Kate Middleton Is Catherine and Meghan Markle Is Rachel! Find Out the Royal Family's Surprising Real Names

Even royals love a good nickname

The royal family is known for their regal titles, but they also love a good nickname — in fact, some of them are more easily recognized by their nicknames than their real names!

Prince William, King Charles, Queen Elizabeth and most members of the royal family go mainly by their carefully chosen birth names. Of course, there's no shortage of nicknames within the family — Queen Elizabeth was "Gan-Gan" to great-grandson Prince George, while Princess Charlotte is affectionately known as "Lottie" with her parents.

But sometimes, another moniker becomes so popular that it's how the public best knows the royal. How many of these caught you thinking, "Who knew?"

Related: The Fascinating Stories Behind the Royal Family's Carefully Chosen Names

Kate Middleton is actually Catherine

<p>Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images</p> Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, in January 2023

Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, in January 2023

Nickname: Kate
Full name at birth: Catherine Elizabeth Middleton
Current royal title: The Princess of Wales

The Princess of Wales was born to Michael and Carole Middleton as Catherine. Kate reportedly became a popular nickname during her college years, when she was studying art history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland — where she first met Prince William.

While Prince William calls his wife Catherine and she signs her name with that moniker, the public still best knows her by the cute and casual nickname — as she's most widely searched online as Kate Middleton.

Meghan Markle's first name is Rachel

Mike Coppola/Getty Meghan Markle in December 2022
Mike Coppola/Getty Meghan Markle in December 2022

Nickname: Meghan
Full name at birth: Rachel Meghan Markle
Current royal title: The Duchess of Sussex

Did you know that Meghan is actually her middle name? But long before meeting and marrying Prince Harry, she was known as Meghan — or "Meg" to close friends. Rachel is still her legal first name, and "Rachel Meghan" appeared on her son Prince Archie's birth certificate.

Coincidentally, Meghan's character on Suits — on which she starred from 2011 to 2017 — is called Rachel Zane.

Prince Harry is a nickname for Henry

<p>Karwai Tang/WireImage</p> Prince Harry in June 2023

Karwai Tang/WireImage

Prince Harry in June 2023

Nickname: Harry
Full name at birth: Henry Charles Albert David
Current royal title: The Duke of Sussex

Despite what's on his birth certificate, King Charles and Princess Diana's younger son has popularly been known as Harry since he was born.

During a call with a young boy named Henry in October 2022, the prince told him, "My name is Henry. Well, everyone calls me Harry. I have no idea why."

Pippa's full name is Philippa

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Pippa Middleton in December 2021
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Pippa Middleton in December 2021

Nickname: Pippa
Full name at birth: Philippa Charlotte Middleton
Current royal title: None

Although she's not a member of the royal family, the Princess of Wales' younger sister is known popularly by her nickname over her real name — just like her sibling.

Princess Lili is really Lilibet

<p>Samir Hussein/WireImage</p> Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in April 2022

Samir Hussein/WireImage

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in April 2022

Nickname: Lili
Full name at birth: Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor
Current royal title: Princess Lilibet

Prince Harry and Meghan's daughter was named after a nickname in itself — Lilibet was the childhood name that the future Queen Elizabeth was called by friends and family.

King Charles' granddaughter is also known as Lili, which relates to one of Meghan's nicknames. Meghan's mom, Doria Ragland, gave her the childhood nickname "Flower." In a blog post on her now-defunct lifestyle site, The Tig, Meghan shared her nicknames: "Meg, MM, M&M, and Flower (which my mom has called me since I was little)."

Fergie comes from Sarah Ferguson's last name

<p>Michael Loccisano/Getty Images</p> Sarah Ferguson in March 2023

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Sarah Ferguson in March 2023

Nickname: Fergie
Full name at birth: Sarah Margaret Ferguson
Current royal title: Duchess of York

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie's mother is popularly known as Fergie, a nickname taken from her last name.

"Someone asked me, 'If you were an astronaut and you could take all the pressure off you, would you leave behind Fergie and Sarah and the Duchess and your past mistakes and failings?'" the Duchess of York previously told PEOPLE. "And I said, 'What are you talking about? They're all my friends.' I made friends with past mistakes. I made friends with Fergie. She didn't know any better. And then Sarah. That's why we experiment. How is it that we're meant to be knowledgeable when we don't know? My Fergie, my Duchess, my Sarah: They're all good people."

King George VI had a different birth name (and a nickname!)

Underwood Archives/Getty King George VI
Underwood Archives/Getty King George VI

Nickname: King George VI/Bertie
Full name at birth: Albert Frederick Arthur George

Queen Elizabeth and King Charles may have kept their birth names when they acceded to the throne, but it was quite normal for monarchs to change their names. Queen Elizabeth's father was known as Bertie throughout his life, a spin on his name Albert. But when he became sovereign, he took the name George after his father, King George V (who was born with the same first name).

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