Do royals need the Queen’s approval for baby names? Palace traditions explained

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When members of the Royal Family are picking a name for their new baby, they run it past the Queen to find out if she likes it, say experts.

Buckingham Palace has never confirmed whether names must be approved by the monarch, though it is thought she has approved the names of those closest in line to the throne.

Royal commentator Kate Williams said the discussion is usually "more of an informal conversation", and the Queen's family have so much respect for her that if she doesn't like the name they'll "definitely take that into account", said Ms Williams.

This week, a row erupted between the Sussexes and Buckingham Palace over whether the couple spoke to the Queen about naming their newborn daughter Lilibet "Lili" Diana.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip sit with their great-grandchildren Prince George, Prince Louis, Savannah Phillips, Princess Charlotte, Isla Phillips, Lena Tindall, and Mia Tindall in a photo released after the duke's death
(Image: REUTERS)

A Palace source claims Prince Harry and Meghan Markle "never asked" the Queen for permission to use her family nickname, but a spokesperson for the Sussexes has insisted the duke did tell his grandmother of his desire to name his daughter after her.

The Sussexes wouldn't have used the name "had she not been supportive", the spokesperson added.

Royals tend to stick to tradition when naming their children, though the monarch's grandchildren, who are further down the line of succession, have been given the freedom to choose names of their own liking.

In recent years, Harry and Meghan named their son Archie when he was born in May 2019, Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank chose the name August for their son, who is now four months, and Peter Phillips and his then-wife Autumn called their eldest daughter Savannah, who is now 10.

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The Queen decides whether to give royal titles to members of her family, but when it comes to a baby's first name her approval is not required, Ms Williams previously told CNN.

Speaking after Prince William and Kate Middleton welcomed their son Louis in April 2018, she said: "The Queen has the power to say what their title is… but in the case of names, it is more of an informal conversation.

"Per royal protocol, members of the Royal Family typically share the name they have chosen for their child with the Queen before announcing it.

"Of course they have such respect for the Queen that if she says 'I really don't like that name', they'd definitely take that into account."

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry with their son Archie when he was just a few months old
(Image: Getty Images)

After having a baby girl in 1988, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson had hoped to call her Annabel, past reports claim.

But the Queen is said to have disliked that name because she thought it too "yuppie".

Andrew and Fergie settled on the name Beatrice – Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter’s name – and announced it two weeks following her birth.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have stuck with traditional, historic names for their children – George, a future king, Charlotte and Louis – as Harry and his cousins opt for non-traditional names.

Charlotte has two middle names – Elizabeth and Diana – in tribute to the Queen and William's late mum.

Carolyn Harris, a history professor in Toronto, Canada, and author of Raising Royalty: 1,000 Years of Royal Parenting, previously told Vogue: “The further down the line of succession, the more likely you are to have a more unique or untraditional name."

She added: “We see, from the diversity of names among the Queen's descendants, that the Queen does seem willing to allow the descendants to choose their own names."

Meghan gave birth to her and Harry's second child at a hospital in Santa Barbara, California, last Friday.

They named their baby girl Lilibet “Lili” Diana.

Lilibet is the Queen’s family nickname and was used affectionately by her late husband Prince Philip.

Harry had long been expected to honour his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997, when he was aged just 12.

The new baby is the Queen’s 11th great-grandchild, and the first to be born since Philip's death in April.

Archie and Lilibet do not have royal titles, though they will be entitled to receive one once their grandfather Prince Charles becomes king.

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