Does the Queen approve royal baby names?

·3-min read
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

The Queen is no ordinary head of the family; she's head of the royal family and state, and this affords her privileges and powers that most other grandmothers don't have. But, how far do her decision-making powers stretch?

After the happy news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle welcomed a baby girl, Lilibet 'Lili' Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, many people have been asking whether the Queen would have had to approve the new addition's name.

And, the answer is, that while it’s the Queen’s decision whether or not the baby will be bestowed with a royal title, the decision over the baby’s first name is a more informal discussion, royal commentator Kate Williams explained to CNN.

'The Queen has the power to say what their title is,' Williams told the news network. 'But in the case of names, it is more of an informal conversation.

'Per royal protocol, members of the royal family typically share the name they have chosen for their child with the Queen before announcing it.'

She added: 'Of course [the royal family] have such respect for the Queen that if she says "I really don’t like that name," they’d definitely take that into account.'

The name Lilibet is a tribute to the Queen herself (who was affectionately known as 'Lilibet' by her parents, sister Margaret and late husband Prince Philip who passed away in April).

The Queen's nickname goes back to when she was too young to pronounce her own name, calling herself ‘Lilibet’ instead. As a young royal she would sign letters using the shortened version of Elizabeth.

However, there are some baby-naming rules that royal family members do normally adhere to.

Many royal babies do not have a surname

Like most royals, royal babies typically do not have a surname. However, there are some exceptions, such as in the case of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s son Archie, who was given the last name Mountbatten-Windsor, the name used by members of the royal family without a title.

Unique names are allowed further down the line of succession

Many members of the royal family share names, proven by the fact that there have been no less than 12 royal babies named Albert in the family since Queen Victoria’s birth in 1819 and nine Victorias over the past two centuries.

However, as a general rule, the further down the line of succession, the more acceptable it is for a royal to grant their child a unique name.

'The further down the line of succession, the more likely you are to have a more unique or untraditional name,' Carolyn Harris, author of Raising Royalty: 1,000 Years of Royal Parenting, told Vogue.

Princess Eugenie is 10th in line to the throne, with her son August in 11th place, so it is likely she and her husband were given more freedom with the baby’s name.

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