Saturday, June 29, 2013

Alexandra: here's why

I don't have any inside details on the sex, weight, date, or color of hair for the soon-to-be born royal baby.

In 1982, when I was a news librarian with the Associated Press in New York City, I won the office pool.  I was the only person to get the date of birth, the sex and the name. 

No office pools this time, and I am not offering any bets for date or sex.  Name, perhaps.  George is a really good choice for a boy.  A good solid regnal name.  George VI was much loved.  George V was a solid monarch who reigned through very difficult times.  

William and Catherine are largely traditionalists.  It seems likely that their children will have largely traditional royal names.    I am partial to Victoria, but the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge could name the baby Elizabeth or Charlotte or Eleanor or even Mary.

Punters have decided that Alexandra will be the first name.  No quibbles from me.

The first Alexandra in the Royal Family was Princess Alexandra of Denmark, who married the future Edward VII in 1863.  The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh named their third daughter, Alexandra, born in 1878.  (It is possible that she was named for her maternal grandfather, Alexander II of Russia.)

Queen Alexandra's eldest granddaughter, the first child of Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife, was given the first name Alexandra.  She was styled Lady Alexandra Duff until 1905 when King Edward VII upgraded Alexandra and her sister Maud to princess with the style of Highness.  This was soon after Louise was named as Princess Royal.

In 1912,  Alexandra became the Duchess of Fife in her own right, as HH Duchess of Fife, succeeding her father.  A year later, she married her mother's first cousin, HRH Prince Arthur of Connaught.  The Duchess' new style was HRH Princess Arthur of Connaught.

The Duke and Duchess of York named their first daughter, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, honoring the infant princess' mother, great-grandmother and grandmother.

Alexandra was the name chosen by the Duke and Duchess of Kent, again honoring the late Queen Alexandra.    Princess Alexandra was born on Christmas Day in 1936.

In the late 1950s, the young Princess Alexandra began to take on royal duties, largely due to the dearth of younger princesses.  In 1963, she married the Hon. Angus Ogilvy, younger son of the Earl of Airlie.   They made their home at Thatched House Lodge in Richmond Park, although the Princess also had a small apartment in St. James's Palace, which came in handy for official engagements and other events in London.

Alexandra and Angus had two children,   James, born on February 29, 1964, and Marina, who was born in 1966.   Sir Angus died on Boxing Day in 2004.

Princess Alexandra is able to say that she is a first cousin of the Queen and a first cousin once removed of  the Duke of Edinburgh.  The late Duke of Kent and late George VI were brothers, as were the fathers of Princess Marina and Prince Philip of Greece (Prince Nicholas and Prince Andrew.)

Alexandra is firm favorite of both the Queen and Prince Philip, often invited to private family events.   The Queen is one of James Ogilvy's godparents.

all three photos by Marlene A. Eilers Koenig

Princess Alexandra is one of Prince William's godmothers.  Her son, James, who attended St. Andrew's University, has been a mentor to Prince William.  His home, near Edinburgh, was a bolt hole for Prince William, during his time at university.

Princess Alexandra, now 76, has been sidelined with polymyalgia rheumatic.  All of
her engagements have been cancelled.

It is possible that William and Catherine will choose to honor the mother of William's friend, James Ogilvy, by naming their daughter, Alexandra.

It certainly would be a popular choice, as Alexandra is much loved.  The infant Princess would have a lot to live up to as Princess Alexandra epitomizes everything a Princess should be. 

I also won't be surprised if James Ogilvy is named as one of the baby's godparents, whether it is a boy or a girl.


John said...

My mother has polymyalgia rheumatica. She lives with a lot of pain and medications which have side effects. It's an awful way to live, my sympathy for Princess Alexandra who has a public role. She'll hopefully get better with steroid treatments, my mother has too many other problems.

Michelle said...

although i wouldn't think it necessarily for a first daughter (and therefore future queen), i have always thought it was possible that a daughter may be named Caroline. it would incorporate Catherine's mother, while also having been used in the royal family before (although not often, and not necessarily with a popular member). it is also a classic, traditional name, which is pretty much required for royal babies in direct line to the throne.

julaine said...

My guess, and its only a guess, but it has been mine from the beginning:

Alexandra Elizabeth Mary for a girl
Phillip Arthur Charles William for a boy

If it is a girl, I think it will definitely have Elizabeth somewhere in the name but I doubt it will be her first name, but this opens up the possibility for her to later reign as Elizabeth III if she should desire.

If its a boy, I think there is a lot of sentiment in the royal family to honor the head of the family "firm" as the call it for his many years of loyalty and devotion. In fact, I am quietly hoping for a boy, named Phillip just for that reason. Even though I think that the women who have reigned in Europe in the later half of the 20th century into the current 21st have done a marvelous job. Of course, The return of King Arthur would be smashing as well!

William and Catherine are traditionalists so I think they will pick something already tried and true. However, they may surprise us and slip one modern name in the list, just to spice things up.

John said...

Maybe they will pick Matilda! That would be fascinating, a little tribute to that ancient uncrowned sovereign.

Matthew Plooster said...

I find it funny that you posted this several days ago, and now Yahoo! "somehow" came up with the same guesses today...