AP NEWS
Related topics

‘Princess’ No Name For Little Girl, Buckingham Palace Declares

March 6, 1988

LONDON (AP) _ A Scottish toddler named Princess isn’t exactly getting the royal treatment from Buckingham Palace, which is insisting that the girl’s parents put a little less monarchy into her moniker.

A regulation enacted in 1910 says that because the name ″Princess″ is ″part of the royal prerogative″ it cannot appear on a baby’s birth certificate without permission from Queen Elizabeth II.

Buckingham Palace says the queen doesn’t mind if the 21-month-old child is called Princess by her parents, her four older brothers and sisters and her friends.

But the queen insists the name can’t be on the birth certificate. The palace has told the family to submit a new name by week’s end, after which the birth certificate would be invalid.

That bothers Audrey and Hugh Manwaring-Spencer, whose baby was born on the Isle of Skye, off western Scotland. They chose to name their baby Princess Dulcima Rosetta.

The island registry clerk duly recorded the name on her birth certificate and sent the paperwork to the General Register Office in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital.

″We simply liked the name,″ Mrs. Manwaring-Spencer told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Sunday. ″Every family argues over what to call their children. We liked Princess.″

But five months after the birth, a letter arrived from the Edinburgh office saying the name was unacceptable. It demanded the birth certificate back.

″Based upon an Order in Council of 1910, the name Princess is not a recognized forename in this country because it is part of the Crown’s royal prerogative and cannot be assumed or entered in any register or official document without the consent of the sovereign,″ it said.

The Manwaring-Spencers, who are tenant farmers, promptly wrote to the queen and got an encouraging reply last December from her private secretary, Robert Fellowes.

″You may rest assured that you have caused no offense to the queen and you may continue to use the word as your daughter’s Christian name,″ he wrote.

But three weeks later, another letter arrived from Buckingham Palace. This time, Fellowes informed the family that under a 1965 Scottish birth registration law, Princess was improper.

″The name will have to be omitted from the birth certificate,″ he said.

″However ... there is no objection to you and your family continuing to use the word Princess as the name by which your daughter is known to her friends and family.″

The correspondence was reported by The Sunday Express, a London newspaper, and its content confirmed by Buckingham Palace.

Mrs. Manwaring-Spencer said the Scottish registry office has again demanded the birth certificate back and has given the family until Saturday to submit a new name.

″We have a birth certificate in the name of Princess. Any man has a right to call children what he wishes,″ said Mrs. Manwaring-Spencer.

″I have no wish to offend the queen. If she had objected in the beginning, we would have withdrawn the name. But she said we could use it.″

AP RADIO
Update hourly