King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla Wanted Catherine to Change the Spelling of Her Name Because There Were Already Too Many “C” Names in the Royal Family

That’s just one of many mentions the Princess of Wales gets in Prince Harry’s memoir.

Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty)

Even though she was born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, Charles and Camilla once wanted the Princess of Wales to spell her name “Katherine” because there were already too many “C” names in the royal family, Prince Harry writes in his forthcoming memoir, Spare, out on Tuesday.

The Daily Mail reports that Charles and Camilla’s logic was that the abundance of names beginning with the letter C “would cause confusion, especially when it came to their cyphers—the personal monogram of a member of the royal family,” the outlet reports.

The book also divulges Charles’ bizarre obsession with Catherine’s hair, revealing that the now King “had ‘often spoken’ of how lovely it was.” (I mean, he’s not wrong.) Harry also writes that both his father and his late grandmother the Queen preferred “women with their hair down” and wearing minimal makeup. That’s why Harry’s future wife, Meghan Markle—when meeting Charles and Camilla for the first time at their home, Clarence House—adopted the hair down, minimal makeup look as they ate crumpets with marmite and salmon sandwiches together.

In addition to the “Catherine/Katherine" vignette—spoiler alert: Charles and Camilla didn’t win that one—Catherine gets other mentions throughout Spare, most of them negative. Harry claims Catherine (and his brother, Prince William) encouraged him to wear a Nazi uniform to a party in 2005, and that Catherine was upset over Meghan saying she had “baby brain” during a phone call in the leadup to Harry and Meghan’s wedding in 2018. Later, when the two couples met for tea at Kensington Palace, Meghan apologized and said that is how she speaks to her friends.

William “pointed a finger” at Meghan and said “Well, it’s rude, Meghan. These things are not done here,” to which Meghan replied “If you don’t mind, keep your finger out of my face.” Catherine, who had just given birth to Prince Louis in April 2018, said “You talked about my hormones. We are not close enough for you to talk about my hormones.”

Harry also recalled an “awkward moment” when Meghan asked Kate to borrow lip gloss ahead of a joint appearance in 2018. “Kate, taken aback, went into her handbag and reluctantly pulled out a small tube,” Harry writes. “Meg squeezed some onto her finger and applied it to her lips. Kate grimaced.”

Harry continued that the foursome “should’ve been able to laugh” about the moment, but the press sensed it was something bigger, and Catherine was on edge that she was now “going to be compared to, and forced to compete with, Meg.”

Harry also addressed the infamous fight between Catherine and Meghan during a bridesmaids’ dress fitting for Princess Charlotte, writing that Catherine texted Meghan the week of the wedding about a “problem” with Charlotte’s dress, saying it was “too big, long, and baggy” and that Charlotte had “burst into tears when she tried it on.” Harry wrote that the dresses had been hand-sewn based on measurements, so it made sense that they would need alterations, but Catherine allegedly insisted that the dress be remade from scratch.

Harry “claims Meghan told Kate to bring Charlotte to the Palace, where a tailor was waiting to perform alterations for all six of the bridesmaids, and she eventually agreed,” The Daily Mail reports. “Harry wrote that he later found Meghan in tears ‘on the floor’ over the disagreement, but the next day Kate apologized, bringing over flowers and a card.”

This all comes right before Catherine’s forty-first birthday, which is Monday. Spare is released to the public the next day. 

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.