Princess Catherine Candidly Admitted She and Prince William Felt “Big Pressure” in Naming Their Three Children

Fun fact: Prince George’s first name was almost something entirely different.

Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty)

Any parent surely feels some pressure in naming their child—after all, their moniker is such a part of who they are. But imagine having to name the future king of England, while the world anxiously waits on your decision—a name that will not only be felt during the child’s lifetime, but throughout history. Same goes for the younger siblings of the heir to the throne, whose names were similarly anticipated with fervor and excitement. Princess Catherine admitted during a royal engagement that there was “big pressure” for her and husband Prince William as they chose the names for Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, opening up in a moment of candor while visiting a hospital, The Mirror reports.

Kate and William and kids

(Image credit: Matt Porteous)

While some of the late Queen’s great-grandchildren have unique and more modern names—Savannah and Isla Phillips, the daughters of Her late Majesty’s eldest grandchild, Peter Phillips; Mia, Lena, and Lucas Tindall, the children of Zara Tindall; Sienna Mapelli Mozzi, the daughter of Princess Beatrice; and even Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, the children of Prince Harry (the latter a nod to Queen Elizabeth’s familial nickname)—William and Catherine, whether by choice or by force, went the more traditional route with their three. Catherine admitted they struggled with the pressure of choosing and announcing the names they had chosen, telling a couple during a visit to Royal Surrey County Hospital’s Maternity Unit about the difficult decisions.

Princess of Wales, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis

(Image credit: Getty)

“She just really talked about her own children, including how they chose their names,” Amy, a new mom, told People. “She said they were their favorite names, and that obviously the world was waiting for them to name their children—and that felt like quite a big pressure!”

Prince George and Kate Middleton together

(Image credit: Getty)

George actually apparently wasn’t going to be George at all—rather he was to be Alexander, royal expert Katie Nicholl said. Catherine apparently had her “heart set on” Alexander, and the couple didn’t find out whether their firstborn was a boy or a girl before the moment he was born. “Courtiers insisted the pair had not found out the sex of their unborn baby, and friends close to the couple claim William wanted a surprise,” Nicholl said. “Although Kate apparently suspected it was a boy and had her heart set on the name Alexander, they had not yet decided what to call their firstborn.” In a story previously reported on by Marie Claire, it appears it was none other than the family dog, Lupo, who (cue tears) helped William and Catherine decide on George.

Prince William and Kate Middleton introduce baby Prince George to the world

(Image credit: Getty)

Nicholl added that, during her pregnancy with the boy who would become George, Catherine referred to him as “our little grape,” and had a sneaking suspicion he was a boy because he kicked so much. George’s full name is George Alexander Louis, so Alexander did make it in after all, along with Louis, which is a middle name he shares with William and is in honor of King Charles’ “honorary grandfather” Lord Louis Mountbatten. Louis, of course, would return as a first name of the couple’s younger son; Louis full name is Louis Arthur Charles, Arthur also being a middle name of William’s and Charles—well, that’s pretty obvious. As for Charlotte, her first name is the feminine form of Charles, and her two middle names, Elizabeth and Diana, honor pretty much the two most legendary women the royal family has ever seen. 

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.