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Here's why Harry and Meghan had more freedom when choosing a baby name

They were allowed to choose names that have not been borne by kings and queens.
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It's a boy!

Now that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's baby has entered the world, the couple has considerably more freedom in their choice of baby names than William and Kate did. While they may choose a royal name, their child is unlikely to inherit the throne.

As Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson did when they named their daughters Beatrice and Eugenie, Harry and Meghan can choose royal names that have not been borne by kings and queens. And as evidenced in their wedding, Meghan is likely to assert her American heritage and personal beliefs in the baby’s name.

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Diana is of course Harry’s late mother’s name and the people’s top choice of a name for Meghan and Harry’s daughter. William and Kate broke some royal ice when they used Diana for one of Princess Charlotte’s middle names, but Harry and Meghan could take that one step further by using Diana as a first name. Diana is the name of the Roman goddess of the moon and the hunt. Her Greek equivalent is Artemis, which might be an alternative choice.


Sophia-Dorothea was the name of the daughter of King George I, and that royal credibility combined with it being a long form of Doria, the name of Meghan’s mother, makes it a good bet. Greek for “gift of god,” it’s also the name of American feminist icons Dorothea Dix, a Civil War nurse and activist for the mentally ill, and Great Depression photographer Dorothea Lange.


Eleanor is an iconic name in both royal circles and American political feminism. Eleanor of Aquitaine was the powerful wife of King Henry II, with whom she had eight children including a namesake daughter. And Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of America’s longest-ruling president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was a human rights champion.


How cute would it be to have a baby royal princess named after her dad? Close Meghan Markle friend Serena Williams’ baby daughter is named Alexis, after her father Alexis Ohanian, and Harry and Meghan might take inspiration from that. Henrietta Maria of France was the consort of Britain’s Charles I and made her name fashionable in England in the 17th century, and Henrietta Lacks became an unwitting African-American heroine when her cells became the basis of decades of cancer research.



Sophia is a British royal name that’s also hugely popular in the U.S. Meaning wisdom, it’s a favored name of feminist parents. While Sophia is a name that perfectly bridges the American and British cultures, the only question is whether the couple will pronounce it with a long E or long I sound in the middle.



Alvin was the name of Meghan’s adored maternal grandfather Alvin Ragland, an antique dealer who left his house in Los Angeles to Meghan’s mom Doria. Meaning “noble friend” or “friend of the elves,” Alvin could fit in with the British trend for nickname names such as Alfie, Albie, and….Alvie.


Arthur reached favorites status for all three of Catherine and William’s children, but never made it to first place. Perhaps Harry and Meghan will choose this royal name, with shades of Camelot. Arthur is also the name of a longtime friend of the Prince’s, Arthur Landon.


James is both a royal name with a long pedigree and the name of one of Meghan’s maternal great-grandfathers. Fashionable in both the U.S. and the U.K., James is also the name of Duchess Catherine’s brother and so was largely considered off the table for that royal couple, but may be possible for Harry and Meghan.


This name that literally means aristrocratic has been well-used in the U.S. for over a century, and is notably the name for early African-American jazz legend Noble Sissle. Related choice popular in the U.S.: Royal.


Diana’s original surname could make the perfect way for Harry to honor his mother’s family. A middle name of Winston Churchill and first name of classic American actor Spencer Tracy, Spencer is in the U.S. Top 300 and ranks even higher — Number 146 — in England and Wales.

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This article was originally published in October 2018.