Charles said he may become King George VII.
The Times December 24, 2005
Call me George, suggests Charles
By Andrew Pierce
THE Prince of Wales has discussed rejecting the title Charles III when he becomes King to avoid unhappy associations with some of the bloodiest periods in the monarchy’s history.
The Prince’s favourite alternative name is George VII, in honour of his grandfather (George VI) — one of the best-loved monarchs of the past century.
The Times has spoken to two trusted friends of the Prince, who both said that the change to George has been considered seriously. One said: “There have been many conversations with the Prince about this. It is an assumption among us all that it will happen.
“The name Charles is tinged with so much sadness.”
The other source said: “They [the Royal Family] will decide at the time, but he has talked about George.”
The name Charles is regarded as jinxed in some royal circles. Charles I was the only monarch to be executed. His beheading in 1649, after the English Civil War, brought about the short-lived republic under Oliver Cromwell.
Charles II, the son of Charles I, returned to the throne at the Restoration in 1660, after spending 18 years in exile overseas, but was mocked as the Merry Monarch because he had a string of mistresses, including the orange-seller Nell Gwyn.
There is sensitivity in royal circles about Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Young Pretender, who was known as Charles III by his supporters. Despite his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, he is still seen as a Scottish romantic figure.
The Prince of Wales, who was christened Charles Philip Arthur George, is a passionate supporter of the Union and spends most of his holidays in Scotland.
A Clarence House spokesman said that there had been long-term thinking about the Coronation, but that nothing had been discussed officially about changing the Prince’s title. He added: “One of the questions that we have asked is what he will be known as. The decision will be taken at the time.”
When he ascends the throne the new King will convene an Accession Council — a meeting of the full Privy Council.
It is the only time that the full Privy Council, which includes ministers and senior bishops, meets. It will then be decreed by the council what title the new King will take.
Were the Prince to change his formal, or regnal, title he would be following a tradition begun by Queen Victoria in 1837, who was born Alexandrina (so should have been Queen Alexandrina). Four of the past six monarchs have changed their name, including George VI, the father of the Queen, who was christened Prince Albert.
Prince Charles was only 4 when his grandfather died but he was very close to his grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
The issue of changing the regnal title has been raised at Clarence House but the name is not yet part of any formal planning for the sucession.
One senior Royal official said that there had been an assumption in informal talks about the accession that the Prince would keep the name Charles.
Patrick Cracroft-Brennan, a genealogist from Cracroft’s Peerage, said: “There has been a tradition over the last century for the regnal title to be different to the christian name. The change would make sense.
“Monarchs called Charles have not had much luck. One was beheaded, one was in exile, and one was a pretender to the throne.
“While the Prince of Wales is known throughout the world as Charles, there is enormous goodwill to the name George. George VI was an outstanding and popular King who took over in the immediate aftermath of the abdication crisis and rallied his people during the war. King George and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother were wonderful. I think George VII and Queen Camilla sound wonderful, too.”
When the marriage was announced of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles, Clarence House said that she would be known as the Duchess of Cornwall after the marriage and that it was “intended” that she would be known as Princess Consort when the Prince of Wales succeeds his mother to the throne.
If, however, public opinion were amenable, she could yet become Queen Camilla. Significantly, there was no such announcement about the title by which her husband would be known.