The royals of the ages have experienced varying degrees of devotion from their subjects. Some sovereigns and monarchs have been the subject of revolution, dissension, treachery and revolt. Whereas others have been figures of scandal, exile or controversial falls from grace.
For much of history, though, many royals were much adored by their subjects. While modern times may have moved away from the unquestioned adoration of the monarchy, in times past, it was conventional to respect and admire a nation’s sovereign rulers.
Many ordinary people of the past adored their kings, queens and royal families, regarding them as a source of fascination, inspiration and refinement. It has long been common practice for the subjects of a realm to christen places after their rulers, as a mark of honor and respect. It’s also been a practice of foreign nations to honor certain royals by christening a place in their name.
Often these royal place names hint at the origins of the locality, as in the case of Virginia in America which was named in honor of the British queen, Elizabeth I – The Virgin Queen – who had commissioned her explorers to discover new lands.
Other times, the regal moniker was a token of affection between nations, either as a genuine mark of respect or a gesture to strengthen ambassadorial relations.
As a result of this popular practice of naming spaces and places after the various royals of history, the modern world is littered with these titular honors, quite often in places that even many locals wouldn’t suspect had royal origins.
Here are just a few of the world’s famous landmarks – and even some land masses – that are named after royals.
Île Saint-Louis, Paris, France
In a city renowned for its iconic monuments and buildings, one of the most picturesque and beautiful landmarks of Paris is the charming city island of Île Saint-Louis.
While this chic region of the city may be a favorite for both local Parisians and tourists alike, it’s likely that the origins of the name of the island aren’t widely known.
Overlooking the great Notre Dame cathedral, Ile St Louis was one of the favorite places of Louis IX, who was the King of France during the 13th century. It’s believed he loved the region of the city as one of the quieter places where he was able to retreat and pray.
Perhaps it was his devout religious devotion that led to him becoming Saint Louis, or Louis The Saint, as the only French king to be officially declared a saint by the Pope.
In a manner similar to many of history’s saints, upon his death, his bones were preserved as holy relics and interred for posterity and veneration. His remains were not his only enduring legacy however, as the beautiful Île Saint-Louis stands in his name today, along with a number of other places and buildings named in his honor, including a Parisian hospital and a cathedral in the famous Versailles palace complex.
His legend even extends to international acclaim as a number of holy buildings in the United States also bear his saintly title, including The Basilica Of St Louis in Missouri, and the St Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. In other parts of the world, a number of places have been named after the much-loved King Louis the Saint in countries such as Argentina, Mexico, Canada, Senegal, Brazil and The Philippines.
The Royal Albert Hall, London, England
Another iconic landmark of the world’s most famous cities is the striking concert hall in London’s Westminster area – the legendary Royal Albert Hall, or to give it its official title; The Royal Albert Hall of Arts & Sciences.
The building stands as a lasting monument to both a popular royal and the devotion of his widow, Queen Victoria who commissioned the concert hall as a memorial to Prince Albert, her beloved husband, after he died tragically young in 1861.
While the iconic building still thrives today as a testament to a touching royal love story, it’s also a poignant reflection of the role Prince Albert played during his lifetime. A keen campaigner and reformer, Prince Albert devoted his energy and passion and his royal influence to numerous beneficial changes for the people of his adopted country.
The Royal Albert Hall, as a home for the arts and scientific advancement, is a gesture of gratitude for Prince Albert’s tireless works in the service of the greater civic good, something that was often not recognised during his lifetime.
As a driving force behind the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in 1851, Prince Albert used his privilege and prestigious position as Royal Consort to advance numerous causes in the arts and emerging sciences of the 19th century, with many more momentous or projects planned for the future until his untimely death of typhoid fever.
London was not the only city to mark the great life and work of this pioneering Prince Consort, with a number of places and landmarks around the world also named after Queen Victoria’s beloved Prince Albert, including Mount Albert in New Zealand, Lake Albert in Uganda, and a number of bridges christened Albert Bridge, from the northern England city of Manchester to the Scottish city of Glasgow and the Australian city of Brisbane.
Famous Landmarks Named After Royals
The trend of naming famous landmarks after esteemed and respected royals is an age-old practice. It’s undoubtedly an honor for the individuals whose names and lives will be remembered for future generations. It also brings a sense of history to the place or landmark in question, evoking an intriguing or captivating aspect of story that goes beyond the building, street, monument or region itself.
For example, the Avenue Princess Grace in Monaco is more than a memorial to the nation’s much loved Princess, it also tells a story of a world-famous fairytale. And the iconic Elizabeth Tower that dominates the London skyline is a historic reminder of the country’s royal past and its celebrated modern monarch.
These famous landmarks are perhaps more appealing for their connotations with the great royals of the ages, being the recipients of the associated honors and esteem held for much-admired kings and queens, princes and princesses, as much as the memorialized royals themselves.