Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Named after a queen

Back in the 16th century, anyone who was anyone - or anyone who wanted to be anyone - had a tendency to name their little bundles of joy after the king and queen of the day.  Which is perhaps how Henry VIII came to be married to three Catherines.  The first made the name queenly again after the blush causing conduct of the first Queen Catherine of England.  And before the princess from Aragon was dispensed with, she ruled Henry's court for over twenty years meaning that a certain Miss Parr and then Miss Howard found themselves named in her honour before her honour was pulled apart in courts across London as her husband attempted to make his dishonourable intentions towards another woman honourable.  But nowadays, it's far rarer for a queen to get a nod at the font.  In fact, just one queen consort of Europe has a descendant who bears her first name as their own first name.  The rest have to make do and mend with middle mentions.

Sofia the second.  The Prince and Princess of Asturias named their youngest daughter after Felipe's mother, Queen Sofia of Spain, making her the only consort in Europe with a descendant carrying her first name as her own

Sofia, queen of Spain has had plenty of unhappy family matters to deal with in the past few years but before the turbulence really hit she became the only consort to be honoured with a namesake when her only son named his youngest daughter after mum.  The Infanta Sofia will probably never be queen regnant of Spain but she will ensure that granny's name lives on in royal circles.  Queen Silvia of Sweden came close when her eldest child put the consort's name second in the list chosen for her own firstborn child, the future queen regnant.  But Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary takes her own name with her into the history books.

Queen Silvia of Sweden with Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary, the future ruler of the country, on the occasion on Carl XI Gustaf's 40th jubilee in September 2013

Queen Sonja of Norway has four grandchildren but not one of them got her name anywhere in their own.  And the same is true of Queen Paola of the Belgians.  She has six granddaughters but none of them has Paola anywhere in their names.  But her eldest grandchild, Prince Amadeo, does.  The full name of the baby born in February 1986 before Paola became queen is Amadeo Marie Joseph Carl Pierre Philippe Paola Marcus d'Aviano and that's before his titles are added on.  The former Belgian queen is unique in having a male descendant named in her honour.

Queen Paola of the Belgians has a grandson, but no granddaughter, named after her

The new queen of the Netherlands, Maxima, shared her name with her youngest daughter in the middle mix.  Princess Ariane Wilhelmina Maxima Ines was born in 2007.  Her big sister, and new heiress to the throne, was given the name of the country's then queen regnant on her own arrival and was christened Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria.  The former queen of the Netherlands also saw her eldest grandchild given her first name as a middle name on her birth in June 2002.  Countess Eloise Beatrix Sophie Laurence is now fifth in line to the throne of the Netherlands.

The 2013 Christmas card of Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands shows her with all her grandchildren including future queen, Catharina-Amalia, and eldest granddaughter, Eloise, who both have granny's name as one of their middle names

Perhaps most surprising is the absence of Elizabeth as a first name among the British royal family.  The three children of Elizabeth II who had daughters made sure that one of them had mum's name as a middle name and the Queen's second great granddaughter also has the regal moninker hidden away.  But there are no Elizabeths as first names anywhere near the throne.  Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, Princess Royal had Zara Anne Elizabeth before Prince Andrew named his eldest child Beatrice Elizabeth Mary and Prince Edward name his first born Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary.  Peter Phillips' youngest child is Isla Elizabeth but unless Zara Tindall surprises us all and has a little Betty all of her own in a few weeks' time, there could be a long wait.  Unless the much speculated upon second pregnancy of the Duchess of Cambridge produces a Princess Elizabeth for the royals for the first time in almost 90 years.

No comments:

Post a Comment