounces (3.8 kilogrammes). The baby, titled His Royal Highness, Prince (name) of Cambridge, is directly in line to inherit the throne after Charles, Queen Elizabeth II's eldest son and heir, and his eldest son William. AFP PHOTO / POOL / John StillwellJOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images
JOHN STILLWELL / AFP/Getty Images

LONDON (AP) – When it comes to the Prince William and his wife Kate’s new baby boy, choosing just one name won’t do. You need about three or four.

Just ask the father, William Arthur Philip Louis. Or the grandfather, Charles Philip Arthur George. Or the great-grandmother, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary.

“I think because the child is going to be the third in line to the throne, they have to maintain all this tradition,” said Pauline Maclaran, a professor of marketing and consumer research at Royal Holloway and the co-author of the upcoming book, “Royal Fever: The British Monarchy in Consumer Culture.”

“They’ll go for three or four names and … be able to make the right nod to the right people,” she said.

And it can’t just be any old moniker, either. It has to have some gravitas: Noble names are steeped in history, which explains why, as royal baby fervor mounted in recent days, thousands of bets rolled in to British bookmakers for James and Alexandra.

Albert Mehrabian, a professor emeritus of psychology at UCLA and an expert on names, firmly voted for James – which far outdistanced George in the popularity stakes.

“Names make impressions, good and bad,” he said. “Among all the names I’ve studied, James rated the highest.”

The name can also take on cultural significance. Arthur, the middle names of both Prince Charles and Prince William, evokes the legendary King Arthur and tales of chivalry – a favorite theme ingrained in British literature.

Edward VIII, who abdicated in 1936, was christened Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David – the last four were patron saints of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales respectively.

The public may have to wait, though. It is not uncommon for the palace to take its time to choose just the right name.

But is it possible that William and the former Kate Middleton might break with tradition and call their child something trendy and unexpected? The grandchildren of Princess Anne, the queen’s only daughter, are called Savannah and Isla.

But those closer to the throne normally don’t have such freedom.

“They’ll try and choose something that reflects tradition acceptable to their peer group,” Maclaran said.

That probably excludes John Paul George Ringo.

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • As seen on TV

    Attack of Sharknado 2: Oh yeah, there’s another one

    The idea of making a movie about a tornado that scoops up thousands of sharks and sends them flying through the air to chomp their way through a bevy of people, places and things sounds totally ridiculous. That didn’t stop Syfy from moving ahead with Sharknado, a movie that became a pop culture phenomenon last year. The mania reached such a fevered level that a sequel, Sharknado 2: The Second One, was ordered. It premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday on Syfy.

  • Allison Williams headed skyward as NBC’s Peter Pan

    NEW YORK (AP) – NBC has picked its Peter Pan: high-flying “Girls” star Allison Williams.

  • Celebrity birthdays on July 30

    Director Peter Bogdanovich is 75. Singer Paul Anka is 73. Saxophonist David Sanborn is 69. Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is 67. Blues singer Otis Taylor is 66. Actor Ken Olin is 60. Actress Delta Burke is 58. Actor Laurence Fishburne is 53. Actress Lisa Kudrow is 51. Actress Vivica A. Fox is 50. Actor Terry Crews is 46. Director Christopher Nolan is 44. Actor Tom Green is 43. Actress Christine Taylor is 43. Actress Hilary Swank is 40. Actress Jaime Pressly is 37. Actress Yvonne Strahovski is 32.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category