Harry 'has no idea why' he’s not called by his first name: A look at royals who don’t use their real monikers

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Members of the royal family are no different from the public in that they have nicknames. 

While some of these nicknames remain private, others have been morphed into their public personae and are what they go by. 

These name changes have been done when a monarch has ascended the throne and chosen one of their middle names to use. That could have been the case for King Charles III, however he decided to stick with his first name. He could have opted to be referred to as George, Philip, or Arthur. 

Here is a look at a few royals who don’t go by their given first names. 

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Prince Harry

Prince Harry's real name is actually Henry.

Prince Harry’s real name is actually Henry.
(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Prince Harry’s actual name, according to his birth certificate is Henry, his full name being Henry Charles Albert David.

When Harry was first born, it was announced that his name was Henry and that he would be called Harry only by his family members and those in his inner circle. Over time, however, he began to be referred to as Harry more and more, and once Kensington Palace began referring to him with that name, the press felt free to do so as well. 

Once the media began referring to him as Harry, the name stuck and Henry became a thing of the past. 

During a conversation with the winners of the WellChild Awards earlier this week, Harry met a little boy named Henry and told him, “My name is Henry as well, but everyone calls me Harry. I have no idea why.”

The use of Harry as a nickname for Henry has been popular since Medieval England, after the French name became popular in the country. King Henry VIII was one of the best-known Henrys from the past, and he went by Harry around his friends and family.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria changed her name after becoming the monarch, against the advice of her advisors. 

Queen Victoria changed her name after becoming the monarch, against the advice of her advisors. 
(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Queen Victoria was originally named Alexandrina after her godfather, who was called Tsar Alexander I. When she took the throne, Victoria wasn’t a very common name, and those in her inner circle believed it sounded to French, so they advised her to get rid of her nickname.

Notorious for not being a rule follower, she decided to make her official name Queen Victoria. While it was an unpopular choice at the time, the name quickly became popular.

Catherine, Princess of Wales

Kate's real name is Catherine, but she chooses to go by her nickname in public. 

Kate’s real name is Catherine, but she chooses to go by her nickname in public. 
(Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Catherine, Princess of Wales was born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton but has always been known to the public as Kate. While Prince William and other members of the royal family will sometimes refer to her as Catherine, Kate has been going by her nickname since before she met the prince, and she is referred to as Kate by the media.

Kate is a common nickname for people named Caitlyn or Catherine, and the wife of the Prince of Wales is no exception, and she is not the only famous Catherine who chooses to go by her nickname. She is joined by Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, Kate Upton, Kate Bosworth and many other famous Kates.

She also isn’t the only Middleton who goes by a nickname in the public, with her sister, Philippa, Middleton choosing to go by Pippa.

Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle decided to go by her middle name rather than her real name, Rachel, while in school, according to her yearbook photos.

Meghan Markle decided to go by her middle name rather than her real name, Rachel, while in school, according to her yearbook photos.
(Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Meghan Markle’s real name is not Meghan, it is in fact Rachel. 

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Markle’s yearbook photos from her school days suggest that she stopped going by Rachel while still in school, deciding instead to go by her middle name, since she is listed as Meghan, not Rachel. It is unclear as to why she made the switch to her middle name, as she has never publicly spoken about her decision.

There is speculation that she didn’t like her original name because it was so popular when she was a kid, and she wanted to stand out. Others believe she liked the way Meghan Markle sounded better due to alliteration and that she didn’t like Rachel Markle because it somewhat rhymed. 

In an ironic twist of fate, Markle ended up playing the character of Rachel on “Suits,” the show that made her famous. 

King George VI

King George VI changed his name when he became king, as he had been born Albert Frederick Arthur George Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

King George VI changed his name when he became king, as he had been born Albert Frederick Arthur George Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
(Photo by Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Following in the tradition of monarchs being able to choose what they will be called once they ascend the throne, Queen Elizabeth II’s father, King George VI, changed his name once he became the sovereign. The name he had been given at birth had been Albert Frederick Arthur George Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

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He chose to go by one of his many middle names George, which is now the name of his great-great-grandson, and the son of Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales. His father also decided to go by George when he became king and was King George V.

As a boy, King George VI was called Bertie, a nickname for his actual first name: Albert. His last name, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was not in fact a last name, but an indication as to which house or dynasty he belonged to, a common practice for the royal family, which up until that point were not given last names at birth.

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King George VI made a change to that precedent, by adopting Windsor as his family’s last name in 1917, and it has been passed down.

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