Americans mostly know the British royal family, but a surprising number of European nations have retained a monarchy in some form.
That means this list includes names of royalty from across Europe. And while ruling families once married their princesses to other country’s future kings, that’s not the case anymore. It’s made for an even deeper and more varied pool of potential royal names.
Whether you’re all about the House of Windsor or just love classic names with history, royal names for girls might be just right for your daughter, too.
ROYAL NAMES for GIRLS
Born Adelaide Amelia Louise Theresa Caroline in Saxe-Meiningen, the future bride of King William IV of England, brought the name Adelaide to her new country when they married in 1818. The city of Adelaide, Australia is named in her honor.
Princess Louisa Caroline Alberta, the daughter of Victoria and Albert, gets her bonus middle name from her dad. The name has been used as a middle occasionally since, but never as a first. Born in 1848, Louisa was typically known as Louise. She eventually married and spent time in Canada when her husband was appointed Governor General. A number of places are named in her honor, including the province of Alberta.
Queen Elizabeth II’s given name was Elizabeth Alexandra Mary. It’s a nicely regal choice, though one that seldom makes it to the first spot for British royals. One exception? Queen Alexandra, whose father became King of Denmark, married King Edward VII of England in 1863. It’s probably more famous as the name of the last empress of Russia, Alexandra.
It’s a storybook name, best known for chasing rabbits. But Queen Victoria’s second daughter was named Alice Maud Mary. And one of Alice Maud Mary’s granddaughters was Princess Alice of Battenburg, the future mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh – husband of Queen Elizabeth II.
This looks like an attempt to create an updated, intentionally unisex form of Alex. Instead, it’s a medieval form Alice, heard in European royal families well into the early twentieth century. Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine married a Russian tsar and became known to history as the tragic last empress Alexandra.
King George II named his second daughter Amelia; King George III gave the name to his fifteenth child. So it’s royally royal, at least since the House of Hanover claimed the throne in 1714. Interestingly, that first princess Amelia was known to her family as Emily. While the names have separate roots, they’ve been confused and substituted for generations.
The firstborn daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Anne is also known as the Princess Royal. She’s an accomplished equestrian and among the hardest working member of the royal family, with leadership roles numbering in the hundreds, ranging from Save the Children to the International Olympic Committee. But Anne isn’t the first royal to wear the name. An eighteenth century Princess Anne was also known as the Princess Royal, and later Princess of Orange by marriage. In 1589, Princess Anne of Denmark married King James VI of England, who was also King James I of Scotland. The name remains used in Danish royal circles.
Born in 1737, Princess Augusta Frederica was the daughter of Frederick, Prince of Wales. Her mother was a German-born princess, also named Augusta. Frederick died before his father, so he never became King. And Augusta remains a rarity in the British royal family. (And in English in general, though masculine form August is racing up the popularity charts.)
Princess Beatrice Elizabeth Mary of York has been in the spotlight since her 1988 birth. She’s not the first Beatrice in the British royal family; a thirteenth century English princess born the name, as did Victoria and Albert’s youngest daughter. So have royals in Spain (Infanta Beatriz, daughter of Victoria’s youngest) and the Netherlands (the former Queen Beatrix). Rumor had it that Beatrice’s parents preferred the name Annabelle, but it was considered insufficiently royal back in the day.
She’s not a household name in the US, but Danes are familiar with Princess Benedikte, younger sister to Queen Margrethe II. It’s a feminine form of Benedict, a traditional choice on the upswing.
The new queen consort answers to Camilla. While it’s new to the House of Windsor, the name itself is ancient. Virgil’s Aeneid includes the story of a legendary warrior maiden called Camilla.
Plenty of princesses have answered to the name, most famously the elder daughter of Princess Grace. It’s a cousin to Charlotte – both are derived from Charles – but at the moment, it’s less popular throughout much of the Western world.
