On Sunday 7 December 2003 at 5.01pm a Princess was born at the Bronovo Hospital in The Hague, The Netherlands. Originally the little Princess was only announced for January 2004, but being 52 cm tall and having a weight of 3,310 grams hardly anybody believed that she was born several weeks early.
The name was already leaked the next day when it became known that the Foundation Sigillis Regiis Praesidio, that protects the Royal Family against commercial exploitation had registered the websites htttp://www.catharina-amalia.nl and http://www.prinsescatharina-amalia.nl. Her names were registered on 9 December at the old town hall of The Hague.
The then Prince of Orange, Willem-Alexander, and his wife Máxima named their firstborn child Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria. In daily life, it was announced, she would be called Amalia. In the newest book about her by Claudia de Breij, Amalia explains that her mother had always liked the name. Furthermore the name is international and there was of course also the historical link. Her father explained when he registered the birth of his daughter: “We both liked that name. The names all run in our families and they are internationally usable.”
The names Catharina-Amalia have been used in the House of Orange-Nassau before, although not in combination. She was named Beatrix after her paternal grandmother and Carmen after her maternal grandmother. The name Victoria is the name of her godmother Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, although Amalia’s father said at the time that it stand for victory.
The meaning of the name Catharina-Amalia
Catharina, the Dutch form of the name Catherine, is a Greek name. The name might come from Hecate, the Greek goddess of magic, but that is unclear. Later on the name was associated with the Greek word “katharos” meaning pure. Another possible origine is the Armenian word katar, meaning peak or summit.
Amalia derives from the Germanic word “amal”, with the meaning work or activity. In Hebrew the name means work of God. The name has a different origine than Emilia and Emily, as these names originate from the Latin name Aemilia, or the Greek name Amalthea. The latter name means tender goddess. Emilia was the name of two daughers of Prince William of Orange, Count of Nassau (1533-1584) by the way.
Both names are already rather old. As in other countries the name Catharina used to be very popular, but is often abbreviated nowadays. Amalia is regarded rather old-fashioned in the Netherlands at least.
The name Catharina-Amalia in Dutch royal history
Both names were previously used in the royal family of the Netherlands and the House of Orange-Nassau, although never in combination. In some other cases they were only used as Christian names.
- Catharina Belgica (1578-1648), daughter of Prince William I of Orange, Count of Nassau by his third wife.
- Henriëtte Catharina (1637-1708), daughter of Prince Frederik Hendrik of Orange, Count of Nassau.
- Countess Amalia zu Solms-Braunfels (1602-1675), wife of Prince Frederik Hendrik of Orange, Count of Nassau.
- Amalia (1655-1695), daughter of Count Willem Frederik of Nassau-Diez.
- Henriëtte Amalia (1666-1726), wife of Prince Hendrik Casimir II of Nassau-Diez.
- Maria Amalia (1689-1771), daughter of Prince Hendrik Casimir II of Nassau-Diez.
- Amalia (1710-1777), daughter of Prince Johan Willem Friso of Orange, Prince of Nassau.
- Princess Amalia of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (1830-1872), wife of Prince Hendrik of the Netherlands.