July 25, 2013

Prince's name, George Alexander Louis, steeped in history

Prince William and his wife Kate introduce the newborn to great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, and spend "private and quiet time for them to get to know their son."

The Associated Press

LONDON — The little prince has a name: George Alexander Louis.

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The newborn Prince of Cambridge, son of Prince William and his wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, will be named George Alexander Louis.

The Associated Press

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The announcement Wednesday that Prince William and his wife, Kate, had selected a moniker steeped in British history came as royal officials suggested the new parents are seeking quiet time away from the flashbulbs and frenzy that accompanied the birth of their first child.

While the news put to rest intense curiosity over what name the couple would choose, the timing and interest around it show how the 2-day-old future heir is already on his way to a lifetime of fanfare and public glare.

Kensington Palace on Wednesday said William and Kate were "delighted to announce" their son's name, adding that baby will be known as "His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge."

The name George – borne by six previous kings – befits the boy now third in line to the British throne and was a favorite among British bookmakers. It was the name chosen for his reign by Queen Elizabeth II's father, George VI, who rallied the nation during World War II.

Alexander is a name shared by three medieval Scottish kings, and the name Louis could be a tribute to Lord Louis Mountbatten, uncle to the queen's husband, Philip, and the last British Viceroy of India before that nation gained its independence in 1947. William's father, Prince Charles, was close to Mountbatten, who was assassinated by the Irish Republican Army in 1979.

The announcement of the name, just two days after the baby's birth, was quick by royal standards. Elizabeth and Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, took a month before settling on the name Charles for the Prince of Wales. Charles and his then-wife, Princess Diana, took a week before settling on William's four names.

While it is normally the case that a king rules under his given name, precedent shows that the prince is not hidebound by George. The first name of George VI was actually Albert, but he picked his fourth name to use as sovereign in honor of his father, George V.

Palace officials say William and Kate are spending "private and quiet time for them to get to know their son." Some of their discussions may revolve around figuring out how to shield him from intense public and media interest.

The young prince's relationship with the media, at least, appeared to have gotten off to a good start – a good sign for a royal family that has had tense moments with the press.

The baby slept through his first photo op Tuesday outside London's St. Mary's Hospital, while his parents beamed as they chatted easily with reporters.

"I thought, is this an Oscar-winning performance?" said Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine. "But I think they were so genuinely overjoyed that they wanted to show off the baby."

After leaving the hospital, the couple introduced their son to his uncle, Prince Harry, and to great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, who was keen to see the baby before she starts her annual summer vacation in Scotland later this week. Then they headed to see Kate's parents in their village near London – pretty much like any regular family.

There has been so much royal drama in the last few decades that it's easy to forget that William had, by royal standards, a relatively normal childhood.

His parents' troubled marriage may have ended in divorce, but Prince Charles and Princess Diana were devoted parents who tried to spend as much time as possible with their children, albeit with an assist from nannies. The queen was sometimes away on official tours for months at a time when her children were young, but Charles and Diana took William along on a tour to Australia when he was just 9 months old.

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