The name Philippa has a special meaning aside from a tie to Harry's late grandfather, Prince Philip

By Stephanie Petit
June 02, 2021 11:16 AM
Advertisement

Philippa would be a special name for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's baby girl — for multiple reasons.

The couple is expecting their second child this summer, and following the April 9 death of Prince Harry's grandfather Prince Philip, Philippa has become a top baby name prediction. Beyond paying tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, the moniker also has historical significance as it would honor Philippa of Hainault, the wife of King Edward III and first Black queen of England.

Philippa, who lived in the 1300s, was of Black Moorish ancestry, according to the African American Registry. She was popular with the people for her compassion, famously persuading her husband in 1347 to spare the lives of the Burghers of Calais, whom he had planned to execute as an example to the townspeople following his successful siege of the city. Chronicler Jean Froissart describing her as "the most gentle Queen, most liberal, and most courteous that ever was Queen in her days."

Meghan Markle Prince Harry Duke Duchess of Sussex
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
| Credit: Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty

Philippa died in Windsor Castle in 1369 and is buried at Westminster Abbey next to King Edward III, who died eight years after her.

Queen Philippa
Queen Philippa
| Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty
Queen Philippa
Queen Philippa
| Credit: Historical Picture Archive/Corbis via Getty

Meghan, who is biracial, has proudly spoken about her Black heritage. "On one personal note, may I just say that while I am here with my husband as a member of the royal family, I want you to know that for me, I am here as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of color, and as your sister," she said during a 2018 visit to Africa. "I am here with you, and I am here for you."

Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Meghan Markle
| Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

In the couple's interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired in March, Meghan and Harry revealed that there were "concerns and conversations" regarding their children's skin color.

While they declined to answer which royal family made the comment (Harry later said it was not either of his grandparents, Queen Elizabeth or Prince Philip), Prince Harry said the discussion left him "a bit shocked."

Get the premiere issue of PEOPLE Royals for glamorous new photos and inside stories royals fans haven't seen or read elsewhere! Subscribe at peopleroyals.com/launch

He also said that the conversation happened early in his romance with Meghan: "That was right at the beginning: 'What will the kids look like?' "

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more! 

Meghan, 39, and Prince Harry, 36, named their son, born in May 2019, Archie. They later explained more about the name choice when they shared that they were calling their charitable organization Archewell.

"Before SussexRoyal came the idea of 'arche' — the Greek word meaning 'source of action,' " the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said. "We connected to this concept for the charitable organization we hoped to build one day, and it became the inspiration for our son's name. To do something of meaning, to do something that matters. Archewell is a name that combines an ancient word for strength and action, and another that evokes the deep resources we each must draw upon."

Following the death of Prince Philip in April, U.K. gambling site Ladbrokes has seen Philippa grow as a popular prediction for Meghan and Harry's daughter. Last month, they slashed the betting odds on the name to 3/1.

"The support for baby Philippa is showing no signs of slowing down, and we've been forced to trim the odds again that it's the name for Harry and Meghan's daughter," said Jessica O'Reilly of Ladbrokes.

If they did pay tribute to Prince Philip in their second child's name, they wouldn't be alone. Harry's cousins Princess Eugenie and Zara Tindall both paid tribute to their grandfather just before his death by giving their newborn sons the middle name Philip.