Princess Diana was touchingly remembered today by Kate and William when they announced the name of their baby daughter.
Their second child will be called Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.
The bold choice covers many bases, and directly honors William’s father Prince Charles, the present Queen Elizabeth, and, of course, Prince William’s mother, Diana.
The first name itself is not hugely resonant in royal history. George IV named his only child Charlotte, but she died in labor at age 21 in 1817. For the last senior royal of that name, one has to go all the way back to George III’s wife, Queen Charlotte, who was born in 1744. They also had a daughter named Charlotte, the Princess Royal, born in 1766.
But for the past 200 years or so, Charlotte has not been a royal name.
In a statement announcing the name Monday, Kensington Palace said: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to announce that they have named their daughter Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. The baby will be known as Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.”
Elizabeth is Kate’s middle name, and that of Carole Middleton.
Charlotte—which was the betting public’s choice—is also the middle name of Kate’s sister, Pippa.
However, it is the inclusion of the name of the princess’s deceased grandmother Diana—in tactful third place—that will make headlines around the world. Diana is said to have longed for a daughter herself; although she learned Harry’s gender while he was still in the womb, she did not tell Charles for fear of disappointing him.
Diana’s spirit has often been invoked by William. Indeed, the sapphire and diamond engagement ring that Kate was wearing when she exited the hopsital Saturday was once Diana’s.
William said in an interview that he gave it to Kate so that his mother could be part of their wedding.
Now her memory will be a part not just of their lives, but of the next generation of royal lives, too.