July 29, 2013
Royal Prince May Not Be The Future George VII
While the United States did fight that revolution beginning in 1776 to be an independent nation, there are still many in America that are enamored with the royal baby known as George Alexander Louis. It would seem that since he is at just a week old, third in line for the British throne, that he is destined to be King George VII.
Even the Telegraph newspaper in the UK explained the strong connection with the name.
“George had been the most heavily backed boy’s name with bookmakers almost from the moment the Duchess announced she was pregnant, and follows a line that began with George I, the first Hanoverian king, in 1660,” the paper noted. “The baby’s middle names also have strong royal connections: the Queen’s middle name is Alexandra, and Louis is one of the Duke of Cambridge’s middle names, after his father’s mentor, Earl Mountbatten, who was murdered by the IRA in 1979.”
If a “Fleet Street” newspaper could offer a story about the name than it must be — has to be — cemented in fact.
However, this American “anglophile,” who knows a thing or two about the British monarchy, would like to set the right straight.
It is true that George I, II, III and IV were in fact named George or close enough — George I was technically from Hanover, in what is modern day Germany, and his name was Georg Ludwig, anglicized to “George Louis.” And technically it was George III, the king who was known for his “madness” and who was king during the American Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812, that was first truly named “George” and not “Georg. But he was also the first of the Hanoverian Kings that likely had a true British and not German accent.
However, the royal names get a little more confusing.
Since the time of Queen Victoria, it has been common for members of the royal family to be to known by a “nickname” or one of his/her other given names. For this reason Edward VIII (Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David) was known to his family as “David.”
He was the first son of King George V, and is the king who abdicated to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson. His brother, Albert Frederick Arthur George, who was known as “Bertie” and is the subject of the movie The Kings Speech, became King George VI in honor of his father.
Both George V and George VI were second sons who never expected to become king, and Bertie took the name “George VI” in honor of his father. For the record, while Queen Victoria’s husband was Prince Albert, there has never been a King Albert in the U.K. (there was an English King Alfred, however).
The name “George” was taken to emphasize continuity with his father and as a way to restore confidence in the monarchy. Where it gets a little confusing is that there was actually another George, as Bertie’s younger brother was in fact named George. Prince George, Duke of Kent, was killed during World War II in August 1942.
All this brings us to the situation today.
Charles, Prince of Wales, is the eldest son and heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II. His full name is Charles Philip Arthur George. Philip in honor of his father, Prince Philip; George in honor of his grandfather; and who knows why Arthur, as this name doesn’t show up much in modern British history(a tie to King Arthur perhaps)?
It actually wouldn’t be that surprising were Charles to take the name King Arthur I of United Kingdom, but there is no guarantee that he’ll be Charles III.
Charles does seem like an odd choice for the royals, as Charles I was the king who lost the English Civil War and then his head. This led to a decade of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland under Oliver Cromwell — who interestingly was offered the crown by Parliament. There was no King Oliver as he took the title, The Lord Protector instead, with many of the same powers.
Cromwell’s son didn’t have the same leadership skills and Charles II returned to a restored monarchy. He wasn’t a bad king, and was known for his merry ways. However, he bore no legitimate children and, with at least a dozen illegitimate children, does sort of leave a stain that perhaps the modern royals would like not to serve as a reminder.
For this reason, perhaps Prince Charles might in fact opt for the title of George VII as a way to again emphasize the continuity with his grandfather and again restore confidence in the monarchy.
Thus, the young baby would someday be George VIII.
It is more likely the British people would embrace a George VII today than a Charles III. The former does have a ring to it.
As for Prince William, he’ll still probably be William V. But that’s another name with a colorful story.
Image Credit: Thinkstock.com