The End of a Battle Royal

Associated Press

A 2 1/2-year-old girl has won the right to the first name Princess after a battle royal between her parents and officials from Buckingham Palace and the Scottish bureaucracy.

Princess Dulcima Rosetta Manwaring-Spencer claims no royal connections but her parents liked the name and never imagined they would run into problems with the Royal Family and the government.

But Audrey and Hugh Manwaring-Spencer emerged triumphant when Scotland's registrar general of births, deaths and marriages recently backed down and decided there was no authority banning names such as Princess.

"They're very pleased that it's finally been resolved and they can finally call their little girl Princess," said Martin Johnson, a family spokesman. "They always assumed common sense would prevail."

Princess and her parents remained unavailable for comment to the non-paying media. They were on their farm on the Isle of Skye off Scotland's west coast, which is better known for its rugged beauty than its courtly graces.

Shortly after the girl was born on July 5, 1986, the registry clerk on the Isle of Skye duly recorded Princess Dulcima Rosetta on her birth certificate and she was baptized with those names.

"We simply liked the name," Mrs. Manwaring-Spencer said last year when the battles began. "Every family argues over what to call their children. We liked Princess."

The birth certificate was sent to the registrar general in Edinburgh, which replied five months later saying the name was unacceptable because its use was part of the "Crown's royal prerogative." Officials demanded that the Manwaring-Spencers, tenant farmers with four children, hand over their copy of the certificate.

They took up the challenge and wrote to Queen Elizabeth II. In December 1987, royal aide Robert Fellowes wrote back: "You may rest assured that you have caused no offense to the queen and you may continue to use the word as your daughter's Christian name."

But three weeks later, Fellowes wrote again to inform the Manwaring-Spencers that the 1965 Scottish birth registration law ruled out the name Princess.

They continued their battle and last week, after an investigation by the registrar general, the Manwaring-Spencers were informed that the name Princess could remain on the registry of births, said a Scottish Office spokesman.

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