Naming the Royal Twins

PrincessMaryWithFrederikPregnant.jpgWhen announcing the birth of his baby twins outside the Danish National Hospital, Rigshospitalet, on January 8, 2011, Crown Prince Frederik jokingly said that they hadn’t decided on a name for the little ones but since he had heard that his twin son was born on Elvis’ birthday, we could call him Elvis for now.

According to tradition, the names of royal babies are not announced until their christening, three months after their birth. So, the excitement will last a few months. It is, however, highly unlikely that the royal couple will name their baby son Elvis.

The couple’s oldest son, prince Christian, had to be traditionally named as he was first born and hence first in line of succession after his father. Tradition has it that boys who are first in line of succession are named Frederik or Christian in an alternating pattern. Thus far girls who are first in line of succession have been named Margrethe.    

As Crown Princess Mary grew up in Australia, it is likely that the royal couple will choose English or Australian names for their twin babies. In 2009 the most popular names for baby boys in Australia were: 1. Jack, 2. Lachlan, 3. Cooper, 4. William, 5. Joshua, 6. Thomas, 7. Oliver, 8. Riley, 9. Noah, 10. Max, 11. James, 12. Ethan, 13. Aiden, 14. Liam, 15. Jackson, 16. Lucas, 17. Alexander, 18. Oscar, 19. Charlie, 20. Connor, and the most popular names for baby girls were: 1. Isabella, 2. Olivia, 3. Lily, 4. Chloe, 5. Emily, 6. Charlotte, 7. Ella, 8. Ava, 9. Amelia, 10. Sophie, 11. Sienna, 12. Mia, 13. Grace, 14. Ruby, 15. Zoe, 16. Isabelle, 17. Madison, 18. Emma, 19. Matilda,  20. Georgia. The royal couple’s oldest daughter is named Isabella, which explains the popularity of the name in 2009.

The Crown Prince and Princess, however, are also unlikely to pick their names from the popular lists. One factor that may play a role when choosing a name is whether the name has occurred in the English royal family. If forced to guess, I would say that Canute, Geoffry, Oliver and Timothy, traditional British royal names, may be on the list of names the couple considers for their baby prince, whereas Anne, Caroline, Catherine and Victoria, also traditional British royal names, may be on the list of potential names for their youngest daughter.

The most likely name for Mary’s little girl, however, is Henrietta. The Crown Princess’s mother Henrietta “Etta” Clark Donaldson died on November 20, 1997, when Mary was only 25 years old. Her mother never knew that her youngest daughter would become a real princess. Naming the new little princess after her grandmother would be a beautiful tribute to the memory of Mary’s mother.

The Danish Royal family does not have a last name. When a last name is required, royal women go by Regina, which means queen, and the royal men go by Rex, which means king. When Frederik met his princess during the Olympics in Sydney in 2000, he modestly introduced himself as “Fred”. The now 38-year old royal beauty says that she had no idea that the handsome young man before her was a real prince.

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