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As soon as the news of a royal baby for Duchess Meghan Markle and Prince Harry was confirmed in October 2018, bookies started predicting the odds on what the littlest royal would be named.
Now that their healthy baby boy has arrived, the world is waiting to hear what he will be named.
In compiling a list of possible names, a number of factors have to be considered, though most of the likely frontrunners are simply names that can be found in the royal family already. Despite Harry’s rebellious past and Markle’s American heritage, priority will most likely be given to these traditional family names, and the Queen will be consulted in the decision-making process. That said, many royal names include two to three middle names, so even if the first name is a traditional one, the baby’s middle names offer some opportunity to honor non-royals (such as Markle’s mother).
In addition, it’s highly improbable that this baby will inherit the throne one day, being seventh in line, which means Markle and Prince Harry have even more flexibility in naming their firstborn. The child won’t even receive the title of prince or princess, unless the Queen specifically allows for this, as she did for Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton’s children.
Keep reading to find out some of the name possibilities for the newest addition to the royal family.
Albert, the name of Queen Victoria’s beloved husband, is a similarly prominent contender for the baby’s name — online betting site Ladbrokes had it pegged during Markle’s pregnancy as the second-most likely moniker. A name with strong royal roots, Albert is also one of Harry’s middle names.
It may not be at the top of the list for baby boy names, especially since Charles is one of the middle names given to William and Kate’s youngest child, Louis, and the feminine version was given to their daughter, Charlotte. However, the name is in the running nonetheless, as it would be a nod to the role Harry’s father has played in his life, and children frequently receive their grandparents’ names.
There’s a chance the royal baby will be named after his great-grandfather, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband to the Queen of England. The name is derived from the Greek “philippos,” which means “friend of horses.”
Arthur is another name that is all over the British royal family tree, and it can be found in the middle names of Prince Charles, Prince William and now William’s youngest son, Prince Louis. It also happens to be the name of Pippa Middleton’s son, Arthur Michael William Matthews.
Still, some speculate that the odds are good for Arthur, with it being deemed as likely as Alice or Diana. In addition to the royal heritage, there’s the connection to the legendary Knight of the Round Table, King Arthur.
Prince Harry and Markle could make their son into a “Jr.” by naming him Henry, which is Prince Harry’s actual first name. It wouldn’t be unusual to name a firstborn after his father, though it might prove just slightly too traditional (perhaps even boring) for such a modern couple.
Thomas may not be as royally charged as many of the other names on this list, but it is a solid, traditional British name that is also common in the U.S.
It happens to be Markle’s father’s name as well, though the two do not have a close relationship. Still, including it somewhere in a baby boy’s name could be a sweet nod to the baby’s maternal grandfather.
As Diana’s maiden name, Spencer might be an option for the royal baby boy, especially since it’s not particularly uncommon as a first name in the U.S.
Moreover, according to the biography, “Prince Harry: Brother, Soldier, Son,” “my little Spencer” was an affectionate nickname Diana used for Harry because his trademark red hair came from her side of the family.
According to private bookmakers, Fitzdares, shortly after Markle’s pregnancy was announced, Alexander was the most likely boy name to be given to the newest royal baby, with odds set at 2-1 at the time. It’s a royal name but it hasn’t been overused among the family, making it a relatively unique pick among all the royal options. Between now and the baby’s birth, of course, those odds can change drastically.
According to Pamela Redmond Satran, co-creator of baby name website Nameberry, Markle may favor the name Alvin for a boy as a way of honoring her beloved maternal grandfather, Alvin Ragland.
“Alvin was an antiques dealer who left his house in Los Angeles to Meghan’s mom Doria,” Satran told Glamour.
The name can also be shortened to the cute and cheeky Alvie.
According to Fitzdares, the odds of a royal baby boy being named Nicholas during Markle’s pregnancy were 10-1. A noble name meaning “victory of the people,” it may appeal to the royal couple and their dedication to humanitarian work. The name has been bestowed upon numerous royals in various countries, including England’s Lord Nicholas Charles Edward Jonathan Windsor, the first cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II.
King Alfred the Great of the 9th century was a son of Queen Victoria and an important king in British history, so Alfred may well be the noble name awaiting a royal baby boy. The shortened “Alfie” is also adorable and quintessentially British.
James is a regal name that is also quite popular in the U.S. and, thus, could be a nice middle ground for honoring the baby’s mixed heritage.
The name grew tremendously in popularity in England after the 17th century when the Scottish king James VI inherited the English throne, becoming the first ruler of Britain. It is also the name of Markle’s maternal great-grandfather.
Although the heaviest bets were placed on Arthur for a boy’s name when Kate Middleton was expecting her third baby, Frederick was up there as a strong possibility as well, with odds set at 8-1 at the time.
Frederick, Prince of Wales was the father of George the III, from whom the reigning Windsors descend. It is a noble gentleman’s name, indeed, and yet would also sound incredibly cute when shortened to little Fred.
If The Royal Baby Had Been A Girl…
While we now know that Prince Harry and Markle are parents to a son, here’s what experts had their money on had the royal baby been a girl.
