The Royal Family's Middle Names Explained

A person's name holds plenty of importance, which means choosing the right moniker for someone can be a stressful experience. And the pressure to pick the best name for a baby is heightened if you happen to be a royal family member. With plenty of eagle-eyed fans keeping tabs on their favorite members of the monarchy, there's no question that a royal's name will be heavily dissected — this includes their middle names.

As PureWow noted, having two middle names is pretty typical for those born into the royal family. It's quite common for various royal family members to share the same middle names, as many of their monikers are intended to pay tribute to specific family members or past royals. With plenty of significance given to royal middle names, it's understandable that many fans may want to know the meanings behind these monikers.

Many royal family members use Elizabeth as a middle name

When it comes to the royal family, traditions play an important role in choosing the perfect middle names. According to Town & Country, Three of the late queen's granddaughters use the name Elizabeth as one of their middle names: Zara Anne Elizabeth Tindall, Princess Beatrice Elizabeth Mary, and Lady Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary Mountbatten-Windsor.

The moniker has also continued down to the late ruler's great-granddaughters, as People reported. Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales, named their firstborn Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi followed suit and named their firstborn child Sienna Elizabeth Mapelli Mozzi. Zara and her husband Mike Tindall named their second daughter Lena Elizabeth Tindall. Similarly, Zara's brother Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn Kelly named their second daughter Isla Elizabeth Phillips. Using Elizabeth as a middle name is certainly a popular choice among the royals.

The late queen's middle names paid homage to family members

On April 21, 1926, Queen Elizabeth II was born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary. While her parents decided to name her after her mother (Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon), she was given the middle name Alexandra, as noted by Marie Claire. This was meant to honor another royal, Princess Alexandra of Denmark. Queen Elizabeth II's grandfather, Edward VII, married Princess Alexandra in 1861, and together the couple had six children. The outlet noted that the late ruler's grandmother, Princess Alexandra, unexpectedly died of a heart attack just a year before Queen Elizabeth II was born. 

The late monarch's second middle name, Mary, is believed to be an homage to Queen Elizabeth II's paternal grandmother, Queen Mary, or Mary of Teck. Queen Elizabeth referred to her as Granny, as an old letter shows, just as Queen Elizabeth's own grandchildren would go on to refer to her.

Both of Prince William's middle names are tributes

Prince William was born His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis on June 21, 1982 (via Cosmopolitan). According to Express, this popular royal's middle names hold plenty of significance. The prince's first middle name, Arthur, was reportedly chosen by King Charles III (then Prince Charles). He is said to have selected the moniker due to its association with King Arthur.

As for Philip, this name is meant to be a heartfelt tribute to the king's father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Finally, the name Louis is believed to have been meant to honor the king's paternal uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, who died in an IRA attack in 1979 (per Express).

Princess Eugenie's middle names have ties to the Victorian era

Royal family member Princess Eugenie Victoria Helena was born to Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson on March 23, 1990 — and her full name is full of significance. First, it is a tribute to Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, who was the daughter of Princess Beatrice of the U.K. Princess Eugenie's namesake also became the Queen of Spain after she married King Alfonso XIII. Her middle name Victoria also honors Queen Victoria.

According to Good Housekeeping, the moniker means "victory" in Latin. Lastly, the princess' second middle name, Helena, pays tribute to Queen Victoria's third daughter, Princess Helena of the U.K. In Greek, the name Helena means "light" or "bright," per Good Housekeeping.

Princess Charlotte's second middle name is especially significant

While Princess Charlotte's first name pays tribute to her grandfather, King Charles III, as it is the feminine version of his name, Princess Charlotte's middle names, Elizabeth Diana, honor her great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and her late grandmother, Princess Diana, respectively. According to sources, it took the Prince and Princess of Wales two days to pick out the monikers for their daughter — they also discussed their top picks with other royal family members (via Vanity Fair).

Simone Simmons, a close friend of the late princess, told Vanity Fair, "Diana would be over the moon. It's William's way of honoring his mother's memory. A way of making sure Diana's legacy lives on." She continued, saying, "This way she will never be forgotten. When Diana was alive, William promised her when he was King [that] Diana would have her HRH restored. This is his way of doing it."

