Princess Charlotte's Name Is a Perfect Balancing Act
In the past, I've described royal baby namers as "brand managers for the monarchy." Their name choices have to symbolize the rich history and tradition of the throne, and send the message that its future is in good hands. The choice of Charlotte Elizabeth Diana for the new British princess balances that branding with a concern that's much more familiar to parents everywhere: navigating the perilous waters of family.
First, the name itself. Charlotte hits the tradition bullseye, delicately. It was one of my suggested finalists based on its combo of accessible style and regal heritage. Charlotte is well-loved throughout the English-speaking world, and currently ranks #20 among girls' names in England. It's represented in the direct royal line by George III's queen, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The overall impression is classic and elegant but not showy, the perfect touch.
Other names could have fit that style recipe, though. Charlotte Elizabeth Diana's special qualities are on a more personal front. Consider Prince William's family dynamics. His parents went through a public and ugly divorce. His father remarried, controversially. His mother tragically died young, and remains an icon in a manner that can be uncomfortable to the other side of the family. His father's mother, meanwhile, is a uniquely powerful matriarch.
The three-part name William and Catherine chose manages to honor all three of those formidable family members -- Charles, Diana and Elizabeth -- without saddling their little girl with any specific image or legacy to live up to. The name even manages to honor mom's family, via Kate's mother Carole and her sister Philippa Charlotte. It's a thoughtful gesture toward multiple generations, and toward the throne itself. May all of us with complex naming challenges find such a happy balance.