Royal baby: How are names chosen and does the Queen have to approve them?

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's second child is called Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor

Sabrina Barr
Sunday 06 June 2021 18:58
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Duchess and Duke of Cambridge step out from Lindo Wing with new son

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have welcomed their second child, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.

Their daughter was born on Friday, 4 June and the news was announced on Sunday, 6 June. She is named after the Queen – whose family nickname is Lilibet – and Harry’s mother.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that they were expecting a daughter on Valentine’s Day, 14 February 2021, following news of a miscarriage in July last year.

The couple released a sweet black-and-white photograph of Meghan and her baby bump clearly showing, as she lay on grass with her head on Harry’s lap.

Here’s everything you need to know about how a royal baby is named:

What names might have been considered for the royal baby?

If you take a look at the British royal family tree, you can see that the monarchy tends to stick to tradition when naming babies.

The most popular name for baby boys in the royal family is Albert, while the most common name among royal baby girls is Victoria.

Since Queen Victoria’s birth in 1819, there have been 12 royal babies named Albert in the family, while there have been nine Victorias over the past two centuries.

With their first child, the Duke and Duchess surprised everyone by choosing a non-traditional name, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said at the time: “I don’t think anyone of us saw either of these names coming.”

The couple may have chosen to depart from tradition as they’re further from the throne than the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

“The further down the line of succession, the more likely you are to have a more unique or un-traditional name,” said Carolyn Harris, professor of history at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies and author of Raising Royalty: 1,000 Years of Royal Parenting.

On betting website Skybet, Diana had been a “clear favourite” among bookmakers as Harry and Meghan’s daughter’s name, with Elizabeth coming second on the list. The bookies were not far wrong.

Does the royal baby name have to be approved by the Queen?

While it’s the Queen’s decision whether or not the baby will be bestowed with a royal title, the decision over the baby’s first name is a more informal discussion, royal commentator Kate Williams explained.

“The Queen has the power to say what their title is,” Williams said, when discussing the imminent birth of Prince Louis in April 2018. ”But in the case of names, it is more of an informal conversation.

“Of course they have such respect for the Queen that if she says ‘I really don’t like that name,’ they’d definitely take that into account.”

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