Lilibet Diana's name honors important family members

As stated by The Guardian, plenty of royal fans were curious to know the baby's name when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their second child (and first daughter) into the world. Once her name, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, was officially released to the public, fans of the royal family were thrilled by the apparent tributes. 

Lilibet was the nickname of the late Queen Elizabeth II, while Diana is, of course, the name of Harry's late mother. This means that Lilibet and her cousin, Princess Charlotte, share the same middle name, both of which are meant to honor their late grandmother, Princess Diana. Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales, clearly approved of the name choice and shared their congratulations on social media. "We are all delighted by the happy news of the arrival of baby Lili," they wrote upon her birth in June 2021.

Prince Louis' middle names are clearly meaningful

As noted by Time, the Prince and Princess of Wales didn't keep royal fans waiting too long before officially announcing the name of their third child. Just five days after his birth, Prince William and Kate Middleton's official Twitter account revealed the newborn's title to the world: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to announce that they have named their son Louis Arthur Charles." The prince's first name was considered surprising and not one of the leading choices among speculators. Still, despite coming as a shock, Prince Louis' full name isn't lacking when it comes to holding special significance.

For example, King Charles III's great-uncle Lord Mountbatten was called Louis, and the name has appeared more than a few times throughout the royal family tree. Time explained that Prince Louis' first middle name, Arthur, has a much more obvious significance. According to Harper's Bazaar, the name Arthur was previously considered a top choice among people placing bets on what the prince's first name would be. Likewise, the name Arthur has clear connections to the legendary King Arthur and ties to the royal family. The moniker (which means "bear" in Celtic) is not only one of Prince William's middle names, but is also one of the middle names of his father, King Charles III. The prince's second middle name, Charles, celebrates Prince William's father, King Charles III.

Princess Anne's three middle names all hold significance

When it comes to royal family members with poignant names, Queen Elizabeth II's only daughter, Princess Anne, cannot be forgotten. Princess Anne, also known as Princess Royal, is the second child of the late queen and the late Prince Philip. As reported by Today, Princess Anne was born on August 15, 1950, just a year and a half before Elizabeth became the U.K.'s ruling monarch. As a baby, she was christened as Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise. 

As noted by the Daily Mail, the late sovereign chose to give her only daughter Elizabeth one of her middle names, in keeping with royal tradition. Princess Anne and her mother were very close, and the princess was even at her mother's bedside during her passing. Express explained that Princess Anne's second middle name, Alice, is likely a tribute to the late Prince Philip's mother, the former Princess Alice of Battenberg, who later became the Princess of Greece and Denmark. She was also Anne's godmother. As for the name Louise, it's believed that this moniker is meant to honor the queen's grandmother, Queen Mary, as Louise was one of her middle names as well.

Prince George's middle names reference royal family members

As noted by Hello! magazine, William, Prince of Wales, and Catherine, Princess of Wales' eldest royal child, Prince George Alexander Louis, was born on July 22, 2013. The prince's first middle name, Alexander, is a moniker honors Queen Elizabeth II by using the male version of her first middle name, Alexandra.

Prince George's second middle name, Louis, honors his father, Prince William Arthur Philip Louis. The moniker also pays tribute to one of the prince's relatives, Lord Louis Mountbatten. Nevertheless, according to Yahoo! Life, Princess Catherine didn't have the easiest time picking her children's names. Amy Stubbs, the deputy director of midwifery, revealed that Catherine had confided in her, saying she'd felt plenty of pressure when choosing the names. As a result, Stubbs commented that the Prince and Princess of Wales ultimately decided to go for the monikers they liked best.

Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor's middle name honors his dad

In May 2019, Prince William and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, officially revealed the name of their firstborn son, much to the delight of fans. As noted by Time, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's son's name was revealed to be Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor

Archie, which is a nickname for the more formal Archibald, is a moniker that dates all the way back to Middle Ages-era Scotland. Archie's middle name, Harrison (the child's only middle name as opposed to the traditional two), was quite an unexpected choice, former president of the American Name Society and psychology professor at Bellevue University, Cleveland Evans, told Time. "It's highly unique to the royal family that they would use something that is basically a surname as part of the child's given name," he said. The name Harrison quite literally means "son of Harry," and thus the baby's middle name honors his father.