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  #1  
Old 07-12-2006, 01:35 AM
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Naming Customs of British Royalty, Regnal Name and Numeration

Maybe this is a silly question but, if you don't ask you'll never know!:o

Our last king named Edward was the eighth British king to bear that name.
BUT, there were three Anglo-Saxon Edwards (I The Elder, II The Martyr and III The Confessor) who don't seem to be counted. The count begins again with the Plantagenet King Edward I Longshanks. Also, there was Edward Balliol of Scotland.
All that would mean that Edward VIII was in fact Edward XII.

I have submitted this question to the official royal website many times, but have received no response.
I'm wondering if anyone here might be able to help me.
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Old 07-12-2006, 01:37 AM
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They started counting with William the Conqueror, so kings before him aren't included. If we get a King Alfred in the future, he'll be Alfred I, because Alfred of the burned cakes won't count even though he was the only king ever to rate the description "The Great."

I don't know if it's just convention or if England wasn't thought to be really united until William I came along, but whatever the reason, he's the starting point for the counting system.
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Old 07-12-2006, 01:48 AM
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Excellent! Thank you very much indeed!:)
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Old 07-26-2006, 03:24 PM
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From what I understand the other Edwards aren't counted in the numbering system because they have other names - the Elder, the Martyr and the Confessor. Also Elspeth is right that the counting started anew with William the Conqueror not because he was the first king after the Norman conquest, but because William I was the first king to actually rule over the WHOLE of England. The others all had bits being ruled over by Scandinavian countries and others I think. Kings before William the Conqueror are included, but just not Edward I think, because the Edwards were not numbered before the conquest. For instance, if we had another King Harold, he would be Harold III to distinguish between Harold I and Harold II king of England. Well that is what I believe to be correct, I am not a total expert.
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Old 07-26-2006, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Queen Marie
Maybe this is a silly question but, if you don't ask you'll never know!:o

Our last king named Edward was the eighth British king to bear that name.
BUT, there were three Anglo-Saxon Edwards (I The Elder, II The Martyr and III The Confessor) who don't seem to be counted. The count begins again with the Plantagenet King Edward I Longshanks. Also, there was Edward Balliol of Scotland.
All that would mean that Edward VIII was in fact Edward XII.

I have submitted this question to the official royal website many times, but have received no response.
I'm wondering if anyone here might be able to help me.
Actually, just to clarify, if the first three kings you mention were counted in the present numbering order then Edward VIII would have been Edward XI. Kings who were just kings of Scotland and not England do not count in the numbering system. For example James VI of Scotland was James I King of England, not James VII king of England. So Edward Balliol of Scotland could never count in the numbering system because he was not king of England.
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Old 07-26-2006, 04:19 PM
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Actually the lists have him as 'James VII and II' and so forth; we use 'James II' as a shorthand. You must list the title of a monarch of Scotland under the current rules. There are many pedants :) who will still say 'James VI and I'. Where it would get interesting is if we had a Queen Margaret, she would be Margaret II of Scotland (after the Fair Maid of Norway) and yet plain Margaret in England.
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Old 07-26-2006, 04:24 PM
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Yes Frothy you are right, but I meant that we do not say King James VII of England when refering to James I. He is James I of England, and VI of Scotland. We don't add them up together. The Scottish Kings had some interesting names that no King of England has ever had - Alexander, David, Constantine, Duncan, Kenneth, Macbeth, etc. I like those names a lot. Far more interesting than Henry, etc.
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Old 07-27-2006, 04:50 AM
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One thing to remember is that James I and VI was James VI of Scotland BEFORE he became James I of England. As a result it would be hardly possible to suddenly start renaming him in Scotland.
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Old 07-27-2006, 06:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrissy57
One thing to remember is that James I and VI was James VI of Scotland BEFORE he became James I of England. As a result it would be hardly possible to suddenly start renaming him in Scotland.
Of course, I didn't say otherwise. I meant we don't add up the numbers of I of England and VI of Scotland to call him James VII of England.
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Old 07-27-2006, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felicia
Of course, I didn't say otherwise. I meant we don't add up the numbers of I of England and VI of Scotland to call him James VII of England.
Who ever suggested that we did add the numbers together?

