Why the Royals don't go potty for Lotty

Published: 20 April 2015 at 13:58

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge unlikely to name baby Charlotte – Anglia Ruskin historian.

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Despite featuring high on the list of the public’s favourite names if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a daughter, a royal expert at Anglia Ruskin University says that Charlotte is unlikely to feature – even as a middle name.

Although Alice is currently the frontrunner with the bookmakers, Charlotte is joint second favourite, alongside Elizabeth, in the event of Kate giving birth to a girl.

However, Clarissa Campbell Orr, historian at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge and an expert on the Hanoverians, believes the fate of previous Charlottes will make the name effectively off-limits to William and Kate.

Campbell Orr, who is also President of the Society for Court Studies, said:

“There is a popular tide of opinion hoping that if it is a daughter she will be named Charlotte.  However, from the point of view of the Royal Family, this is unlikely to be a particularly favourable name."

“George III’s wife, Sophie Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, was a very successful consort and weathered the disturbing episode of her husband’s apparent madness, although her hair turned white with shock."

“Her eldest daughter, Charlotte Princess Royal, married a Duke of Württemberg in Germany.  After Napoleon took troops into Germany and reorganised its political structure, she became Queen of Württemberg, but this was not favoured by the British Royal Family, who regarded Napoleon as a vulgar upstart with no authority to create monarchs."

“Charlotte, Princess of Wales and grand-daughter of George III, was hugely popular.  She married Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg in 1815, but died tragically two years later of post-partum haemorrhage after giving birth to a still-born boy."

“The mourning was intense and nationwide, a precedent for similar grief after Diana Princess of Wales.  Since then no monarch has christened a daughter Charlotte and I doubt it would be even a second name because of its unhappy connotations."

“Alice and Elizabeth are both names that have featured more recently in the Royal Family and William and Harry, as well as Charles Prince of Wales, were particularly close to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.  It is likely that Elizabeth would be among the names.”

Even though the new baby will fall into the category of “spare to the heir”, Campbell Orr believes its birth will be warmly welcomed in Cambridge, as well as attracting global interest.

She added:

“Now that the law of succession to the throne has been amended so that birth order takes precedence over gender, there is no constitutional significance as to whether the baby is a boy or a girl.  He or she will follow Prince George in the line of succession as number four."

“However a great many people in Cambridge – and all across East Anglia – will be taking a special interest in the second child of ‘their’ Duke and Duchess, and will be hoping for an easy and safe birth of a healthy child.”