Americans tend to think of the British monarchs when we talk royalty. The House of Windsor commands headlines in the US, too, from the beloved Diana, Princess of Wales to her daughter-in-law, the former Kate Middleton, and, of course, the drama behind Harry and Meghan’s decision to leave the UK.
Of course, plenty of European countries still have a monarchy. Norway, Sweden, and Denmark all do, along with Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Monaco. They range from high-profile royalty to under-the-radar rulers.
That means that a few of these names have occupied other thrones across the continent. The deeper we explore their royal families, the more unusual gems we can add to this list.
But it’s the British throne that dominates this list, from Arthurian legend to the headlines of today.
A Top 100 favorite in England & Wales, Albert nickname Albie is even more common. It makes this list, of course, thanks to Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. It’s appeared in nearly every generation since then. Prince Harry’s full name is Henry Charles Albert David.
Alexander rules in other royal houses, but it’s mostly a middle name for the Windsors. Prince George’s full name is George Alexander Louis.
The disgraced Prince Andrew makes this name far less appealing. But the father of Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie isn’t the first royal bearer of the name. In fact, the prince is likely named for his paternal grandfather, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark.
The firstborn son of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, he started life as Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. That’s because the current rules only grant the title of prince or princess to the children and grandchildren of the monarch. (The rules are different for Prince William’s kids.) Now Archie’s grandfather is king, he’s known as Prince Archie. Casual Archie isn’t typical for royal boy names, but more casual picks have been standard for children unlikely to inherit the crown, from Zara Phillips Tindall to Princess Eugenie’s son, August.
This name might be a lot to live up to, what with the legendary kingdom of Camelot and all. But the British royal family has used the name Arthur over the years. Henry VIII’s older brother was Arthur, but he passed away before inheriting the throne. Queen Victoria’s seventh child was Prince Arthur, too.
Prince Eugenie named her son August Philip Hawke Brooksbank. He’s not a prince, but he is the great-nephew of the King of England. Plenty of German princes answer to the name, but it’s not really used by the Windsors. Still, it’s traditional and quite stylish at the moment – a winning combination.
In England, Carl becomes Charles. But elsewhere, this classic name is Carl, often used in combination, like Sweden’s current monarch, King Carl XVI Gustaf, or his son, Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland.
King Charles I lost his throne and his life during the English Civil War. But in 1660, his son, Charles II, returned to reign. It’s called the Restoration. Without it, there might never have been a Charles III. But all these centuries later, the longest-serving Prince of Wales is now about to be crowed King Charles III.
Again, there’s never been a British prince by the name. But it features in many a European royal house. Prince Christian of Denmark is the eldest son of Crown Prince Frederik and will presumably inherit the throne one day. The name also appears as a second or third middle for a number of Windsor family members.
The future King Edward VIII was born Prince Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David, but he was always known to family and friends as David – his sixth middle name, if you’re counting. The eldest son of the future King George V, David rocked the monarchy with scandal when he abdicated the throne to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson in 1937. The most famous King David remains Biblical.
We’d have to go all the way back to 959 to find a King Edgar, but there’s no question that this name has royal roots.
Perennially popular with British royals, Edward has been worn by eight kings, as well as the current Duke of Edinburgh, youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II.
Another name that first appears in the early Middle Ages, Edmund hasn’t featured as a first in generations – but it’s still a steady, regal possibility.
Princess Eugenie’s second son is Ernest George Ronnie Brooksbank, a brother for August. Like his brother’s name, it has plenty of history in royal circles. (In fact, Ernst Augustus is a fairly common first-middle pairing.) Ernest – and Ernie – are bigger in England than the US, but maybe a royal birth will make some American parents reconsider this traditional choice.
A name with Germanic roots meaning “peaceful ruler,” Frederick is wildly popular across Europe. England almost had a King Frederick, too – but Frederick, Prince of Wales predeceased his father, meaning the throne skipped to Frederick’s son, who eventually became King George III.
Prince George of Wales is the future king, next in line behind his dad and grandfather. It will be up to him if he reigns as King George VII. It’s a solid citizen of a name, long associated with monarchy. And, of course, Saint George is the patron saint of England. Literature has reinforced that for generations; in Shakespeare’s Henry V, the famous line is “Cry God for Harry, England, and Saint George!” But it’s a humble name, too; after all, George means farmer.
It’s easy to forget that Prince Harry was born Henry. A long line of kings have answered to the name, including the much-married King Henry VIII. And it’s popular throughout Europe, though it’s Henri in France, and sometimes Heinrich in German. That puts it on this list of royal boy names, though it’s popular well beyond the ruling class.
The current Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Edward, named his son James Alexander Philip Theo. He’s now the Earl of Wessex, inheriting the title from his dad. While there have been kings named James, in England, Scotland, and elsewhere, King James brings to mind either the Bible – commissioned by King James VI and I – or NBA star LeBron James.
Another name more common on the continent than in England, but sometimes heard as an extra middle. It’s a cool Leo name, an alternative to Leonardo or Leonidas.
Popular with kings of France, Louis is undeniably a royal choice. That’s even more true now that Will and Kate named their youngest son Louis Arthur Charles. It’s also part of his brother’s name, George Alexander Louis.
This name makes the list because of Zara Phillips Tindall’s youngest, Lucas Philip, born shortly after the Duke of Edinburgh’s death. Neither Lucas nor Luke are common in royal circles, but both names feel nicely traditional. No question that the lack of royal titles and relative remove from all things related to the throne gave Zara far more freedom to choose names she loved. (His older sisters are named Mia and Lena.)
The late Queen Elizabeth II’s cousin, Prince Michael of Kent, puts this name on the British royal family’s roster. The name appears in other European ruling families, too. It’s also the name of Kate Middleton’s dad. Despite this, it hasn’t been used by the current generation – at least not yet.
There’s a Prince Patrick Island in the Arctic, first spotted by two Irish explorers. The name honors Prince Arthur William Patrick, Duke of Connaught, seventh child of Queen Victoria and Governor-General of Canada. It’s among the most subtle of royal boy names.
Peter appears as a regal name elsewhere in Europe, including Bulgaria and Portugal, as well as Russia’s Peter the Great. In England, it’s the name of Princess Anne’s firstborn, Peter Phillips. Anne opted to decline courtesy titles for both of her children, and they grew up (mostly) outside the spotlight. That doesn’t diminish the name’s status as a long-time classic. It’s Greek origin is well known, thanks to the Biblical passage: Peter means rock.
Classic and regal, Philip has become a favorite middle for this generation, thanks to the late Duke of Edinburgh. His great-grandsons August and Lucas both bear the middle name Philip. It’s among the go-to royal boy names of the moment.
King Richard is familiar. There’s Richard the Lionheart, a twelfth century king widely admired for his military prowess. But then there’s King Richard III, long suspected of having murdered his young nephews to seize the throne. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the name remains out of use, but it’s also worth noting that classic Richard is generally out of favor in the English-speaking world today – villain or not.
The firstborn son of then-Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Prince William has been a celebrity since his earliest moments. Now the Prince of Wales and heir to the throne, he remains world famous. Among the causes he champions are mental health and the environment, the latter via the Earthshot Prize. Most of the notable kings named William are far in the past – from William the Conqueror to the nineteenth century William IV. The name is enjoying plenty of popularity at the moment, ranking in the US Top Ten – though Irish nickname Liam holds the #1 spot.
What are your favorite royal baby boy names?
First published on March 12, 2018, prior to the birth of Prince Louis, this post was revised and updated on May 2, 2023, in time for the coronation of King Charles III.