Charlotte, NC - From Denver to Asia, it's not unheard of to share a first name with a place on the map, but a first and last name that sounds like North Carolina's largest city and county is a rare occurrence! Meet Charlotte Mecklenburgh: the only difference between her birth name and the location in North Carolina is the tiny "h" tagged onto the end of her name, and she explains, it may not have always been there.
So who is she? Charlotte Mecklenburgh, or Charlie Meck for short, is a woman born in London who works for an American company. No, she's never been to North Carolina, but she is a Hornets fan.
We asked her a few questions about her name.
Q: How did you become Charlotte Mecklenburgh?
I was named Charlotte because both my parents loved the name and according to my dad I was the second Mecklenburgh (after him) to be born in Queen Charlotte (of Mecklenburg’s) Hospital in London – a famous maternity hospital. He believes we are all descendants from her and named all of [his children] after her and King George’s children. He thinks it’s funny.
Q: All of your siblings are named after royalty? What are their names?
My father is a little carried away with thinking we could be related to Queen Charlotte in some distant way, via a “bastard” child from the German Castle or some other fantasy (with Gayelord as a first name you can be prone to being a little eccentric). He says it’s a joke of his but he named myself after her and used Victoria as my second name, after her famous granddaughter Queen Victoria. Then my little sister is named after Queen Charlotte’s daughter Princess Amelia. My younger brother is named Henry after her son Prince William Henry. Then he named our family dog Gus, after Prince Augustus and finally he almost named our house Strelitz, after the Mecklenburgh- Strelitz German County Queen Charlotte grew up in. We did manage to convince him not to re-name the house, thank goodness!
Q: Speaking of royal names, how does it feel to share your name with Princess Charlotte?
I love that the new baby Princess has been named Charlotte! I think it’s a historic name that sounds as current now as it did in the past (luckily for me). George is another great example of this, so I wasn’t surprised the Royal couple chose these two names. I will confess to hoping the Princess had Elizabeth or Diana as a middle name and not Victoria. My middle name is Victoria and I didn’t want the Princess to share my name exactly, after all, everyone likes to think they are a little unique.
Q: What have you heard about Charlotte, North Carolina? What do you imagine it’s like?
I first learnt about Charlotte whilst in the school library as a teenager, reading Patricia Cornwell’s “The Hornet’s Nest”, I thought it was amazing that I shared a name with an entire place. I studied that book and began to imagine the place as I saw suburban life in the U.S portrayed on T.V, imagining the local mall and a Sheriff’s office. My step-father then asked some friend’s visiting the area to bring me back something, so they bought me a Charlotte Hornet’s t-shirt and baseball cap. I wore that purple and green cap everywhere in the 90’s!
I’ve only visited NYC and Vegas in the States, so in my imagination Charlotte would be smaller and everyone is friendly with an amazing Southern accent, but in truth I have no idea what the Charlottean accent sounds like. Personally I find a southern American accent incredible! One of my favourite movies growing up was Sweet Home Alabama and Nashville is absolutely the best thing on TV so I really LOVE the southern accent. Every U.S accent though is just fantastic to listen to though and I actually spent about 6 months pretending to be American when I really little, I drove my parents crazy with it!
Q: Do you like BBQ? If so, do you prefer vinegar based sauce or mustard based sauce?
I love a BBQ! In 2010 I moved to Sydney and spent a few years living there so of course I had to BBQ as a way of life, but even before that my boyfriend and I were known to host BBQ’s in our London garden from March to October, in rain, sun and even snow! If I had to choose a sauce I would definitely choose a vinegar based sauce though as anything with a little kick can be too much for me!
Q: What are your thoughts on NASCAR?
NASCAR? Is that the car sport from the famous Tom Cruise 80’s film? All I know about it is from the Will Ferrell comedy Talladega Nights – I love that film. So at a guess I would say that NASCAR is like a mini Formula 1, a very exciting sport and industry to be involved in. The men in my family are avid Grand Prix fans so I think if we lived in N.C then NASCAR would potentially be a way of life for the Mecklenburgh’s.
Q: What do Charlotteans need to know about the origins of our city’s name?
I think it’s good to know the origins of the town’s name. Charlotte was named after Queen Charlotte Of Mecklenburg - Strelitz and she married King George the third (the mad one). The hospital in London where I was born was also named after her and is a famous maternity hospital in the UK. In truth the staff there enjoyed the fact that I was the second Mecklenburgh to be born in the hospital after my father, and that is why my family named me Charlotte. My father has a book on George the Third’s Children (by John Van Der Kiste) and in this book Queen Charlotte was described as having a long, oval face with a prominent nose and a large mouth with “her hair was a pleasant shade of brown, which was said by many to be her only redeeming physical feature”, but her eyes were “sparkling, full of vivacity and good humour”. I have always found this description of her amusing - as a family we have joked that this could have been a description of me (without makeup), even friend’s relatives and a history teacher commentated on this as I grew up. To this day I’m not sure if this is a compliment or a put down.
Q: Would you consider dropping the 'h' on your last name to match our city/county?
I wouldn’t consider dropping the H on the end of my name to match the NC County spelling because of the family history behind it. The rumour is that the H was added after the war, so that people considered the name to be less German, and more like the silent H on “Edinburgh”. I believe my family may have moved from Germany and we often get told we look quite Jewish so that story would make sense. A few years ago I looked up our surname on the UK electoral census and found that there were less than 50 of us, which means that all the Mecklenburgh’s with an “H” on the end come from the same family bloodline. I think this is quite rare.
Q: We hope one day you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Queen City. Once you take a picture next to a Charlotte Mecklenburg sign, what would you do next?
The first thing I would do in Charlotte would be to take a cycling tour around the area to get my bearings and see the sites. Then I would have to have some adventure, perhaps some river rafting, before taking in a baseball game, after all I would have to see the Charlotte Hornet’s after all those youthful years of team merchandise support. I have heard about your famous, funky NoDa neighborhood so I would want to check out this boho area before heading to a Mexican restaurant and a fabulous bar. Maybe something like the Birdsong Brewing Company, a bar my colleague told me about. She said it’s sort of place where you always end up talking to everyone in the room, and I love the type of Bars where you easily make friends. I also grew up in quite a famous pub when I was little, the one mentioned by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist, so I always have a healthy fascination with beer or wine tours, and therefore I would 100% want to do the Old Mecklenburg Brewery tour – this would be brilliant and probably be something for the family albums!