Henry VIII married six times. Half of those wives shared a name: Catherine. History spells some of them Katherine; others Catherine. Either way, it’s an impeccably royal name, now worn by the Princess of Wales. The current Princess of Orange, heir to the throne of the Netherlands, is Princess Catharina-Amalia. And, of course, history cannot forget Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia.
This name make the list thanks to former South African Olympic athlete, Charlene Wittstock. In 2011 she married Albert II, Prince of Monaco.
Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was born in 2015. It’s a name used by royal houses across the centuries. In England, an earlier Princess Charlotte of Wales was born in 1796. She was named for her grandmother, Queen Charlotte, born Princess Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz. As the only child of King George IV, she might’ve been his heir – but she died in her early 20s.
It’s said that Queen Elizabeth II fretted that Diana wasn’t a sufficiently royal name for a future queen. But Lady Diana Frances Spencer married Prince Charles in 1981 and everything changed. Now it’s the middle name of two of her granddaughter – Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana and Princess Lilibet Diana – and forever cemented in the public memory as an impeccably regal choice.
Eleanor sounds intelligent and capable, a serious name with considerable style. While no recent daughter of an English monarch has answered to Eleanor, the history books give us plenty. A number of Plantagenet queen consorts – and their daughters – answered to Eleanor. Eleanor of Aquitaine was an heiress in her own right; the Queen of France by marriage; and later, the Queen of England by marriage.
Another form of Eleanor, heard in royal houses in continental Europe.
While Elizabeth is the heavy-hitter in the English-speaking world, Elisabeth is heard nearly as often in Europe. In fact, the twenty-something Princess Elisabeth Theresia Maria Helena, Duchess of Brabant, is heir apparent to the throne of Belgium. She’ll eventually follow her father, current King of the Belgians, Philippe.
The late Queen Elizabeth II reigned for a staggering 70 years and 214 days, the longest of any British monarch. Queen Elizabeth I was even more impressive. The youngest daughter of King Henry VIII, she defeated the Spanish Armada and oversaw a flourishing of literature and the arts, known as the Elizabethan Age. Elizabeths have sat on the throne in other countries, including the eighteenth century Empress Elizabeth of Russia. Princesses and queen consorts are too numerous to count. It’s the most classic girls’ name in the US, and arguably the most royal across the Western world.
Born in 2012, Princess Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary is the eldest child of Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria, and thus second in line to the throne. Estelle isn’t especially common in Sweden, and she’d be the very first queen by the name.
The princess name that absolutely no one expected, Princess Eugenie of York is younger sister to Princess Beatrice. Once again, she wasn’t the first royal with the name. Instead, a cousin of her grandfather, Prince Philip, was Princess Eugenie of Greece and Denmark; a Swedish princess also wore the name. She was named for her maternal grandfather, the French nobleman Eugène de Beauharnais.
There are the choices that scream “royal names for girls” … and then there’s Feodore. The youngest daughter of Queen Victoria, Beatrice Mary Victoria Feodore, puts this name on the list. She was named for Victoria’s older half-sister Feodora. The girls grew up together at Kensington Palace, until Feodora married Ernest I, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, and returned to Germany. The name is more familiar in English as Theodora.
Common on the continent, but yet to be heard on a British princess – at least not as a first. Though a nineteenth century granddaughter of King George III – Princess Friederike Sophie Marie Henriette Amelie Therese of Hanover – spent much of her adult life in England, living at Hampton Court Palace and devoting herself to several charities. Frederica’s nickname in the royal family was the unrelated Lily.
The elder daughter of Prince Albert II of Monaco, Princess Gabriella Thérèse Marie is one of the youngest members of the House of Grimaldi. The family boasts some fascinating names; read more about them here.
Born into a prominent Pennsylvania family, Grace Kelly became an Academy Award-winning actress before the age of 25. And then she met Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, trading Hollywood royalty for the real deal. Her luminous beauty, fairy tale wedding, and tragic early death have made this American princess of Monaco’s story a part of twentieth century lore. It’s frequently retold, including a 2014 film starring Nicole Kidman as Kelly.
