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Kate, Princess of Wales, felt ‘pressure’ as she called her children: ‘The world has been waiting’

Kate, Princess of Wales, felt ‘pressure’ as she called her children: ‘The world has been waiting’

The Princess of Wales and her three children watch the flight from the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Tropping of the Color on the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. (Getty Images)

In the royal family, names are a big deal. Rich in history and steeped in tradition – especially for those at the top of the line of succession – it’s no surprise Kate feels pressured when it comes to thinking of baby names.

During Wednesday’s engagement at Royal Surrey County Hospital – one of her first steps as Princess of Wales – Kate opened up about the difficulties she faced in choosing names for her three children.

Amy Stubbs, deputy midwifery director, said Kate confided to her that choosing their names “sound like a lot of pressure” because “the world was waiting for them to name their children.”

In the end, the Prince and Princess of Wales decided to give their children their “favorite names,” she explained.

Catherine, Princess of Wales of Britain, wears a face mask to help mitigate the potential spread of Covid-19, and talks to mother Sylvia Novak (unseen), while holding Sylvia's newborn daughter Bianca, during a visit to Royal Surrey County Hospital.  The maternity unit in Guildford, southwest London, October 5, 2022 (Photo by Alistair Grant/Poole/AFP) (Photo by ALASTAIR GRANT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Kate holds newborn Bianca while chatting with Bianca’s mother Silvia as she is a patient in the maternity unit, Guilford, 2022 (Getty Images)

In recent years, some members of the royal family have broken with tradition and chosen more exotic names for their children.

Princess Eugenie chose August, which on the surface seems like a strange choice. However, it was actually a nod to Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert. August is the modern talking about his middle name August.

GUILDFORD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 5: Catherine, Princess of Wales visits the obstetric unit at Royal Surrey County Hospital at Royal Surrey County Hospital on October 5, 2022 in Guildford, England.  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Kate holds Posey outside the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guilford. (Getty Images)

Peter Phillips and his sister Zara also went their own way, with Phillips and his wife Atom picking Savannah and Isla for their two daughters and Zara and her husband Mike choosing Mia, Lena and Lucas

Part of this has to do with the fact that they do not work for the royal family and it is unlikely that their children will play a major role in royal duties in the future.

For William and Kate, as heirs to the throne, they were expected to adhere to tradition closely.

LONDON, UK - JULY 22: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, left the Lindo ward with their newborn son at St Mary's Hospital on July 22, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Nikki Nikolova/FilmMagic)

William and Kate leave the Lindo suite after the birth of Prince George in 2013 (Getty Images)

Do baby names need the king’s approval?

The royal family does not have to get permission to give their children a particular name, but it is said that they are very inclined to listen to the opinion of the king.

Given how much the family respected the late Queen Elizabeth II, if she wasn’t really keen on the name, they might have gone the other way.

Prince Harry and Meghan decided to name their daughter Lillipet, the Queen’s family nickname when she was a child.

When the reports claimed they had not consulted the Queen about this choice, their spokesperson was quick to correct it, saying: “The Duke spoke with his family prior to the announcement – in fact his grandmother was the first member of the family to contact him.

“During that conversation, he shared with them the hope of naming their daughter Lilibit in her honor. If she hadn’t been supportive, they wouldn’t have used that name.”

Since Queen Elizabeth’s death, there have been no newcomers to the House of Windsor, but according to Hello! Charles actually played an important role in naming the royal children.

Princess Elizabeth sits in a horse-drawn carriage with her grandparents King George V and Queen Mary on the way back to Balmoral after attending church in nearby Crathe.  September 5, 1932. 00124625 (Photo by Daily Mirror/MirrorPix/MirrorPix via Getty Images)

Elizabeth, known as Lillipet in the family, as a young child with her grandparents King George V and Queen Mary Balmoral in 1932 (Getty Images)

LONDON, UK - JUNE 5: (Designed for publication in UK newspapers until 24 hours after date and time is established) Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Savannah Phillips (second row), Prince George of Cambridge and Lena Tindall (second row) attend the platinum Miss The Mall pageant at June 5, 2022 in London, England.  The platinum jubilee of Elizabeth II is celebrated from June 2 to June 5, 2022 in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II on February 6, 1952. (Photo by Max Mumbe/Indigo/Getty Images)

Four of the late Queen’s grandchildren, George, Charlotte, Savannah and Lena, talk away during celebrations for her platinum jubilee. (Getty Images)

When his sister Anne gave birth to her daughter Zara in 1981, it was Charles who suggested her name. Reportedly, this was due to the nature of her birth, which was “somewhat surprising.”

The Greek meaning of Zara is “bright as dawn” which has led some people to believe that the name Zara was also a reference to Prince Philip’s heritage.

With such a successful choice behind him, the rest of the family may be eager to get the new king’s opinion on any potential name choices.

The Prince of Wales (second from right) sons Prince William (second from left) and Prince Harry, with Zara Phillips, the Princess Royal's daughter, facing the media - including French paparazzi, during their private vacation in the Alps in Klosters.  (Photo by John Stilwell - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

Charles on a skiing holiday in Klosters with his sons William and Harry and niece Zara Phillips in 1998 (Getty Images)

Why does the royal family often use so many middle names?

Regularly, members of the royal family have multiple middle names, which are often family names honoring a relative.

Kate and William chose the middle names Alexander Louis for their eldest son, Prince George. It is said to be a tribute to both the late Queen and Lord Mountbatten.

William also has Louis as one of his middle names. George is himself, of course, a name rich in royal history: there were six of King George, the last of whom was the late Queen’s father.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 08: Prince Louis, Prince George, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge appear on the balcony during Trooping The Color, the annual Queen's Birthday Parade, on June 08, 2019 in London, England.  (Photo by Samir Hussain/Samir Hussain/WireImage)

William, Kate and their three children: George, Charlotte and Louis on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at the Tropping the Color party in 2019 (Getty Images)

Even members of the royal family who opted for less traditional first names often chose to honor their family members using middle names.

For example, Eugenie chose the middle names Philip – in honor of her great-grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh – and Hook as a reference to her in-laws.

Lena Tindall’s middle name is Elizabeth – given how close Zara was to her grandmother, it’s no surprise that she chose this traditional royal name.

In general, three of the late queen’s grandchildren were given her name as a middle name, and five of her great-grandchildren. Both William and Harry used Diana as a tribute to their late mother as names for their two daughters.

LONDON, UK - APRIL 23: (provided for publication in UK newspapers until 24 hours after date and time established) Princess Charlotte of Cambridge arrives with Prince William, Duke of Cambridge at Lindow Wing at St Mary's Hospital to visit her newborn brother on April 23, 2018 in London , England.  The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a boy at 11:01 a.m., weighing 8 pounds 7 ounces, who would be fifth in line to the throne.  (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana enters the Lindo Suite to meet her newborn brother Louis, in 2018 (Getty Images)

Regnant names

For those who will one day take the throne, the multiple middle names have another function, which may have added to the pressure on Kate and William when making their decisions.

The king could choose any of their names – the first name or one of the middle names – as their ruler’s name. This is the name they will officially use as King or Queen.

Both Charles and Queen Elizabeth chose to use their first names, but the Queen’s father decided not to use his name. Albert – or Bertie as he was nicknamed – was known as King George VI once he ascended to the throne.


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