For the average couple, naming a baby is a challenging feat. But what do Royals need to think about when naming their offspring? A lot, it turns out.
Christian Turner, our Global Head of Naming, shares his insights about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s name choice for their first son, Archie Harrison.
What is the meaning behind the name Archie?
Archie is, of course, a known quantity, stemming from the solid, time-honored Archibald, a name first brought to the UK by the Normans. Using only the diminutive version rather than the rather staid full version makes a statement about how the Duke and Duchess intend to carve their own route forwards, instead of following general royal protocol. For example, Queen Victoria’s eldest son was christened Albert Edward, always known as Bertie to his inner circle. Additionally, the young Queen Elizabeth II was Lilibet to her family, but it would be nothing short of extraordinary for the public to use this diminutive, either now or then. Archie is pioneering new ground in that sense.
Many were surprised by the casual-sounding name. Do you think the line of royal succession played a role?
With the baby seventh in line to the throne, the new parents had the space to be a little more expressive with their name choices. We see this in particular with the middle name, Harrison, which feels not only modern and perhaps celebrity influenced, but also has a sweet, playful internal meaning — he is quite literally Harry’s son.
So, while Archie Harrison might not have been what the British public was expecting, necessarily, it certainly has energy when it comes to indicating the Duke and Duchesses’ attitude to their position and role going forwards. Moreover, it’ll certainly be interesting to see what the bookies’ predictions look like next time compared to this time, should the Duke and Duchess go on to have further children.
What are the key considerations when naming a royal baby?
It’s the delicate balance between tradition and accessibility. If you look to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children, George, Charlotte, and Louis, their names are excellent examples of names that strike a balance perfectly; royal by tradition, solid in heritage, and not uncommon to hear being called in the local playground. This is common of the style of this generation of royals, who want to be more down-to-earth than their predecessors.
Considering Harry and Meghan’s child is further down the line to the throne, we already seen that the couple is not afraid to shy away from tradition.
Clearly, the royals aren’t shy about re-designating names.
William and Kate’s third child share his first name with his older brother’s third name — Louis. And Louis’s second name is the same as his cousin — Arthur. There’s quite a bit of name-sharing going on.
In any case, Prince Harry and the Duchess surprised and pleased the world with their modern and down-to-earth approach, while still maintaining the regal traditions.