LONDON -- The little prince was in need of a name, and now, by George, he's got one.
Make that three: George Alexander Louis.
The announcement yesterday that Prince William and his wife, Kate, had selected a moniker steeped in British history came as royal officials said the new parents were seeking quiet family time away from the flashbulbs and frenzy that accompanied the birth of their first child.
While the news put to rest intense speculation over what name the couple would choose, the extreme interest around it illustrated how the 2-day-old future heir is already on his way to a lifetime of fanfare and public glare.
Kensington Palace said William and Kate were "delighted to announce" their son's name, adding that the baby will be known as "His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge." The name George, borne by six kings, befits the boy now third in line to the British throne and was a favorite among the bookmakers, evoking the steadfastness of the queen's father, George VI, who rallied the nation during World War II.
Alexander is a name shared by three medieval Scottish kings, and Louis could be a tribute to Lord Louis Mountbatten, uncle to the queen's husband, Prince Philip, and the last British viceroy of India before it gained independence in 1947. William's father, Prince Charles, was close to Mountbatten, who was assassinated by the Irish Republican Army in 1979.
The announcement of the name was quick by royal standards. Queen Elizabeth II and Philip took a month before settling on the name Charles for the Prince of Wales. Charles and Princess Diana took a week before settling on William's four names.
While a king usually rules under his given name, the prince is not hidebound by George. The first name of George VI was actually Albert, but he picked his fourth name to use as sovereign in honor of his father, George V.
For now, palace officials say, William and Kate are spending "private and quiet time for them to get to know their son." Some of their discussions may revolve around how to shield him from the media.