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Prince William almost had very different name – but it was deemed ‘too old’



Prince William, formally known as the Prince of Wales, almost had a different first name. His mother, Princess Diana, chose the names for both William and Harry, preferring more modern names over the ones suggested by their father, King Charles. Charles had favored traditional names like Albert and Arthur, but Diana felt they were too old-fashioned.

In an interview for Andrew Morton’s book “Diana: Her True Story,” Diana confirmed her role in naming her sons. She stated, “I chose William and Harry, but Charles did the rest. He wanted Albert and Arthur, and I said no. Too old!” Although Diana picked the names William and Harry, Harry’s legal name is actually Henry. This discrepancy has historical roots, as Henry was a common name for English monarchs, often nicknamed Harry, dating back to medieval times.

Prince Harry, born on September 15, 1984, is officially named Prince Henry Charles Albert David. He has humorously acknowledged this in public, such as during a conversation with the winners of the WellChild Awards, where he mentioned, “My name is Henry as well, but everyone calls me Harry. I have no idea why.” The nickname Harry is traditionally derived from Henry, a common practice that includes notable figures like Henry VIII.

As for Prince William, when he eventually ascends to the throne, he is widely expected to become King William V. However, he could choose a different regnal name, possibly one of his middle names. This practice of selecting a different name upon becoming monarch started with Queen Victoria, who was christened Alexandrina Victoria but chose to reign under her middle name. Her son, born Prince Albert, became King Edward VII, choosing his second name over his first. Similarly, Queen Elizabeth II’s father, born Albert, reigned as King George VI, honoring his own father, George V, and maintaining continuity after the abdication of his elder brother, Edward VIII.

This tradition of selecting regnal names is rooted in creating a sense of continuity and honoring predecessors. For instance, George VI’s choice was partly to honor his father and partly to stabilize the monarchy after Edward VIII’s abdication.

In the context of these naming traditions, it is interesting to note how personal preferences and historical practices have shaped the identities of modern British royals. The choices made by Diana and Charles reflect a blend of contemporary and traditional values, influencing the public personas of their children.

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