Kate Middleton becomes queen-to-be Catherine: another PR own goal for the Palace?

Let’s face it, Kate Middleton, Prince William’s intended, has always been a Kate; she’s pretty and blessed with nice long legs, just as Kates are supposed to be.

But Buckingham Palace, stuffed to the gills with people whose job it is to preserve the British monarchy, has decided that henceforth, following her engagement to William, she’s to be known as Catherine.

The BBC got it itself into a right old tangle tonight (Tuesday) with some correspondents referring to her as Kate (her name to all extents and purposes) and others as Catherine, apparently she was christened Catherine Elizabeth.

Buck House has never been good on this naming thing. The current heir to the throne Prince Charles, William’s dad, has a somewhat controversial name. Charles 1 was beheaded for trying to abolish Parliament in the 17th century, Charles 11 was a rake with a nasty side.

There is still speculation that if Prince Charles did ever take the throne, and his mother the present queen doesn’t seem too keen on the idea, he would have to transmogrify into someone else, an Edward or a Henry.

And Catherine, which Kate Middleton is apparently becoming, was also the name of Catherine of Aragon, Henry V111’s first wife whose refusal to divorce him led to the bloody English Reformation. Another Catherine, Catherine Howard, ended up being decapitated in the Tower of London after just two years in Henry’s hot seat.

And, to bring it all back home, the papers, particularly the tabloids in the UK, will be reluctant to give up on Kate Middleton in favour of Catherine. So no-one will know who she is.

So another own goal for the Palace in the monarchy’s declining years?

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.