The Backstory of Prince Louis' Name and Title—and How the Queen Influenced It

Wishing a happy fourth birthday to Prince Louis Arthur Charles!

Prince Louis
(Image credit: The Duchess of Cambridge via Getty Images)

Prince Louis Arthur Charles was born four years ago today, and the Cambridges have adorably let us in on his birthday celebration with some heart-melting beach snaps taken by, as ever, his mum, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Louis’ name was publicly announced four days after his birth on April 27, 2018, and it’s a name filled with meaning—it is one of Louis’ father Prince William’s three middle names, likely given in honor of Prince Charles’ mentor Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was violently killed in an IRA bombing in 1979, three years before William’s birth. Louis’ older brother Prince George also shares the name, using it as one of his two middle monikers.

As for Louis’ full title—His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Cambridge—this is only possible because of an action taken by the Queen before he was born to overwrite a rule put in place by King George V, per the Mirror.

“Back in 1917, he set out new guidance on which royals were allowed to have titles—and who was too far down the line of succession to qualify for one,” the outlet said. “He decided that all of the sovereign’s children would automatically become a Prince or Princess, as well as any grandchildren born through the male line. However, great-grandchildren weren’t included on the list.”

It was a different time, and provisions weren’t made for great-grandchildren, as was probably deemed unnecessary as monarchs typically don’t live to see 96, as our Queen has just done. The issue? Before George was born, despite being the future king, under the current rules he wouldn’t have had a title at all because he is a great-grandson of the monarch, not a grandson.

“The Queen stepped in and said that George would get a title and decided to extend the change to all of Kate and William’s children,” the Mirror said, putting all of the Cambridge kids on level playing field.

However, any children born to Prince Harry or any other royal grandkid (Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice, and so on) were not covered under this provision. That said, when Charles ascends to the throne, all grandchildren of the monarch—so, the three Cambridge kids plus Harry’s children Archie and Lili—will all automatically be entitled to be styled His or Her Royal Highness Prince or Princess. Whether Archie and Lili will utilize those titles remains to be seen. 

Rachel Burchfield
Contributing Royal Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.