I simply was pointing out a valid reason why James I and VI is referred to that way and to a lesser extent James II and VII is sometimes referred to that way (but most of my books simply call him James II - bad luck about the Scottish numbering).

Using the I and VI is not that same as adding the numbers together to get to VII but he is correctly called James I and VI (1 of England and VI of Scotland but before he inherited the English throne so he kept both).
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Old 07-27-2006, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrissy57
Who ever suggested that we did add the numbers together?

I simply was pointing out a valid reason why James I and VI is referred to that way and to a lesser extent James II and VII is sometimes referred to that way (but most of my books simply call him James II - bad luck about the Scottish numbering).

Using the I and VI is not that same as adding the numbers together to get to VII but he is correctly called James I and VI (1 of England and VI of Scotland but before he inherited the English throne so he kept both).
I was refering to the original post in this thread which said that Edward VIII would have been Edward XII of England if previous kings of England named Edward were counted in the present numbering system, which they are not. I was trying to explain that in fact we would say that Edward VIII was Edward XI of England if the 3 previous kings were counted (the elder, the martyr and the confessor) and we would not count Edward Balliol because he was JUST king of Scotland and not England. Simple misunderstanding.
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Old 06-12-2009, 05:42 PM
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George is the most popular name among British princes. 21 one prince was christened as George. Other popular names include Frederick (20 princes, though there has never been King Frederick), William (19 princes) and Albert (15 princes, all named after Queen Victoria's husband).

Mary is the most popular name among British princesses by birth. Other popular names include Louise and Victoria.

Someone said that the name John is regarded as unfortunate and that Diana's request to name her son John was rejected because of this superstition. Could anyone explain why?

Also, how do they determine how many names a royal child should have? I noticed that Queen Victoria was not very extravagant when she christened her eldest son. He was christened simply "Albert Edward". Most children of George III had only one name (though it was always strange to me that one of his daughters was Princess Augusta Sophia, while the other one was Princess Sophia). Others have (had) up to four names.
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The monarch's regnal name is his or her royal prerrogative. The first monarch on British Isles who chose to reign under a name that was not his first name was King Robert III of Scotland. In fact, he was baptized as John, but chose to reign as Robert III due to the unpopularity of the name John (he wished to avoid being called John II, as recognition of John de Balliol's kingship would weaken the Bruce claim to the throne).


The prerrogative was used again four centuries later, when Princess Alexandrina Victoria ascended as Queen Victoria. Only 3 monarchs have used a baptismal name other than their first given name as their regnal name, and they all used their last given name, coincidentally:
  • Alexandrina Victoria > Victoria
  • Albert Edward > Edward VII
  • Albert Frederick Arthur George > George VI
Does anyone know why Queen Victoria chose to reign as Victoria and not as Alexandrina Victoria? Did she use only the name Victoria during her childhood or did she drop the name Alexandrina upon accession? Since she had no monarchical ordinal, "Queen Alexandrina Victoria" would've sounded much more glorius than simply "Queen Victoria".
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:26 PM
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At times during her childhood she was called 'Drina' and then I think as she got older 'Victoria'.

There was also the fact that neither of her parents really wanted her called Alexandrina and that it was the Prince Regent/George IV who wouldn't let them call her what it was they wanted so she got Alexandrina Victoria.

As Alexandrina came from the Tsar of Russia, maybe she didn't want to use a name that could link her to Russia or maybe she was used to Victoria.

I have never heard a reason given, actually.

As for Albert Edward - he explained that at his accession council. He wanted the name 'Albert' to be associated only with his father (maybe he didn't think he could live up to Albert's reputation, maybe he didn't want to have his father's name or .....). It had been known that Victoria wanted him known as Albert Edward but as no double barrelled king had ruled in Britain (or certainly England) before he didn't want to create a precedent.

