A look at a current news item through the lens of different titles available on GVRL.
By Michelle Eickmeyer
Here she is – HRH Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge. (I’ve yet to answer if this means William Wale’s daughters name is Charlotte Cambridge, so any insight on that is appreciated.) Three lovely names, all for important people in the lives of Prince William and Duchess Catherine.
What’s with all the names? It has been said the King Albert and Queen Victoria had aspirations to have their names continue down the throne. History (and The King’s Speech) tells us that not all kings have ruled under their given first name. Prince Albert did rule as King George, after all — though George was among his many given names. (The name someone uses for their reigning title is their regnal name.)
When Will and Kate were married in 2011 there was much speculation if Kate would accurately repeat Will’s many names back during the exchange of vows. After all, his mother Diana and his aunt Sarah (Ferguson) both botched it.
There is a clear call to history in noble naming, which feels appropriate given the ‘”without them I’d have no claim to this” quality of the role. Prince William, who the world fondly knows as Wills, full name is His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Phillip Louis, Duke of Cambridge. Prince Charles, having two titles needs a lot of space on his signature line: His Royal Highness Charles Phillip Arthur George, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall. Phew!
The women of the family, even the queen, have less naming baggage. Duchess Catherine has only one middle name, Elizabeth, as did Diana (Frances). The Queen has a mere two, HRH Queen Elizabeth Alexandra Mary.
Here are five titles that address names from different perspectives:
Charlotte was the front runner for the girl’s names when Prince George was born in 2013, perhaps most likely because it is the feminine version of Charles. But this was a previous Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III. Though she was completely uninvolved in Kingdom politics, Charlotte was a busy woman – raising her 15 children, learning English, and dealing with the constant building and remodel of the newly acquired family home… Buckingham Palace. Charlotte was a gardener, and was instrumental in the expansion of the Royal botanical gardens, known as Kew Garden. It is currently the largest collection of living plants in the world. She was also working hard on maintaining a relationship with her younger sister, Queen Marie Antoinette of France. Learn more interesting facts about Queen Charlotte in this title.
The name Elizabeth has many ties to the new princess. She shares it with her mother, maternal grandmother, and paternal great-grandmother. I would argue none are more important than another, particularly in this modern, loving family. Queen Elizabeth was not “supposed” to be queen. The abdication of her uncle, King Edward II made that possible. And though she was the first born, she is only queen because she had no brothers. (Fear not, young Princess, your parents fixed that before your brother was born.) [Please see this post for references on abdication.] She has ruled for over 60 years and has accomplished much. Get an overview of the (British) Royal Family in this title.
Before we had Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga and Amal Clooney, we had Princess Diana. Yes, there were other fashion icons – Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, even Nancy Reagan. But Princess Di broke the mold on leading fashion and fashion reporting. And while she was known for many, perhaps more significant, things, Diana loved fashion and it showed. She had a classic style that was not fussy, but still managed to be amazing. When Diana left the hospital with a baby William in 1982, she became the first of the Royal family to greet the press so soon after giving birth. (The Queen waited a month to show off herself and Prince Charles when he was born!) From that giant dress to smart suits and normal, regular-person outfits, Diana set trends and made British designers famous. Find out more of her influence in a section dedicated to her in this title.
Fashion icon. Mother. Royal. Imperfect human being. Diana was under immense pressure and unnatural scrutiny most of her life. All of her adult life, certainly. She handled it well publicly, but admitted before her untimely death that the struggle was great and she did not always prevail privately. She has admitted to cutting herself, suffering bulimia, bouts with depression and contemplated suicide. There is nothing more disempowering than feeling uncomfortable with who you are, and she suffered alone with those feelings even before her marriage to Charles. Take a deeper look at the connection between eating and image disorders and self-harm in this new Springer title.
When European trail-blazers started making North America home, the French took the north and the British took the south. Immigrants would soon follow from many countries, but early rule of what is now the U.S. was British (I know – I feel silly even writing this. Of course you know that.) Taxation, land, the value of the new American money. Every aspect of becoming an independent nation was because of or due to the British. What was the Stamp Act, and how did it lead to the start of the American Revolution? Who funded the American efforts to that war? How did federalists work to ensure we weren’t recreating old problems after the war was over? Learn more about the role of the British monarchy in the development of the U.S. in this new title.
Michelle is an “anytime!” traveler and language enthusiast. She has degrees in talking from Central Michigan and Michigan State University. She is currently becoming a runner and used to play golf in high school.