In announcing the name of their newborn daughter, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge, Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine achieved the near impossible. By paying tribute to both sides of the family and promoting the continuity for which the monarchy is so famed, the couple received worldwide praise and resounding public approval. Their choice also ensured a scandal-free beginning for their newborn tot. By nature, William and Kate are a very traditional couple, so their decision was always going to be a conservative one, but it is one steeped in royal history and family tributes galore.
Charlotte, the feminine form of Charles, William's father's name, also happens to be Pippa Middleton's middle name. Charlotte has not been used by a member of the royal family in over two hundred years, and so chances are the couple chose it more for its familial significance than the history it evokes, but its history is an interesting one.
George III married Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (the nation's longest-serving consort after Prince Philip) on September 8, 1761 in the Chapel Royal at St. James's Palace. Kate's second pregnancy was announced on September 8, 2014, and the Chapel Royal is the likely venue for Princess Charlotte's upcoming Christening.
Coincidence? Yes, but isn't that the beauty of royal history? George and Charlotte first met on their wedding day, but regardless, theirs was a happy union complete with 15 children. Their eldest daughter, Princess Charlotte, was designated Princess Royal in 1789, a title newborn Charlotte is expected to one day assume as the eldest daughter of the reigning monarch.
In 1762 George purchased Buckingham House – the site where Buckingham Palace sits today – as a family retreat for his Queen.
George IV's only child, a daughter named Charlotte Augusta, married Prince Leopold of Saxe-
Coburg on May 2, 1816. Nearly 200 years later, May 2 now marks the date of Princess Charlotte of Cambridge's birth.
As Princess of Wales, Charlotte was an immensely popular royal figure, and her tragic death at the age of 21, mere hours after delivering a stillborn son, was widely mourned.
The youngest daughter of Earl Spencer, Diana's brother, is named Charlotte. Among William's other cousins are boys named George, Alexander and Louis – all names William chose when naming his own son in 2013.
Elizabeth was the only certainty in predicting a royal baby name. As the name of both William's grandmother and great-grandmother it seems an especially fitting choice given the Queen will become Britain's longest reigning monarch on September 9 of this year. Elizabeth also carries personal significance for the Middleton family.
It is the middle name shared by Kate and her mother Carole, as well as being the first given name of Kate's maternal great-grandmother and her great-great-grandmother.
William has always striven to include his mother in the key moments of his life, and as such the most poignant and personal of Charlotte's three names is that of her late grandmother, Diana.
Perfectly placed so as not to be a burden, it ensures Diana's memory is kept alive for the next generation of young royals. Charlotte's name honours the women most cherished in both William and Kate's lives as well as paying homage to William's father, but perhaps more importantly it also allows for her to have her own identity within the royal family.
In the unlikely event she were ever to assume the throne and chose to keep her first given name, she would become "Her Majesty Charlotte the first, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith" – but for now HRH Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge will do very nicely indeed.