Well…I don’t think anyone saw this one coming. It was announced earlier today by Kensington Palace that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge decided to name their third child Louis Arthur Charles.
Louis is a Windsor name in a roundabout sort of way, though I have a feeling the biggest motivating factor here was that William and Kate just liked it. The last “Louis” in the Royal Family was Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma. He was a grandson of Queen Victoria’s third child, Princess Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse, and the younger son of Victoria of Hesse, Marchioness of Milford Haven – as such he was a brother to Alice of Battenberg, Princess of Greece and Denmark and uncle to the Queen’s husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Louis is often given credit for positioning Philip as a potential husband for the then-Princess Elizabeth.
More importantly, Louis was a larger-than-life influence on both Prince Philip and later, the Prince of Wales, taking on an honorary grandfather position in the latter man’s life. One of William’s middle names is in fact Louis, while we got a sense that William and Kate liked it when they bestowed it as a middle name on Prince George in 2013.
William never knew Louis Mountbatten, but many see this as a nod to a man who had out-sized importance to his own father and grandfather. Whether it is in fact that we don’t know, but I’m personally pleased that “Charles” was given as one of the middle name.
As I stated earlier this week, I was hoping for another Prince Philip, but alas. There’s always Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s children…:)
UPDATE: Um, plot twist – it’s now being reported that Charles returned to Scotland on Wednesday after attending Anzac Day services in France and thus has still not met his new grandson. This has raised old speculation of tension between Charles and William, including the access the latter allows the former to the Cambridge children. A few years ago it was reported that Charles was miffed that he wasn’t allowed to see his grandchildren more, and that the Middletons spent so much time with them in comparison. To put those rumors to bed, Charles placed a photo of himself with George in the background of a video message Clarence House posted on behalf of one of his charities.
I don’t know the answer as to whether there’s smoke to this particular fire, though I will say when narratives like this continue pop up there’s usually at least a kernel of truth to it. The comparisons to the Middletons are unhelpful given that Kate’s parents are largely retired and thus have by far more time to devote themselves to day-to-day care of George, Charlotte and now Louis. As we saw earlier this week, Carole Middleton sometimes pitches in on school runs – that will obviously never be Charles’s role. He carries out several hundred engagements each year, many of which require foreign travel.
As for his relationship with William, well, I personally hope that this is much ado about nothing, but that’s really neither here nor there. But Mail columnist Richard Kay, who has been doing this for a while, wrote:
‘When it suits him, William can be friendly and welcoming, but he can also be aloof and icy,’ says a close figure. ‘With his father, he can be cordial or effusive, especially if he wants more money, as he did for work on Anmer Hall – his house in Norfolk. He dispenses niceties like he is the owner of a sweet shop to a small child.’
Yikes. Let’s hope that Charles’s absence is for more mundane reasons, such as there’s a happy understanding he will visit next week when things have died down. Certainly the inclusion of “Charles” in the new baby’s name doesn’t speak to animosity, so let’s assume the best of everyone until we hear otherwise.
Anyway, this weekend marks the Cambridges’ seven-year wedding anniversary – and what a milestone it is with a new baby in the house! I’ll have something up about that on Sunday and there are a couple historical posts slated for the coming days. As for our modern royals, Princess Charlotte’s third birthday is on Wednesday and I am going to be holding out hope – even if it is a longshot – that we get a group shout of all three kids. There aren’t any engagements on the horizon for Meghan, while Kate is obviously out of commission on maternity leave, but we are officially just three weeks out from the royal wedding as of tomorrow so we’re getting down to the wire!