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7 Royals Who Don't Use Their Real Names

Who are Rachel and Albert please?
PHOTO: CHRIS JACKSON/GETTY IMAGES
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There are many different traditions and rules that accompany being a royal—ranging from having to pack a certain coloured outfit while on tour, to wedding-based ones, such as including a particular flower in the bridal bouquet.

Another common practice seen throughout the years by those in line to the throne involves donning a new name, sometimes when your time as the reigning monarch comes, but for others, it's more long-term thing. So, how many of these royals from recent history did you know have adopted a different moniker?

Meghan Markle's real name is Rachel

Yep, the American actress-turned-philanthropist was actually born Rachel Meghan Markle. It's thought that Meghan started going by her middle name when she was in school, given that her yearbook photos show her listed as "Meghan Markle" and not "Rachel Markle." Although Meghan has never publicly explained why she went for the switch, many believe it's because the alliteration sounds catchier and therefore made a better stage name, or simply because Rachel was a fairly common name in the '80s. 

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Prince Harry's real name is Henry

Prince Charles and Diana's youngest son, Harry, was really born Henry—but has pretty much only ever been called by his nickname, unless official circumstances dictate otherwise. 

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CHRIS JACKSON/GETTY IMAGES


Queen Victoria's real name was Alexandrina

The legendary monarch was born Alexandrina Victoria, after her godfather, a man named Tsar Alexander I. When she became ruler of the United Kingdom, she was advised to ditch her nickname, Victoria (which at the time was an uncommon French name), in favor of something more regal-sounding. Never one to be told what to do, Victoria stuck to her guns and gradually, her moniker grew in popularity.

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Kate Middleton's real name is Catherine

Although she commonly goes by Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge was christened Catherine Elizabeth Middleton. It's almost as if her middle name was a prophecy of her royal life to come!

MAX MUMBY/INDIGO/GETTY IMAGES


Prince Charles could change his name to Philip, Arthur or George

It's another one of those pesky traditions! When kings (or queens) ascend to the throne, they're able to choose one of their middle names to rule under should they prefer to. It's thought that Prince Charles, when he eventually becomes the reigning monarch, may adopt the name George in a tribute to his grandfather (although as you'll see below, his actual name was Albert). Only time will tell, of course.

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King George VI's real name was Albert

Queen Elizabeth II's father, and Prince Harry and Prince William's great-grandfather, was born Albert Frederick Arthur George Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Although he was nicknamed Bertie as a child, when crowned in 1937, he became King George to be in-keeping with his own father.

King George VI with a young Queen Elizabeth II. LISA SHERIDANGETTY IMAGES
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The royal family's surname changed from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor

According to the official royal website, "Before 1917, members of the British Royal Family had no surname, but only the name of the house or dynasty to which they belonged." However, in 1917, King George V adopted the name Windsor "not only as the name of the 'House' or dynasty, but also as the surname of his family" over the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, inspired by the castle of the same title. Obviously the latter choice is a lot catchier, but the new royal surname was also selected because it sounded more British than German, like Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, (which wasn't especially in favour after World War I), hence we have Elizabeth Windsor.

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.

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