Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge - Correct Naming Format for Catherine, Duchess of Windsor

Started by Sharon Lee Doubell on Wednesday, July 24, 2013


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7/24/2013 at 6:08 AM

I have had contact from Geni users querying the use of her maiden surname as her present surname on her Geni profile, as she apparently gave this up when she married William. I'll include the conversation below, but wanted to log it here because when I amended it it was changed right back.
I don't especially have a preference, so just wanted to give the profile managers the benefit of the conversation. I will leave the managers And Ofir to set it how they want it.

Private User
7/24/2013 at 6:15 AM

O my luckily I don't go there.

7/24/2013 at 6:20 AM

Lee Alison Francis Cahill Why does everyone still call Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, by her birth/maiden name? It's even on her Geni profile. She's been married for over two years and both her name and her title changed on that day.

Sharon Doubell Isn't there something about the Windsors not really having a surname? (There are those of us, too, who marry and keep our maiden names :-)

Private User It was the same with Diana, lots of, especially Foreign media, referred to her as Lady Di !...Catherine/Kate is officially the Duchess of Cambridge!..privately one can call her what you like!

Liivi Murumets Isn't Duchess of Cambridge more like a title than a name?

Private User Windsor is their surname after they dropped Saxe-Coburg Gotha..Though it is officially, The House of Windsor.

Private User It is her title....And formally what she is called by.

Liivi Murumets Well, come to think of it Diana Spencer was mostly known as Princess of Wales or simply Princess Diana, even after her divorce. Then again, Diana had just turned 20 when she got married. Catherine was "Waity Katie" for many years and is still called by her birth name.

Lee Alison Francis Cahill Sharon - Yep, I know that some women choose to keep their birth names after marriage, but Kate didn't, so why she's still referred to as Middleton beats me. It sometimes feels like a reluctance to acknowledge her change in status from 'commoner' to royal. Also - officially at least - her first name has been given in full since her marriage, although informally everyone obviously still refers to her as 'Kate'.

So especially here on Geni, I'd imagine that her name should be given as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and that Middleton should only appear as a birth name, with 'Kate' being given as a 'Known As' name.

With regard to the royal surname, as far as I know, Danielle is absolutely right - that the royals are officially 'of the House of Windsor', but that this is usually shortened to just Windsor. However, it appears not to be used when a member of the family is a either a king or queen, or a prince or princess in the direct line of succession to the throne. So, as Charles is the Prince of Wales, Harry is referred to as Henry Wales in the military. Similarly, Princess Anne is referred to as Anne, the Princess Royal, indicating that she's a princess by birth.

That aside, I guess my beef is really with the use of the Middleton birth name in official sources and in the media, for no other reason that it's no longer her name, and because - to me at least - it feels just a tad derogatory.

Sharon Doubell Lee Alison Francis Cahill & Private User & Lifka Müremets- I changed her names to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Private User
7/24/2013 at 6:42 AM

@Catherine,Duchess of Cambridge is the correct naming and a lot of women keep their maiden name Judy Rice

7/24/2013 at 6:59 AM

Thanks for re-posting from the Geni Facebook portal, Sharon Lee Doubell. I pretty much said my piece there.

My feeling is that the name on her profile should be Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge as that is now her official name, that her birth name should be Middleton and that her nickname, 'Kate', should appear in the 'Know As' field. It's not that I'm going to fall on a sword if this isn't done, but I noticed what I feel is an error on her profile when a link was posted on the FB portal to celebrate the birth of the new Prince of Cambridge.

And, yep, I acknowledge that many women keep their maiden/birth surnames after marriage - and even that it was common practice in Europe is years gone by - but Kate obviously hasn't done this, so referring to her as Kate Middleton is, to my mind, incorrect.

7/24/2013 at 7:05 AM

Myself I'm just delighted by "Waity Katie' - i hadn't heard that one :-)

7/24/2013 at 9:51 AM

The difficulty here is that names and titles are not the same thing. From the day she married, Catherine's full title became 'Her Royal Highness Princess William, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, Baroness Carrickfergus'. (Like all those of us who take our husband's surname when we marry, she has not lost the Middleton name - but her marriage and position as wife of Prince William now mean that she is known by the name and title she acquired by marriage. More and more women in Britain are choosing to keep their maiden names when they marry - especially for professional purposes. There is no law that says Miss Daisy Smith has to become Mrs John Brown when she marries John.)

Regarding a surname for filling in the boxes of a computer programme, the surname should be 'Mountbatten-Windsor'. While today's Royals are of the House of Windsor, the children of the Queen were given the surname Mountbatten-Windsor (as from 1960) which reflects the combination of the Queen's 'Windsor' and Prince Philip's 'Mountbatten'. The title could go into the 'also known as' box because the title is what royals are known as, even if it is not their name in the genealogical sense.

When Prince William or Prince Harry were called William Wales or Harry Wales, they could have chosen any name they wanted to use - Wales was chosen, I believe, because it was an 'ordinary' surname and did not stick out from the crowd, so to speak. In the Geni world the 'William Wales' should probably go into the 'also known as' box.

