The Real Reason Prince Harry Never Uses His Birth Name

No one in the British royal family has just one name. There are birth names, given names, formal titles, and even nicknames. Trying to figure out how to address a royal can become a feat of mental athletics.

One thing that’s fairly standard: the royal family runs on formality, so calling the Queen or an heir by a shortened name or not properly giving respect with their full titles would be a huge faux pas. And though one might be able to hear Prince William and Kate Middleton whispering, “babe” or “darling” to each other during public appearances, technically they’re not supposed to be doing that.

That’s why it’s so surprising to find out that most people aren’t ever calling Prince Harry by his real name. Why? His name isn’t technically Harry at all.

Prince Harry
Prince Harry | Chris Jackson/ Getty Images

What is Prince Harry’s real name?

Like so many other royal family members, Prince Harry has multiple first names. On his birth certificate, it says: Henry Charles Albert David. Notice how there’s no mention of “Harry” anywhere.

In reality, Harry is a common nickname for Henry. But it’s still very interesting that the royal would choose to go by Prince Harry rather than Prince Henry. Fans were shocked to see Clarence House’s official engagement announcement which used the official name Prince Henry.

So the big question on everyone’s mind: why Harry instead of Henry? Apparently, Prince Charles and Princess Diana always planned on calling their second son Harry simply because they liked it better. And since they started the tradition when he was so young, many people forgot that wasn’t his true name.

Meghan Markle has a different first name too

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

The Duke of Sussex isn’t the only one who doesn’t go by his real first name – his wife, Meghan Markle, isn’t really named Meghan. The first name on her birth certificate is Rachel. It’s unclear why she started using a different first name, but sources claim it’s because of her Hollywood career. Meghan Markle is alliterative and easier to say. Of course, no one knew then just how memorable she would become.

Does Prince Harry have a last name?

As a member of the royal family, Prince Harry doesn’t technically need to use a last name at all. But if he wants to, the royal family last name is Mountbatten-Windsor. The Queen bestowed this moniker onto her descendants even though it’s not truly necessary.

Prince Harry became the Duke of Sussex (and his wife Meghan Markle became the Duchess of Sussex) when the Queen granted him a dukedom for his wedding present. His brother, Prince William, is the Duke of Cambridge, but will most likely become the Duke of Wales once their father Prince Charles becomes king.

What will Prince Harry name his baby?

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry | Chris Jackson-Pool/Getty Images

There are countless name predictions out their for the newest royal baby, who is due to arrive sometime this spring. Many believe that Diana is a top contender for a girl name since Prince Harry was so close with his mother. Philip, Charles, and Doria are all contenders as well.

And for nicknames? The possibilities are endless. We will find out soon enough.