Could You Imagine Prince William and Prince Harry As Prince Arthur and Prince Albert? Had King Charles Had His Way, That’d Be the Reality

For better or worse, Princess Diana won out when it came to naming her sons.

Prince William and Prince Harry
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Prince of Wales’ full name is Prince William Arthur Philip Louis—but it was almost something else entirely, had his father, then Prince Charles, gotten his way.

William Diana Charles At Home

Charles, Diana, and a young William at home; had Charles had his way, William would have gone by a completely different moniker.

(Image credit: Tim Graham)

Instead, William’s mother Princess Diana won out, and William was the name chosen for the former Prince and Princess of Wales’ eldest son. Charles, The Mirror reports, wanted Albert or Arthur for his firstborn—but Diana nixed it. In an interview for Andrew Morton’s book Diana: Her True Story—released in 1992 as a biography, but revealed after her death in 1997 that it was really more of an autobiography, as Diana was a contributor to the tell-all—Diana revealed that she actually chose not just William’s name but Prince Harry’s, too (his full name is Prince Henry Charles Albert David—but more on him in a moment).

When asked who picked out the boys’ names, Diana said “I did,” and added “I chose William and Harry, but Charles did the rest [meaning the middle names]. He wanted Albert and Arthur [for the first names], and I said no. Too old!”

Diana Charles Baby William

The Prince and Princess of Wales bringing baby William home from the hospital after his birth in June 1982.

(Image credit: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Sorry, just trying to imagine William and Harry as Albert and Arthur. Anyway…

Back to Harry: in 2022, while speaking with winners of the WellChild Awards, Harry was talking with a child named Henry when he said “My name is Henry, as well,” he said. “But everyone calls me Harry. I have no idea why.”

The Mirror reports that “Harry is the diminutive form of Henry, a popular nickname that dates back to medieval England,” the outlet reports. “Most monarchs given the name Henry in the past have been nicknamed Harry, including the infamous Henry VIII.”

The more you know!

Diana William Harry Austria

Diana not only chose William's name, but Harry's, too. 

(Image credit: Tim Graham)

For the record, Albert and Arthur did end up in the boys’ (well, men now) names after all—if you’ll notice, one of William’s three middle names is Arthur, and one of Harry’s three middle names is Albert. A compromise, if you will, between Charles and Diana—but Diana, you picked well. 

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.