Middle names are a funny thing. Some people are strongly attached to theirs. Others barely remember that they exist. You might know that William’s mom was born Lady Diana Frances Spencer. Her mother was born The Honourable Frances Ruth Roche. Kate also has both the feminine Frances and masculine Francis on her family tree. So it’s a family name through-and-through. But is it royal? Not really, at least not in England. That makes me think Frances is more likely as a middle than a first. But if it’s seen as a way to honor Diana? Well, Charlotte’s second middle name already does that. So I have my doubts, but I still think it’s a maybe.
Queen Victoria’s third daughter was named Helena Augusta Victoria, known as Lenchen – a German diminutive – by her nearest and dearest. There have been Helenas among the ruling houses of Europe for millennia; an Assyrian queen answered to the name all the way back around the year 50.
In 1625, Princess Henriette Marie of France married King Charles I of England. She was called Queen Mary in England, but she disliked it, continuing to sign personal letters with her birth name. They named their eldest daughter Mary Henrietta … and their youngest Henrietta Anne. The state of Maryland is named for her.
From the Middle Ages to modern times, Scandinavian royals have worn this strong, lovely name. Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway, born in 2004, is the eldest child of the current Crown Prince, and expected to succeed her father and grandfather one day.
We tend to think of Queen Isabella, who reigned in Spain with her husband Ferdinand. Strictly speaking, she was queen of Castile; her husband, King of Aragon. The couple united Spain. Their legacy is problematic – they expelled the Jews from their kingdom, launched the Spanish Inquisition, and conquered land across the globe. But no question that Isabella was powerful, shrewd, and shaped the world as we know it today. And there have been queens Isabella of many nations, including England, across the centuries. There’s a Princess Isabella in the current Danish royal family.
Queen Joan of Navarre became Queen Consort of France in 1285. A young Princess Joan of England died in the Black Death in 1348. Joanna is slightly more common, including Princess Joanna of Anhalt-Zerbst. Her daughter became Russian ruler Catherine the Great.
Napoleon’s beloved Josephine immediately comes to mind. But others have followed elsewhere in Europe, including a Danish princess. Princess Josephine Sophia Ivalo Mathilda is the youngest daughter of the Crown Prince.
When she married Prince William, the former Kate Middleton asked to be called Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Now, of course, she’s Catherine, Princess of Wales. Except the world still tends to call her Kate Middleton. That makes Kate a breezy classic and a potential royal baby name, too.
The wife of King Felipe IV of Spain, Letizia is a modern queen’s name with deep roots. Like Camilla, this name comes from Latin. It means happiness. It’s also connected to ruling families, thanks to Naploeon Bonaparte’s mother, Letitia, known as Madame Mère during her son’s reign.
When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wed they became the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The couple’s decisions to leave behind life in England has dominated headlines over the last few years. The couple’s second child, Lilibet Diana, was born in 2021. When Queen Elizabeth II passed away, Lilibet became Princess Lilibet of Sussex, in keeping with the tradition of only extending royal titles to the children and grandchildren of the monarch. Her name, though, is pure family tradition. Lilibet was Queen Elizabeth II’s childhood nickname.
Queen Victoria’s sixth child was Princess Louise Caroline Alberta. Royal watchers might be more familiar with Lady Louise Windsor, daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh, and the youngest granddaughter of the late Queen Elizabeth II. Royal houses across Europe are filled with other princesses named Louise and Louisa; in fact, a Belgian Princess Louise was born in 2004, just a few months after Lady Louise Windsor.
The rebellious Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, used to be among the most controversial royals. But her name has always been a traditional favorite. Ultimately of Greek origin, Margaret means pearl. Queen Victoria’s granddaughter Margaret became Crown Princess of Sweden; Princess Margaret’s son, Viscount Linley, named his daughter Margarita. And, of course, Meghan – as in Markle – originated as a pet form of Margaret, though today it stands on its own.
The reigning Queen of Denmark is Margrethe II, born Margrethe Alexandrine Þórhildur Ingrid. That super-Scandi middle, Þórhildur, might be a little more familiar as Torhild, thought it’s also a cousin to Thora. All of the name have deeply Norse roots, deriving from ancient god Thor.
