Saturday, 1 December 2012

The Other Royals

The British Royal Family is iconic. We all know about Prince Charles, William and Harry, maybe Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and Olympian Zara Phillips. But the Queen's family is far more extensive than those few characters, so I've decided to take a look at some of the more hidden members of the Royal Family.

Xan Richard Anders (23rd in line to the throne) - Little Lord Culloden is the son of Alexander Windsor, Earl of Ulster, and is therefore second in line to the Dukedom of Gloucester. His name is with almost all certainty derived from his father's first name. It seems out of place in a family that has, in general, very traditional names, but it seems indicative of a move towards more modern names.

Cosima Rose Alexandra (24th in line to the throne) - Lady Cosima is the daughter of Alexander Windsor (named above) and sister to Xan. Her middle names are rather pretty, although very standard. Her given name, however, like her brother's, is a somewhat unexpected choice considering the family she was born in to, although it certainly has an upper-class feel. It comes from the Greek Kosmas, meaning 'order and decency', a meaning that I can see Elizabeth II probably highly approving of.

Davina Elizabeth Alice Benedikte (25th in line to the throne) - Lady Davina Lewis is a character full of wonderful, unusual names. Of her middle names, Benedikte is the breakout star. It can be traced back to her mother's Danish roots, and it means 'blessed'. But it isn't just Lady Davina's names that draws the eye. Her husband's family haa some interesting ones, too. Although her husband's name isn't particularly note worthy, his siblings' are. He has a sister named Donelle, a feminine form of Don (ruler of the world), and a brother Hore, which I'm sure has a lot of meaning, but that I would advise to against for obvious reasons.

Tāne Mahuta (26th in line to the throne) - Son of Lady Davina, his name is influenced by his father's New Zealand roots. Tāne Mahuta is the name of a giant kauri tree in New Zealand. It means 'Lord of the Forest'. Tāne's names are unquestionably a departure from traditional Royal family names, but so are his sister's.

Senna Kowhai (27th in line to the throne) - Senna is Tāne's equally fabulously named sister. Both of her names have links to nature, with her middle coming from the kowhai trees which are native to New Zealand, and Senna is a bush known for its bright yellow flowers. For obscure nature names, Senna and Kowhai are two fantastic options.

Lyla Beatrix Christabel (29th in line to the throne) - The granddaughter of the Duke of Gloucester, Lyla has a name that is thoroughly modern and on trend, but that still has connections to royalty. The mother of the Duke of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, both have Christabel as a middle name. The name was used by Samuel Coleridge in his poem Christabel, but is found in earlier literature such as in the fourteenth century romance Sir Eglamour of Artois. And, of course, given the popularity of names with a double L sound, no family is complete without it. Lyla is considered a variant of Layla, an Arabic name meaning 'night', or perhaps the feminine form of English Lyle, 'of the island'.

Leopold Ernest Augustus Guelph (33rd in line to the throne) - His name is quintessentially British upper-class, a name you can see being given to a member of British royalty. Both Leopold and Augustus have clear links to past royal characters, including Prince Albert's uncle and a some of the sons of George III. Guelph, however, is interesting. Not only is it really fun to say, Guelph too has royalty written all over it. My first thought was that Guelph was a city in Canada, but a little bit of digging brings to light that George I was from the House of Guelph, whose members sat on the British throne until the death of Queen Victoria. It could be a fun, subtle option for royal enthusiasts.

Zenouska May (47th in line to the throne) - Her grandmother, Princess Alexandra, is the Queen's cousin and is currently the 41st person in line to the throne. Zenouska sounds Russian, but there are no sources that give definitive origins or meaning. She looks and sounds a bit like Anushka, a Russian diminutive of Anna ('grace', 'favour'), so maybe there is a connection. Her middle name is far more mainstream. It seems that Mae and May have over taken Marie as the name to stick in the middle, so it's no surprise to see it being used.

Image: Elizabeth and Philip 1953 by Cecil Beaton.