Regarding Princess Anne's title of Princess Royal - this title may be conferred by a monarch on his/her eldest daughter - it is not automatic. There can never be more than one person holding the title at a time. The Queen conferred the title on Princess Anne in 1987, and Princess Anne is the seventh princess to have held this title.

7/24/2013 at 10:49 AM

Thanks Sheila - And now the problem of how to designate George Alexander Louis, Prince George of Cambridge. :-)

Curator Shmuel-Aharon Kam (Kahn / שמואל-אהרן קם (קאן's suggestion "Georgie Porgie, Puddin' and Pie" is not an option for the aka - at least not until it becomes fashionable :-)

7/24/2013 at 6:49 PM

Thanks for the explanation of the Royal family's surname. Mountbatten-Windsor. I didn't know that although I have often wondered what it was. I rather like that Kate is still called Kate Middleton. It makes it seem like she is a bit independent of all that protocol. It might also be derogatory in the sense that its the Royals way of showing the world that Kate is still a commoner & not royal by birth but I'm happy to go with the cup-half-full version! Kate is a modern lady & not ashamed of her maiden name. My maternal grandfathers names were George Alexander, so I'm content with their choice of names for the little dude! Perhaps Kate will be SUPER modern and let George be known as George Middleton.....?

7/24/2013 at 10:47 PM

The names and title of the newest member of the House of Windsor could be entered into the Geni boxes as:
Forenames - George Alexander Louis
Surname - Mountbatten-Windsor
Display Name - His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge

7/25/2013 at 3:29 AM

Very interesting Sheila! Thanks so much for this information - it's fascinating. And it's curious to see that the name Mountbatten comes first in the royal family's surname - one would have expected it to be Windsor.

Anyway, would the correct information for Kate therefore be:
Forename: Catherine
Surname: Mountbatten-Windsor
Birth Surname: Middleton
Also Known As: Kate
Display Name: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

7/25/2013 at 3:41 AM

P.S. I realize that Kate hasn't 'given up' her birth surname, and still has the right to use it. I also realize that many women choose to keep their birth surnames after marriage - for me, that isn't the issue.

I feel the point is that Kate didn't make this choice, and is now officially referred to as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, so this obviously need to be taken into account in her profile details and in the media.

That said, one of the headlines on TimesLIVE yesterday was: 'Prince William and Kate name their new-born baby', which works for me. It's when it's something like: 'Prince William and Kate Middleton welcome baby boy', that I feel Kate's new role and status actually aren't being acknowledged. And that gives me the impression there's still a societal reluctance to accept a 'commoner' marrying into the royal family (an upstairs/downstairs thing if you will ...).

7/25/2013 at 5:51 AM

Oops, make that Catherine Elizabeth - apparently that's both forenames ...

7/25/2013 at 5:52 AM

Information for Catherine/Kate correct - with the added detail that her two forenames are Catherine Elizabeth.

7/25/2013 at 5:53 AM

Oops again - posting at the same time! :)

7/26/2013 at 5:52 AM

Perfect! Thanks again for your input - very, very interesting!

7/26/2013 at 5:53 AM

Sharon, could you possibly make the appropriate changes to the profile as it currently stands?

7/26/2013 at 6:50 AM

Referring to HRH The Duchess of Cambridge as 'Kate Middleton' is as daft as calling the US President 'Senator Obama'

7/26/2013 at 7:43 AM

Lee, I've posted a message to the profile managers and Curator to come and view this discussion. I will let them make the changes they want to.
Ofir does an excellent job of watching over lots of royal profiles - and he's a man with a good eye for detail - so he'll be the guy doing the routine maintenance of the profile when we've all moved on.

7/31/2013 at 9:49 AM

Michael - my thoughts exactly!

Sharon - thanks! Much appreciated. :)

8/2/2013 at 1:25 PM - I don't know if the link will work. If not, copy and paste, and you should be at the BBC story on the registration of the birth of Prince George, which includes a picture of his birth certificate - with his parents' names.

8/3/2013 at 2:58 AM

There you have it ...

8/3/2013 at 5:55 AM

Thank you Sheila.
Her Royal Highness, Catherine Elizabeth, Duchess of Cambridge.
Ofir Friedman what do you think?

8/3/2013 at 5:58 AM

ask Pam Wilsons help. she lives in England

8/3/2013 at 6:10 AM

If you mean the curator Pam Wilson, she definitely does not live in England. :) Though I'm sure there are times when she'd like to!

Private User
8/3/2013 at 9:12 AM

If Geni ever get around to implementing the Prefix field, some of this stuff may parse better.

Private User
8/3/2013 at 9:27 AM

It is still dependent of your language, and the only solution would be having language dependent display names.

8/3/2013 at 11:53 AM

Not that it matters a great deal but believe it should be added here.

A war can change many things.

8/4/2013 at 3:19 AM

Updated the name, as Ofir says he's too shy to come and chat :-)
Added that article too, Roger. Thank you.

8/4/2013 at 4:02 AM

It seems we definitely need a 'title' field here on Geni ...

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