EDWARD: One of the Most Popular Names Among British Princes

Edward is one of the most popular names among the British Princes since the middle ages.

The naming of royals is not just like a pick-in-the-book practice. It is more on tradition and historical importance and sometimes subjected to debate and long discussions.

Royals often pick their baby names according to royal significance. If the prince is a direct heir, his name should be based on previous kings to signify continuity. For instance Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, it took weeks before his name was announced because his parents could not agree with the choice of a name.

Prince Charles wanted a name Arthur, which was not used by previous English kings, Diana wanted John, but the name is not popular among British kings. The last English king named John was one of the most hated kings of England.

They settled for William, which had been used by previous English monarchs. The most popular being King William I whose bloodline of the current British royal family directly flowed.

Historical Importance

What made the naming of royal babies a little complicated especially in the British royal family is their concern on historical events the name represented. 

The name John has not been used in the royal family since the death of Prince John in 1919, the youngest child of King George V and Queen Mary. So, most British royal princes were given with names that have historical importance and popular among sons of the previous monarchs.

One of these names is Edward.

This sounded almost like the royal family's favorite name. Every generation in the British royal family has at least a prince named Edward. In fact, in the current British royal family, there are at least three members who are named Edward. 

The Queen's youngest child is Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex. The Queen's cousin, the Duke of Kent is Prince Edward also and he himself has a grandson named Edward, the Lord Downpatrick.

There were eight English/British Kings in history that bore the name Edward since the Norman Conquest :  

1. Edward I (King of England: 1272-1307, he was known as the Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots), 
2. Edward II (King of England from 1307 until his deposition in 1327, he was the first English prince given with the title of Prince of Wales because he was born at Caernavon Castle in Wales)
3. Edward III (King of England: 1327-1377, he was the one who initiated the Hundred Years of War between England and France due to his constant claim of the French throne)
4. Edward IV (King of England: 1461-1483, he mounted the English throne through a conquest, he was the first York King)
5. Edward V (young son of Edward IV, he reigned only for 2 months, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London at the instigation of his uncle, Richard III, who took over the throne, Edward V and his brother were later known in history as Princes in the Towers, they mysteriously disappeared and believed to be murdered in the Tower)
6. Edward VI (King of England: 1547-1553, he was barely 10 when he succeeded his father, Henry VIII, to the throne, he was a sickly child and died before he reached adulthood)
7. Edward VII (King of England: 1901-1910, son and successor of Queen Victoria)
8. Edward VIII (reigned but not crowned, he abdicated in 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson, an American commoner, he was created Duke of Windsor by his brother and successor, King George VI).

Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex

Prince Edward was born 12 years after his mother’s accession in 1952 making him one of the two royal children born to a reigning monarch. He is the youngest child of the Queen and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. In 1999 after his marriage to Sophie Rhys-Jones, it was announced that he would be given a noble title of Earl of Wessex, the announcement surprised most of the royalists because of the breaking of tradition.

His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, 

Prince Edward is the only one among the four children of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh whose marriage did not end in divorce.

Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent

Grandson of King George V and a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Edward is the first born child of Prince George, the Duke of Kent, and Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, a first cousin of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent

Prince Edward was only six years old when his father died in a plane crash while on active duty with the Royal Air Force during World War II in 1942. He assumed his father’s title immediately and became one of the youngest royal dukes in recent memory. In 1959, he took his seat in the House of Lords in the Parliament.

Prince Edward married Katharine Worsley, daughter of a British Baron, they have three children together: George, the Earl of St. Andrews, Lady Helena Windsor-Taylor and Lord Nicholas Windsor. He is a patron to many charities and organizations in Britain in service to the crown and would perform royal duties occasionally representing his cousin, the Queen. The Duke of Kent is currently 33rd in the line of succession to the British throne.

Edward Windsor, the Lord Downpatrick

As a great grandson in the male line of King George V, Edward is supposed to be included in the line of succession to the British throne but due to the circumstances of his father’s marriage to a Roman Catholic, and for him being confirmed a Catholic, he was subsequently removed from the list of the possible successors of his grandfather’s first cousin, the Queen. 

The law on British succession strictly prohibited all royal family members and descendants who are in communion with Rome (meaning became Roman Catholics) from inheriting the British crown. This law is being supported by the provisions of the Act of Settlement of 1701 restricting the succession only to the protestant descendants of Princess Sophia of Hanover.  

Edward Windsor, the Lord Downpatrick

The British law on succession was repealed in 2013 removing gender bias to the sovereign’s daughters, meaning daughters are given equal rights to the throne and would no longer be pushed by a younger brother in the line of succession. 

The changed on the succession law touched the provision on the Catholic issues for possible successors. The new law stated that royal family members who took Catholic spouses but did not actually change religion should retain their position in the line of succession. Upon taking effect of the law, royals who were removed from the list in the past because of marrying Catholics (e.g. Prince Michael of Kent, George, the Earl of St. Andrews),  would now be reinstated. 

However, the provisions remained unchanged to Catholic-born royals and those who adopted Catholicism. Thus, Edward, the Lord Downpatrick, his sister, Lady Marina Charlotte, and uncle, Lord Nicholas, who are Roman Catholics, are still considered ineligible to succeed, therefore could never take their places in the line of succession.

Other names, aside from Edward, which are popular among the British Princes are the following:

1. George

2. Henry

3. William

4. Frederick

5. Alexander

6. Richard

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