The Latin form of Marie and Mary, it’s an undeniable classic. Rare among English royals, it’s common on the continent. The current Grand Duchess of Luxembourg is Maria Teresa.
The French form of Mary, Marie offers nearly as much history. While English royals avoid double names, they’re common in other families. There’s a current Princess Marie-Caroline in the royal family of Liechtenstein, and we can easily think of more. (Beginning with the doomed Marie Antoinette, born Maria Antonia in Austria.)
Multiple queens of England have answered to the name Mary, though only one ruled in her own right. (That was Henry VIII’s elder daughter, Queen Mary I of England. Queen Mary II co-reigned with her husband, William.) Long the #1 name for girls in the English-speaking world, Mary might also be the most-heard among royal baby girl names. And yet, Mary has tumbled down the popularity charts – even as parents dismiss it for being too common. The most recent royal Mary in the British royal family is the late Queen Mother, born Mary of Teck. (Her mother was Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge – daughter of Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, son of King George III. He was the last prince to be created Duke of Cambridge until William.) The late Queen Elizabeth II’s full name was Elizabeth Alexandra Mary. In other royal houses, the current Crown Princess of Denmark is Mary, wife of Queen Margrethe II’s son and heir, Frederik.
A popular choice for royals in the Middle Ages, Matilda has history to spare. King Henry I of England had a Matilda; so did Henry II.
It’s a little hard to follow, but Maud is the medieval English form of Matilda. Go far enough back in the history books, and you’ll find a handful of well-born women who answered to both. But there’s also Princess Maud of Wales, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who married King Haakon VII of Norway in the 1800s. In the 1900s, Princess Maud was a granddaughter of King Edward VII, making her a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria.
It sounds quite Game of Thrones, but this medieval name belonged to Queen Melisende of Jerusalem in the 1100s.
When it comes to the current royal family, Philippa is most familiar as the sister of Kate Middleton. Philippa “Pippa” Middleton married James Matthews, and the couple has three children: Arthur Michael William, Grace Elizabeth Jane, and Rose Louise Victoria. While the children have no titles, they’re cousins to a future king – and names that would be right at home in Windsor Castle.
SOFIA, SOPHIA and SOPHIE
King George III’s twelfth child was named Sophia Matilda; she had an older sister named Augusta Sophia. A handful of others can be found, with more across the royal houses of Europe. Prince Edward, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, is marred to Sophie Rhys-Jones, the highest profile use of the name in England at the moment. The Swedish royal family also includes a Princess Sofia, wife of Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland.
A stylish favorite in the 1980s, Stephanie is also a traditional French feminine form of Stephen. Princess Grace of Monaco’s youngest daughter wears the name; so does a current Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.
Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark is better known as soap opera actress Theodora Greece. She was likely named for an earlier princess of Greece and Denmark by the same name. Go all the way back to the twelfth century and Queen Theodora of Jerusalem reigned with her husband, King Baldwin III.
Born Alexandrina Victoria, she came to throne of Great Britain at the young age of 18. For over 63 years, she reigned as queen, defining an era. Her marriage to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha produced nine children, including five daughters whose names all appear on this list. But she’s not the only royal woman to answer to the name. The current Crown Princess of Sweden is another.
While she’s far enough down in the succession that Zara Tindall will almost certainly never wear a crown, she’s still Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest granddaughter, born to Princess Anne. She’s also the mother of three children with not-especially royal names themselves: Mia Grace, Lena Elizabeth, and Lucas Philip. Her brother, Peter, also went his own way, naming his daughters Savannah and Isla. But while they’re intentionally low-key, the family remains part of the House of Windsor’s inner circle, a privileged and undeniably royal, place.
What royal names for girls are your favorites?
This post was first published on February 12, 2018 while we were awaiting the birth of Prince Louis. It was substantially revised and updated for the May 2023 coronation of King Charles III.