Thursday, 7 September 2017

Royal Baby Name Focus: Alexandra


It's the royal name that just won't go away. Every time the Duchess of Cambridge announces she's pregnant, the name Alexandra crops up on the list of favourites for a girl. It was the top pick for punters in 2013 who placed bets before the first Cambridge royal baby turned out to be a boy and it more than held its own in 2015 in the flurry of excitement around Alice and eventual princess pick, Charlotte. This time round it's one of the top five names with the bookies again for a new princess so here's the low down on the reasons that  make Alexandra such a firm favourite as a potential royal baby name.



The House of Windsor loves an Alexandra and that's all because of a queen consort with the name who was actually part of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Alexandra of Denmark married Albert Edward, Prince of Wales in March 1863 and immediately showed a real knack for the popular touch. During her 38 years as Princess of Wales, she was a much loved figure, known for her love of fashion and style as well as her charitable works and devotion to her children. By the time she and her husband became King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1901, she was all but a national treasure. She saw her son, George V, change the name of the royal dynasty to Windsor in 1917 when she was queen dowager when her popularity was still sky high. Her death, in 1925, caused widespread mourning. 


Like all good royal women, Alexandra left a whole trail of princesses in her wake bearing her name. Two of her three daughters had it as a middle name - her eldest girl was Louise Victoria Alexandra Dagmar while her second little princess was Victoria Alexandra Olga Mary. Her children were all keen to honour their mother when they named their own children. Princess Louise's first daughter was called Alexandra Victoria Alberta Edwina Louise while her youngest girl was Maud Alexandra Victoria Georgina Bertha. George V's only daughter was Victoria Alexandra Alice Mary. Mummy certainly made her mark.



That carried on into the next generation with several of her grandchildren choosing the name for their own daughters. The future George VI was still Albert, Duke of York when he and his wife, Elizabeth, welcomed a little girl on April 21st 1926. The woman known to history as Elizabeth II, longest reigning monarch Britain has ever known began life as Elizabeth Alexandra Mary. Ten years later, just days after George VI had taken the throne, his younger brother George, Duke of Kent and his wife, Marina, gave their new born daughter the names Alexandra Helen Elizabeth Olga Christabel. Princess Alexandra, as we know her, is probably the most well known royal with it as a first name right now. Her daughter, Marina, has it as a middle name as does her younger granddaughter, Flora Ogilvy. 



Elsewhere in Europe, the name still has plenty of royal links. Norway's future queen is Ingrid Alexandra and can partly thank that Danish princess turned royal legend for her name, too. The eldest child of Crown Prince Haakon Magnus and Crown Princess Mette-Marit was called Alexander as a nod to her grandfather, King Olav V. He was born Alexander Edward Christian Frederik in 1903 but that was changed to Olav when his father and mother accepted the offer to become King and Queen of Norway in 1905. Mum was Princess Maud of Wales, youngest daughter of Queen Alexandra.



There are another couple of princesses called Alexandra to tick off the list before we're done. The only daughter of the Grand Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg is Alexandra Josephine Teresa Charlotte Marie Wilhelmine. Born on February 16th 1991, Princess Alexandra is fifth in line to her country's throne after finally being included in the succession in 2011. Hanover also has a princess with the name. The only child of Prince Ernst August and Princess Caroline is Alexandra Charlotte Ulrike Maryam Virginia, born on July 20th 1999.

So what are the chances of a Princess Alexandra of Cambridge if Kate's baby is a girl? It's popular with the bookies right now and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have so far picked names that have been favourites from the start. But William and Kate used the male version of the name for George Alexander Louis  so it might just be a bit too close for them to go back to for a third child. But if they do, they will be continuing a Windsor tradition that has seen a name brought from Denmark turned into a corner stone of this modern British dynasty.

Photo credits: Wiki Commons and Province of British Colombia Flickr.

1 comment: