Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Luxarazzi 101: The Naming of a (Grand Ducal) Child

The naming of a child is probably one of biggest challenges of parenthood cause let's face it, your child will be stuck with it for the rest of their lives. It probably doesn't get easier when you are a royal as you don't need to come up with one or two names but with about four to ten. (Seriously though, how do you remember ten names in the correct order?! And how do you fit all of them in the allocated space when you need to sign an official document!?)

The baby of Prince Félix and Princess Claire is due to be born in June and so the parents-to-be are probably currently searching for appropriate names high and low. We thought, we'd have a look at the naming customs of the Grand Ducal Family to see which names might be among the choices for Félix and Claire. The following are the names of all male-line descendants of the first Grand Duke of Luxembourg of the Weilburg branch of the House of Nassau, Adolph, with a few explanations afterwards.

First generation
Adolph Wilhelm Carl August Friedrich

Second generation
Wilhelm Alexander

Third generation
Marie-Adélaïde (Adelheid) Thérèse Hilda Wilhelmine
Charlotte Adelgonde Elisabeth Marie Wilhelmine
Hilda Sophie Marie Adélaïde Wilhelmine
Antonia Roberte Sophie Wilhelmine
Elisabeth Marie Wilhelmine
Sophie Caroline Marie Wilhelmine

Fourth generation
Jean Benoît Guillaume Robert Antoine Louis Marie Adolphe Marc d'Aviano
Elisabeth Hilda Zita Marie Anna Antonia Friederike Wilhelmine Luise
Marie-Adélaïde Louise Therese Wilhelmine
Marie-Gabrielle Adelgunde Wilhelmine Luise
Charles Frédéric Louis Guillaume Marie
Alix Marie Anne Antonia Charlotte Gabrielle

Fifth generation
Marie-Astrid Charlotte Léopoldine Wilhelmine Ingeborg Antoinette Elisabeth Anna Alberta
Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume
Margaretha Antonia Marie Felicite
Jean Félix Marie Guillaume
Guillaume Marie Louis Christian
Charlotte Phyllis Marie
Robert Louis François Marie

Sixth generation
Guillaume Jean Joseph Marie
Félix Léopold Marie Guillaume
Louis Xavier Marie Guillaume
Alexandra Joséphine Teresa Charlotte Marie Wilhelmine
Sébastien Henri Marie Guillaume
Marie-Gabrielle Cécile Charlotte Sophie
Constantin Jean Philippe Marie Albert Marc d'Aviano
Wenceslas François Baudoin Léopold Juraj Marie Marc d'Aviano
Carl-Johann Marie Félix Julien Marc d'Aviano
Paul-Louis Jean Marie Guillaume
Léopold Guillaume Marie Joseph
Charlotte Wilhelmine Maria da Gloria
Jean André Guillaume Marie Gabriel Marc d'Aviano
Charlotte Justine
Alexandre Thédore Charles Marie
Frederik Henry Douglas Marie

Seventh generation
Gabriel Michael Louis Ronny 
Noah Etienne Guillaume Gabriel Matthias Xavier

Colourful, non? The black names are those only used once while all coloured names are used multiple times. I'm not saying that the reason why someone was called X-name was because X was the name of a great-aunt or the fifth name of a cousin twice removed but there are a few names that come up again and again, and those are the ones we are going to have a special look at.

But before we go into the names in detail, let me say a few more general things. Above all, all those names are subject to correction. Sometimes there is a bit of confusion when it comes to royal names; for example, there are some sources that indicate that Princess Marie-Astrid's third name is "Lilian/e", however, the website of the Luxembourgish government says that there isn't and I'm inclined to believe them. Also, sometimes there is a bit of confusion about whether a name is used in its German or French version. While Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde is today generally referred to as such, it seems that during her lifetime she was known by the German version, Marie-Adelheid, as she was likely named for her own grandmother, Grand Duchess Adelheid-Marie.

