NETTY ROYAL

Royal Names

The year is only two months old and already now several royal babies have been born and even more are expected in the coming months. Archduke Simeon of Austria and his wife Maria became the proud parents of their fourth child and second daughter on January 16 and called her Carlota, after her grandfather Carlos who celebrated his birthday on the day she was born. Two other archdukes and their wives expect a child later this year, while also two births are expected in the royal house of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. And in the royal family of France even four births are expected, if you also count the female line: the Duke of Angoulême and his wife Marie-Liesse, the Duke of Chartres and his wife Ileana, as well as their cousins Count Bruno de Limburg-Stirum and his wife Christine and Hereditary Count Damian von Schönborn-Buchheim and his wife Deirdre.

April and May will be very busy months. Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her husband Ari Behn are looking forward to the birth of their first child at the end of April or the beginning of May, while Princess Alexia of Greece and her husband Carlos Morales Quintana expect their second child in May. Another baby expected that month is the fifth child of Princess Astrid of Belgium and her husband Archduke Lorenz of Austria-Este. In Spain Bruno Gomez-Acebo, a nephew of King Juan Carlos, and his wife Barbara have announced the birth of their first child. In August Princess Alexandra zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, daughter of Princess Benedikte of Denmark and her husband Richard, and her husband Count Jefferson-Friedrich von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth expect their second child. And last but not least in February it was announced that Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium's daughter Elisabeth will get a little brother or sister early in September.

On March 2 Lady Helen Taylor, 26th in line to the British throne, gave birth to a daughter. Considering the fact that her sons got the pretty unusual names Columbus and Cassius, it is wildly speculated what the name of the newborn baby girl will be. Speculations vary from Célia or Coco to Cassiopeia or Cleopatra, as the C is highly favoured. While Lady Helen Taylor and her husband Timothy Taylor have chosen quite unconventional names so far, royals are still very conservative in choosing names. Babies are often named after the grandparents, great-grandparents or celebrated ancestors. For example in the Dutch royal family the firstborn son of a monarch or crown prince traditionally gets the first name of Willem, while in Denmark the Frederiks and Christians succeed each other already for several hundreds of years. In Great Britain traditional names are for example George, Henry, Charles, Edward, William, Elizabeth, Anne and Mary.

It will really be interesting to see what names the present and the next generation will give to their children. In mediatised houses and noble families it is noticed that children already more and more get popular names instead of traditional ones, so it wouldn't be so strange if the royal houses would follow also in the future. But let's be honest, one family most likely will never change its name giving. Already since the end of the 12th century all male members of the princely family Reuss are named Heinrich, in honour of Emperor Heinrich VI, who granted a member of the family with some property. To make distinction between the male members, they have a Roman numerals behind their name and most of them have a nickname, which I suppose is very handy if there is a family gathering.

Netty Leistra
Royal Watch
March 2003

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