For all my royal watching, I haven’t paid close attention to their names. Maybe it is because all of the men seem to be called William. Or perhaps it because the House of Orange keeps a pretty low profile as European monarchies go.
Or maybe I’ve just been lazy.
Because now that I look, there are some truly appealing choices in recent generations. While family names dominate, and an astonishing number of monarchs have answered to William, there are some fascinating choices sprinkled in, too. And Dutch names always fascinate – enough that I wade through Voornamelijk and Vernoeming via Google translate on a regular basis.
But it’s an intriguing list nonetheless. Read on for some of the most interesting picks.
Dutch Royal Names: Princes, Counts & Kings
William – He’s the alpha dog, the most commonly used name. But could the new monarch put Willem in the spotlight? It’s the authentically Dutch version. Actor Willem Dafoe has boosted the name in the US, but Willem remains a distinctive, unusual choice.
Casimir – The name of a Polish saint and a quartet of kings, this Slavic name is surprisingly well-established with the family. I’m guessing it was imported thanks to the Russian-born Queen Anna, wife of William II. Their son, born in 1822, was known as Ernst Casimir. It was a popular combination amongst the German House of Nassau, too.
Claus-Casimir – The only boy born in the current generation, Claus-Casimir is Prince Constantijn’s son, nephew of the new king. His full name is Claus-Casimir Bernhard Marius Max, but he’s called Casimir.
Constatijn – The younger brother of the new king wears the Dutch form of Constantine. Again, the Eastern-leaning name is something of a surprise.
Ernest – Now this one feels like the kind of clunky rarity you’d expect to hear on a Dutch royal.
Floris – Youngest son of Margriet, nephew of the recently abdicated queen and cousin to the new king. There aren’t any Flor- names in English for boys, though the Latin Florentius was originally used for men and there was a third century Saint Florian.
Frederick – A solidly royal choice, found in many a noble house.
Friso – Truly a Dutch heritage choice, it refers to Friesland – a province in the northern part of the nation. The youngest brother of the current king was baptized Johan Friso Bernhard Christiaan David. Friso was seriously injured in an accident more than a year ago, and remains in a coma.
Henry – Just like Frederick, this is a natural on the family tree of any royal clan.
Lodewijk – I’m intrigued by this Dutch form of Ludovic. It’s typcially Anglicized as just plain Louis, but I’m a big fan of Ludovic.
Dutch Royal Names: Princesses, Countesses & Queens
Catharina-Amalia – Now that her dad is the king, Amalia is the heiress apparent, now styled the Princess of Orange. This makes her the first woman to hold the title in her own right. Her full name is Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria.
Alexia – The new king’s second daughter answers to Alexia Juliana Marcela Laurentien. Juliana is her after great grandmother, the queen before Beatrix. Laurentien comes from after her aunt by marriage. It feels authentically Dutch, and I suppose it is. Laurentien is a smoosh of her parents’ names – Laurens and Jantien.
Ariane – The new king’s third and youngest daughter. Ariane Wilhelmina Maxima Ines.
Eliane – Vowel names are huge for the current generation. All three of the current king’s daughter have A names, and E is big, too. Floris and his wife Aimee gave this French saint’s name to their daughter, Eliane Sophia Carolina. She’s rare in the US, but would fit right in with Genevieve and Elise.
Eloise – Constantijn’s firstborn, Eloise Beatrix Sophie Laurence. Love seeing Laurence on a girl. (It’s feminine in French; Laurent is the masculine form.)
Irene – The former queen’s little sister was named Irene Emma Elisabeth. Her name has a great backstory. She was born while war threatened, but European leaders were still working for peace. That’s why the Dutch royal is named after a Greek goddess. Her marriage to the pretender to the Spanish throne caused a scandal, since Irene converted to Roman Catholicism. The marriage didn’t last, and her four children grew up in the Netherlands: Carlos Xavier, Margarita Maria Beatrix, Jaime Bernardo, and Maria Carolina Cristina. Margarita has two daughters of her own: Julia Carolina Catharina and Paola Cecilia Laurentien – interesting to see Laurentien popping up again!
Laurentien – I’m fascinated by this one. She’s the wife of Constantijn, born Petra Laurentien, but known by her middle name. Laurentien is a portmanteau of her parents’ names: dad Laurens and mom Jantien.
Leonore – Constantijn’s youngest is Leonore Marie Irene Enrica.
Luana – Friso’s daughter with wife Mabel is named Emma Luana Ninette Sophie, and known by her first middle name. One of her godmothers is Italian politician Emma Bonino – could that be the source of her given name?
Magali Margriet Eleonoor – Probably my favorite combination of this list, the name of Floris and Aimee’s older daughter.
Marijke – The childhood nickname of Maria Christina, also called Princess Christina since adulthood. Another of Beatrix’s younger sisters.
Margriet – Sister to the recently abdicated queen, Margriet Francisca was born during World War II, while her family was exiled in Canada during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Margriet’s name comes from the marguerite – a flower symbolizing Dutch resistance to the Nazi regime.
Wilhelmina – The former queen, mother of Beatrix and grandmother to Willem-Alexander. Her full name was Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Maria.
Zaria – Like sister Luana, Joanna Zaria Nicoline Milou is known by her second name. Nicoline is for their aunt, Mabel’s sister.