Naming the royal baby Elizabeth would have been an obvious way to honor the current monarch and Harry’s grandmother, with whom Markle is said to get on famously. In fact, there may be no baby name that’s more “royal” than Elizabeth, the name of the current Queen of England.
As an added bonus, Elizabeth lends itself to many cute shortened versions (Beth, Liz, Betty, etc.).
Naming a baby girl Diana would have been a sweet homage to Harry’s beloved late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. Diana was given the moniker, “The People’s Princess” for her ability and eagerness to connect with people from all walks of life. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, “Diana” won in a public vote as the name of choice for Markle and Harry’s little one.
Some have drawn comparisons between Harry’s mother and Markle, noting a shared commitment to humanitarian work and a mutual love of fashion. Then there is, of course, the women’s shared love for the same guy: Harry.
Classic and traditional, the name Anne also honors Harry’s aunt, Princess Anne, the second child and only daughter of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. An accomplished equestrian, Princess Anne has dedicated her life to public service and she was even president of Save the Children from 1970-2016.
Alexandra is the name of Queen Elizabeth’s great-grandmother, the adored Queen Alexandra of Denmark, and it is one of the Queen’s middle names. Alexandra is also the feminine version of Alexander, which is a contender for the baby boy’s name.
Had the baby been a girl, there’s a chance Markle would have wanted to honor her mother by giving the name Doria to a baby girl. Markle is quite close with her mother, so if nothing else, she may have wanted to include Doria within the several middle names given to a daughter.
Alice was reportedly a frontrunner for William and Kate’s third baby, should he have been born a girl, and some speculated that it topped the list for Markle and Harry as well.
Princess Alice was one of Queen Victoria’s daughters, and Alice is also the name of Philip’s mother, a great-granddaughter of Victoria. As Victoria Arbiter, the CNN royal commentator, phrased it when William and Kate were expecting their third baby earlier this year, “Prince Philip’s mother was quite an extraordinary woman so it would be a lovely tribute.”
The name “George” is found all over the British family tree and it was the name of Queen Elizabeth’s beloved father, King George VI.
Of course, William and Kate gave the name to their firstborn son, though the feminine version, Georgia, could have been used if Markle and Harry had had a daughter. It’s also a nod to one of those United States from whence Markle hails.
Long before she was Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, and even before she was Meghan Markle, American actress, she was born Rachel Meghan Markle. If she’d had a daughter, the newly minted duchess may choose to honor her roots by passing on her first name to a baby girl.
Plus, Rachel was the name of the character Markle played on “Suits,” so it could’ve been a nod to Markle’s previous career in a different kind of spotlight.
If the baby had been a little girl and named Margaret, she’d have had one strong and sassy namesake! Princess Margaret was Queen Elizabeth’s sister. and she was something of a “wild child” within the royal family. In fact, she was one of the most rebellious royals around — until Prince Harry came long.
Victoria was a frontrunner for a baby girl’s name, with betting site Ladbrokes marking it as the most likely option at one time. It is certainly a strong, regal name, evoking the great Queen Victoria and meaning, of course, “victory.”
Although unlikely, the name Serena could have been given to a baby girl in honor of Markle’s good friend, Serena Williams. It may not be a traditional name in Prince Harry’s family, but “Lady Serena” has a beautifully regal ring to it, doesn’t it?
Isabella is both rooted in royalty and also wildly popular in the United States. In 2017, it was among the top five most popular baby girl names in the U.S., ranking just above Sophia, another one-time royal baby name contender.
The baby would have had quite the namesake in Queen Isabella of France who became Queen of England when she married King Edward II. She was later known as a “rebel queen” or the “She-Wolf of France.”
An old-fashioned name that has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, Eleanor was considered in the running for a girl’s name. In the 12th century, Eleanor of Aquitaine was wife to King Henry II, and she was considered a formidable figure in history.
The name also calls to mind a powerful icon from American history, Eleanor Roosevelt, whose legacy of human rights activism would have proven a noble namesake for the daughter of feminist Markle.
As both a longer version of Markle’s mother’s name, Doria, and a nod to Sophia-Dorothea, the daughter of King George I, Dorothea would have ticked some boxes for both Markle and the royal family. It’s a traditional name but it’s not nearly as common as others on this list, like Anne or Mary, which would have lent a touch of the unexpected to the name.
As a sweet bonus, Dorothea is Greek for “gift of God.”
The feminine version of Henry, Henrietta would have been a nice way to pass along Harry’s first name to the couple’s firstborn if they’d had a girl. Henrietta is also an old-fashioned name that has been popular in the American South, so it would have paid homage to the baby’s roots on both sides of the pond.
More than any other royal couple, Markle and Prince Harry walk the line between traditional obligation and modern-day values, so for a baby girl, Sophia would have been that perfect blend of old and new.
The name has been favored among royals in the past, and yet, it has also seen a huge surge in common popularity in recent years — particularly in the United States where it was the fifth-most popular girl name in 2017. Sophia has a regal ring to it, though it can also be adorably shortened to Sophie.
Ultimately, the name Mary might have been considered too plain for the baby of this lively, modern couple. There’s a simple elegance to Mary that could have appealed to Markle, in particular, and it also has great significance in the royal family, as Queen Mary was married to King George V.