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Georgian History. A History in a Name

The first in our #GeorgianHistory mini-series, this article celebrates the birth of Prince George of Cambridge and the history of the Georgian name.

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Britain recently had something new to celebrate. The anticipated arrival of Kate and William's first born was the biggest royal news that emerged since their wedding in 2011.

Royal baby fever sailed across the nation. The debate of"boy or girl" was the first thing on everyone's lips, and after that, or course, came the discussion of the name. The news erupted across all forms of media, and the bookmakers paid out - weighing in at 8lbs 6 oz. was the chosen title, George Alexander Louis. 

Flag Kids

For his royal title, the future King will be known as the Prince of Cambridge. Strangely enough, there has been only one other Prince of Cambridge, and he too was called George. The significance of the name has such an imprint on the history of Great Britain. St George is the first to mention of famous Georges in British History. This 3rd century Roman solider from Palestine was acclaimed after a tale that travelled to Britain during the Crusades about his victorious dragon slaying. It was in 1415 that a yearly celebration was created to commemorate this and he was appointed the Patron Saint of England. This newly named royal baby has come just before the anniversary of the 300 year ascension of the first George, (George I) to the throne of Great Britain and Ireland. Coming from the House of Hanover, George I came to the British crown as a result of the Act of settlement in 1701 which prohibited Catholics from taking the throne. Bypassing 50 other Roman Catholics who were before him in line, in 1714, at age 54, he ascended to the British throne by being Queen Anne's closest protestant relative.

With the arrival of the House of Hanover and George I to Britain, along came the Georgian architecture style. Dating between 1720 and 1840, this period stretched between the reigns of the first 4 Georges from the Hanover House, who reigned in continuous succession from August 1714 to June 1830. Chandos House was built during this period by one of the most highly regarded architects in Georgian Britain, Robert Adam. It was started in 1769 by the Adam family, and was financially supported by another George (oddly enough) the banker Sir George Colebrooke, and finished in 1771.

Georgian CoinBefore George I came to the throne in Britain the name was actually quite rare in England - the name George is derived from the Greek word "georgos," meaning farmer or earth worker. The growth of the popularity of the name is evident in more recent years, 2011 showed George to be the 12th most popular name in England. Many Georges have also rattled through our television sets, cinema screens and radios. From the music and flamboyancy of Boy George, to the literary great of Georges Marvellous Medicine, the genius of George Lucas, the salt and peppered sexy George Clooney, and the mastery of George Best, we have been blessed with many a great George.

The last Royal George is our very own Queen Elizabeth II dad, who was King George the VI. The Prince of Cambridge will become King George VII, unless Prince Charles would choose to go by one of his middle names (which is George, of course) when he ascends, however such rumours have been dismissed by the royals.George Best

So what is next for our George? A future king has been born with a named legacy, and we will see him grow up to live out this legacy and make one of his own. Our many congratulations go out to William and Kate during this happy time for them and we wish them all the best for the future with their new family.

Photo Credits

Bunting image - Flickr User. M Hawksey
Flag kids: Flickr User. Birmingham Culture
Coin: Flickr User. Photo Moto
Best: Flickr User. Herm B