As for George VI there was the issue of not using Albert for similar reasons to those that his grandfather had used as outlined above but also to link but to the safety and security of his father's reign to give some continuity after the abdication.


As for John - I think the unluckiness comes from:
a) King John, who has been regarded as one of England's worst kings (although I rate his brother far worse - John, at least stayed in the country and tried to rule it after his brother bankrupted the country in his war mongering in the middle east).

b) Edward VII's youngest son was named John and died within a couple of days. Alexander was also one of his names but I never can remember whether the Alexander or John actually came first. Why blaming a couple of day old child for an unlucky name I don't know.

c) George V named his youngest son after his youngest brother - the above mentioned John - who was the 'forgotten' prince who spent some time at Sandringham before dying aged 13.

I don't really see it as a name to be avoided, if one it to use Charles - who afterall has the precedent of the name of a King who was actually beheaded by the people (if parliament controlled by Oliver Cromwell can truly be called the people).

I do hope that Charles uses Charles III as it would be strange to start calling him something else after over 60 years of him being Charles.
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:38 PM
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I have always wondered why Queen Elisabeth decided to name her first son with that name so unfortunate. Does someone know the reason?
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:42 PM
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The forgotten Prince John was sick since he was 4 years old he had epelepcy which lead to his death at 13 years old. In them days there were no meds for epelepcy and the prince was kept a way from court. Letters/Diary from Queen Mary that were found and publised after her death state her grief over not only the loss of her son but the fact that she was not there when he died were very bad. It was said that this was the main reason they stopped the use of the name John in the royal family. It is said that Daina wanted to name William John after her Father but was told NO..
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Iluvbertie View Post
I do hope that Charles uses Charles III as it would be strange to start calling him something else after over 60 years of him being Charles.
Charles III would be unusal and therefore interesting since the last King Charles died in the 17th century, but having George VII would also be nice. Then again, he might honour his father and choose to reign as Philip II, taking into account Mary I of England's husband and co-sovereign.

If Charles decides to reign as George VII, he would follow the pattern set by his ancestors who didn't use their first name as their regnal name - he would use the last name.

I'm curious as to why the Prince of Wales didn't name one of his sons after a Scottish monarch. We all know about the controversy that arised when Elizabeth II ascended; some Scots believed that she should be simply Elizabeth in Scotland. Churchill then suggested that monarchs should be numbered according to either their English or Scottish predecessors, whichever number is higher. Why did he have to name both his sons after English monarchs, when naming one of them (even if younger one) after a Scottish monarch would've been a nice gesture?
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:57 PM
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Was it the Queen who told Diana no? If so did she have to give the okay for the names of her other grandchildren?
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Old 06-12-2009, 07:04 PM
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I am not sure who it was that told Diana this and it was never proven just said or reported here is what Wikki says on the matter:
The name "John" has been considered unlucky by the royal family and its use avoided since the death of the prince. The popularly negative historical view of the only English monarch to bear the name — King John (reigned 1199-1216) — especially his fictionalization as the villainous Prince John in the Robin Hood stories, has likely compounded concerns about the name. It was reported that Diana, Princess of Wales wished to name her elder son "John," after her own father, but was prevented from doing so by royal tradition.[citation needed]
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Old 06-12-2009, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by free2rhyme View Post
Was it the Queen who told Diana no? If so did she have to give the okay for the names of her other grandchildren?
While we're discussing other grandchildren... I wonder why they decided to name the Earl of Wessex's son James? If I recall correctly, he is the first and only Prince of the United Kingdom to be named after the last Popist monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland. It is a nice gesture towards the other six Scottish monarchs named James, but James VII really messed things up.
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Old 06-12-2009, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Kotroman View Post
While we're discussing other grandchildren... I wonder why they decided to name the Earl of Wessex's son James? If I recall correctly, he is the first and only Prince of the United Kingdom to be named after the last Popist monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland. It is a nice gesture towards the other six Scottish monarchs named James, but James VII really messed things up.

I seem to remember reading that they liked the name and waited to get to know him a little bit before deciding on a name - so obviously, from that, to them he seemed like a James.
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