It is probably known to you that the Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg is originally German. Grand Duke Adolph - that's a name we probably will not hear again due to another (in)famous Adolf - reigned the Duchy of Nassau until 1866 when it was annexed by Prussia. He came to the Luxembourgish throne in 1890 when the House of Orange-Nassau died out in male line. He was a protestant, as was his son Grand Duke Wilhelm IV. Wilhelm married a Catholic princess and it was agreed that their sons would be raised in their father's faith while girls would become Catholic like their mother. Nobody probably imagined that the couple would have six daughters but no son and so the Grand Ducal Family became a Catholic one. 

But not only changed the fact that they became Catholics change their naming costums - of the above 37 Catholic members of the Grand Ducal Family, (at least) 33 are named Marie/Maria in honour of the Virgin Mary like it is a Catholic tradition very much alive in most royal and noble families - but also did the fact that they became Luxembourgish monarchs. For many years after they came to the throne, the family were perceived as German which culminated in Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde's abdication in 1919 because she was considered pro-German. While previously most members of the family were known by the German version of their names, the Francophone ones were used starting with the descent of Grand Duchess Charlotte.

One example of this is the name Wilhelm, a traditional name of the House of Nassau. (You might recall that all Dutch kings of the House of Orange-Nassau have had that name, too.) While Grand Duke Adolph and Grand Duke Wilhelm IV were still called by the German version of the name William, it soon changed in the French version, which is Guillaume. However, it seems that there is no French female version of the name, so the German Wilhelmine is still used for many female members of the family. Only ten of the above born members of the family do not carry the name Wilhelm/Guillaume or Wilhelmine.

Another Catholic-influenced tradition that originates with the Habsburgs, and I'm not quite sure how it came to Luxembourg, is the name Marc d'Aviano in honour of the beatified Marco d'Aviano, a Capuchin friar and advisor to Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I. The first Luxembourgish royal to be named in his honour was Grand Duke Jean. However, non of his own children carry the name while all the three sons of Prince Jean do, as does the youngest Prince Jean of the family, Prince Guillaume's third son, who was born a year after the beatification of Marco d'Aviano. Other royals who carry the name are Prince Hans-Adam II (Ferdinand Alois Josef Maria Marko d'Aviano Pius) of Liechtenstein and pretty much what seems like 90 percent of the Habsburg family including the three sons of Luxembourg's Princess Marie-Astrid. (It's Imre Emanuel Simeon Jean Carl Marcus d'Aviano, Christoph Henri Alexander Maria Marcus d'Aviano and Alexander Hector Marie Karl Leopold Marcus d'Aviano if you must know.)

Just like all other parents, royal parents probably chose names for their children that they like. Back when her youngest son was born, Hélène Vestur, the first wife of Prince Jean, told Point de Vue, "We chose our children's first names based on our ancestry. Marie-Gabrielle evokes our French roots, Constantin our Mediterranean blood, Wenceslas is for our Slavic soul, and Carl-Johann's name comes from the Nordic countries." The middle names are often chosen to remember different family members and as such, Carl-Johann has the middle names Marie (for the Virgin Mary as he was also born on August 15th, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) Félix (for his paternal grandfather's father, Prince Felix) Julien (for his mother's grandfather), and Marc d'Aviano (for the Habsburg saint). Similar to that, Princess Alexandra has the middle names Joséphine (for her paternal grandmother) Teresa (for her mother and maternal grandmother) Charlotte (for her paternal great-grandmother) Marie (in honour of the Virgin Mary) Wilhelmine (as it is family tradition).

The names most often used apart from the variations of Mary and William are probably Charlotte, Félix and Jean as well as Gabriel/Gabrielle (or Gabriella in the case of Princess Marie-Astrid's youngest daughter). While the first three names are rather easy to explain - in honour of Grand Duchess Charlotte, her husband Prince Felix and Grand Duke Jean, who himself was named in honour of John (Jean) the Blind, Count of Luxembourg and King of Bohemia - I don't have a clue why variations of Gabriel seem so popular in recent years. Maybe they simply like it? It is a beautiful name indeed and that's what it probably comes down to - whether you like a name or not though a little tradition never hurt nobody (says a person who is still getting used to the idea of a Queen Estelle.)

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