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History behind baby prince's name

2013-07-25 08:50
Prince George Kate Middleton
London - In choosing to call their first child George Alexander Louis, Prince William and his wife, Kate, selected a first name steeped in British history.

While "George" means farmer and earth worker — not trades typically associated with UK royals — it has been borne by six British kings, four of whom served in a row.

Below, a look at the British monarchs called George who preceded the 2-day-old prince now third in line to the throne.

GEORGE I: The German-born, first king of Britain from the House of Hanover — which provided six British monarchs — acceded to the throne in 1714. The king — who spoke German, French and a little English — ruled until his death in 1727.

GEORGE II: Initially unpopular, George II gained greater respect as his reign lengthened. He was the last British king to fight alongside his soldiers, at the age of 60. Because his oldest son had died, George II's grandson inherited the throne upon his death in 1760.

GEORGE III: Upon succeeding his grandfather, George III became the third Hanoverian monarch and the first to be born in England and use English as a first language. He ruled for nearly 60 years, during which time the American colonies declared independence. Once George III became mentally unfit to rule, his eldest son acted as Prince Regent from 1811. The monarch died in 1820.

GEORGE IV: Prior to assuming the throne, George IV secretly and illegally married a Roman Catholic. He later married Princess Caroline of Brunswick, who he tried unsuccessfully to divorce after assuming the throne in 1820. He was known as much for his marriage difficulties as for his interest in art. His only legitimate child died in childbirth, so the crown went to his brother upon his death in 1830.

GEORGE V: He assumed the throne in 1910, and made hundreds of visits to troops and wounded servicemen during World War I. His legacy also includes starting the sovereign's annual Christmas Broadcast — a tradition that began in 1932. He died one year after celebrating his silver jubilee, leaving his son Edward to take the throne.

GEORGE VI: The father of Queen Elizabeth II was the most recent King George, memorably portrayed in the Oscar-winning film "The King's Speech." His first name was actually Albert, but he selected George — his fourth name — to use as sovereign in honor of his father, George V, and to create stability and continuity in the monarchy following the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII.

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